Modern Chinese Short Story: A failed Mason


During the Jiajing period of the Ming Dynasty, there was a big family in Guishu village in Jiangnan, surnamed Cui, known as “Cui big family”, who always liked to show off his wealth. One day in September that year, Cui Dahu suddenly felt that if two big stone lions were placed in front of his house, it would add a lot of style.

Just do it. Cui Dahu immediately sent someone to hire a stonemason surnamed Zhou. He asked Zhou to arrive at Cui’s house in the morning three days later and start carving stone lions.

A failed Mason

Zhou stonemason lived in the neighboring village of Guishu village and was good at carving stone lions. Three days later in the morning, Zhou stonemason hurried out of the house with his tools and rushed to Guishu village.

In a short time, Zhou stonemason came to the Bank of the Guihe River, and the opposite bank of the Guihe river was Guishu village. There is a stone bridge on the Guihe river. You can enter Guishu village through that stone bridge.

Zhou Shijiang stepped onto the stone bridge. Just halfway there, he suddenly heard a “plop” sound in the river. Then, there was a “ouch” sound. As soon as the stone mason looked at the river next to the stone bridge, he saw a little boy of about ten years old rising from the shallow river, covering his right leg with both hands, crying with pain, and his clothes were wet. Zhou stonemason immediately understood what happened.

It turned out that the stone bridge was built by Cui Dahu with money, and he always wanted to take advantage of it for fear of losing, so he stipulated that if the villagers wanted to pass the stone bridge he built, each family must give him 5 loads of rice a year, otherwise they would not want to cross the bridge. Most of the people in the village are poor. Where can they afford so much rice? Therefore, the villagers had to rely on ferry wooden boats to pass through. In the dry season, the water in the river was shallow and the ferry was no longer available. The villagers used the pebbles on the beach to pile up several stone piles in the heart of the river for the villagers to walk through, so they didn’t have to wade through the water.

However, those pebbles are round and smooth, so the piled stones are very easy to collapse, trample on them and slip under your feet. Just now, the little boy was crossing the river. Unexpectedly, he slipped and fell from the stone pile into the river

Zhou stonemason shook his head and sighed for a while, then crossed the bridge and rushed to Cui’s house. In front of the Cui family’s door, there are two large bluestones, which are carved stone lions. Cui Dahu specially sent someone to buy them from other places.

Zhou stonemason began to carve. With the passage of time, a stone lion gradually took shape under his iron chisel. After breakfast that day, Zhou stonemason carved again. After waving a few hammers, he suddenly stopped, looked thoughtfully at the Gui River not far away, and suddenly gave a heavy nod. Then he began to work “jingling” again.

Since Zhou stonemason began to carve stone lions, Cui Dahu came close to them every day and watched them carefully many times. Sometimes, he would act like an expert and give a few comments; Sometimes, he would describe the stone lions he saw when he went to other places, and put forward a lot of requirements to Zhou. This morning, Cui Dahu sat at home and drank tea leisurely for a while. Then he went out the door and went to see Zhou stonemason’s work.

As soon as Cui Dahu walked out of his door, Zhou stonemason heard his footsteps, but he pretended not to hear him and continued his work. Soon, Cui Dahu came to craftsman Zhou and said happily, “yes, it’s a good carving!” when craftsman Zhou heard this, his hands shook suddenly. Then he exclaimed, “it’s broken, it’s broken!” Cui Dahu asked strangely, “why is it broken?” craftsman Zhou pointed with his hand: “Master Cui, I didn’t know you came here just now, so I was surprised by your voice. My hands shook, and the iron chisel deviated. I missed!”

Cui Dahu looked in the direction of Zhou’s fingers and saw that a small toe on the left front paw of the stone lion was broken. He suddenly understood: just now, Zhou’s stone mason was carving the left front paw, and the iron chisel missed the right head and chiseled the toe off – the stone lion was disfigured!

