My father was deemed to kill a horse
Author: Fenglin Chen 2015-6-20
Translator: Naze Chen
Today is the Dragon Boat Festival, while tomorrow is coincidentally the Father’s Day. I can’t help remembering that day when I was just 10 years old. It was also a Dragon BoatFestival. It was in the festival that my father unexpectedly made a poor horse die.
It was in 1966 when our family was living in Huazilu, a remote village within the jurisdiction of Heyingzi Production Team. In order to have a nice dinner with dumplings in the Dragon Boat Festival, my father rose up early and walked about 1 kilometer to tHeyingzi . He borrowed a horse there to ground wheat into flour. After unloading the stone roller, my father settled the nice horse to grassland in the west of Heyingzi, carrying the wheatflour back home. Unfortunately, the next day, the leader of Heyingzi Production Team came to tell us that the poor horse had died.
Our family hurried to Heyingzi
and happened to see the west grassland crowded.I squeezed into the crowd curiously and saw many settlers digging. After a while, they dragged the dead horse out of the hole, dying with a bulging belly.The settlers there were amazed to find the horse dead. They quickly chopped the horse up and shared its meat wildly with joy. On that Dragon Boat Festival, it was the first time for most of villagers to eat horse meat. All the villagers were extremely happy except my pathetic parents, crying silently. After quite along time, I finally knew the reason. In the west grassland, there was a cellar owned by a carpenter named Zhao, used for storing vegetables in winter. When every summer came, the cellar was useless, covered by wild grass. Our family wasn’t living there, it’s definitely reasonable that my father didn’t know about this cellar. He settled that horse in the grassland and the poor horse missed its foot, heading down into the cellar. Without enough fresh air, the horse finally died. During a meeting in the production team, the person in charge decided that my father should pay them ￥500. They unexpectedly said that horse was a Battle Steed!
From then on, my father was frozen out for all his tough life. He made his accounts yearby year, unfortunately in debt day by day. He could repay his debt with only a few dozen yuan even in the year of best harvest. Sometimes after repaying, he had nothing to eat. It was until 1984 when we moved away from Heyingzi. At thattime time, almost 20 years later, our family still had a debt of more than 80yuan. When my father passed away in 1998, he was still
Heyingzi administratively belongs to Keshiketeng Banner in Chifeng City of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It was a typical family village, with 80% of the villagers named Su. Villagers with different surname moved in after marriage.My father was an outsider, fleeing for safety and settling here. In Heyingzi,he was single struggling with his limited force, no close friends and norelatives. He got the reason more than he could say. Just like the sayinggoes, “When the wolf grows old, the crows ride him ”.
I can imagine my father’s mood felling down to freezing point in that Dragon Boat Festival.Owing to an ordinary horse, he carried a huge debt all his lifetime. It was the carpenter who dig the cellar, stifling the poor horse. It was the other villagers who chopped the horse up and shared its meat. But it was my father who paid for killing the horse all by himself. ￥500 ! ——A sky-high price for our family! (￥500 at that time equals more than ￥50000 nowadays. ). Among five siblings, I’m the only one who rememberthis painful past. Today is the Dragon Boat Festival, tomorrow is Father’s Day.It reminds of this sad past event 47 years ago, cherishing my father having been dead for 17 years. In addition, I want to warn my posterity that “nice people are bullied and the docile horses are ridden”.