Cui Dahu stamped his feet in chagrin. Craftsman Zhou comforted him, “master Cui, I can decorate this toe to make it look like a toe. But then, if you look carefully, you will find that the stone lion looks like it was hurt.”

Hearing this, Cui Dahu frowned and said, “how can a wounded stone lion be placed in front of my house? Won’t it make others laugh! Don’t carve this stone lion. I’ll send someone to buy another stone and carve another one!”

What Cui Dahu did not expect was that three days later, he was happy and sang a few jokes loudly. Unexpectedly, he disturbed Zhou stonemason again. Zhou stonemason lost his hand and cut off a toe on the right front paw of the stone lion being carved. Therefore, the stone lion became a piece of waste… In the next month, because of three different sources As a result, Zhou stonemason lost three more rounds, thus increasing the number of waste stones to five. Strangely, Zhou stonemason never lost his hand since the fifth stone lion was chiseled into waste stones. Another month later, Zhou stonemason carved two majestic stone lions, which made Cui Dahu very happy.

After paying the salary, Zhou Shigong should go home. When he walked out of the door of Cui’s house, Zhou Shigong reminded him, “master Cui, the five waste stones are placed in front of your door. It’s really ugly. It’s better to throw them into the Guihe river!” Cui Dahu nodded and called some of his friends to carry the waste stones to the river. Zhou Shigong enthusiastically followed him.

When he came to the river, craftsman Zhou kept pointing out to the guys: “come to the left, come again…”

The five waste stones were all thrown into the Guihe river. After walking out of Guishu village, craftsman Zhou looked back at the five waste stones that fell to the bottom of the river and suddenly grinned happily. The position where the five waste stones fell was next to the pile of pebbles.

The villagers of Guishu village soon found the five waste stones, so on the same day, several men went down the river and moved the waste stones into a row from one side to the other at the bottom of the river. In this way, they became five large stone piers. The villagers can use them when crossing the river. They no longer need to cross the original stone piles made of pebbles. The large stone piers are stable and flat People who will collapse and trample them across the river will never fall into the river again.

There is a family in Guishu village, which is a relative of Zhou Shigong. One day half a month later, Zhou Shigong came to Guishu village to visit relatives. When he came into the village, he saw someone crossing the river across the five large stone piers, and couldn’t help grinning. It turned out that the five waste stones were chiseled by him deliberately pretending to be lost, and the reason why he deliberately chiseled the five stones was because he wanted them to become waste stones A stone pier that villagers can trample on when crossing the river.

After entering the village and passing in front of Cui Dahu’s house, craftsman Zhou saw that the big sun farm in front of Cui Dahu’s house was full of rice. It turned out that Cui Dahu saw that the weather was fine this morning, so he asked the guys to carry all the rice in his granary to the big sun farm to dry and get rid of the moisture.

After lunch at a relative’s house, craftsman Zhou was about to say goodbye. Suddenly, he saw dark clouds rolling in the sky and a heavy rain was about to fall. On the big sun farm of Cui’s family, several guys were busy gathering rice and carrying it to the granary. Cui Dahu stood aside and hurried: “hurry up! Hurry up…”

Zhou Shijiang couldn’t help worrying about Cui Dahu. At this time, he saw that many villagers rushed to the Cui family’s big sun farm with tools to help collect and carry rice. Several members of Zhou Shijiang’s relatives also ran over. One relative ran and said: “After all, the waste stones of the Cui family have made it convenient for us in Guishu village to cross the river. Now we see that the Cui family’s rice is about to get wet by the rain. We should all help!”

Hearing this, craftsman Zhou couldn’t help sighing. He knew that if it had been put before, the villagers of Guishu village would not help Cui Dahu, but also gloat

Thanks to the help of the villagers, all the rice in the sun farm was soon transported to the granary of the Cui family. When the last load of rice was transported to the granary, a heavy rain poured down. At this time, Cui Dahu looked at the rice in the granary and the rain outside the house. He was so excited that he shed tears and murmured: “I decided to let the villagers and outsiders pass the stone bridge for free from today…”

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