Wei & Young Wei
Part - IX
was wondering about the second melon I had to return.
It seemed that I
had passed Grandfather's test by getting his money back
for the first melon.
Why did I need to return a second one? Did Grandfather
want to see
if it was skill or luck? If I could return one melon it
might be just luck,
but two melons would prove to him that I was a man. I
was thinking about
all these things as I walked behind Grandfather. Since
we had left the first
fruitstand he had said nothing to me... as usual.
of us was the second melon. Gao was holding onto it for
It was why he did not have it in his hands when he came
to look for me.
approach Gao and offered his thanks to him for holding
He then curiously asked Gao to take me to Bin Su's fruit
second melon was bought there, I guessed. Why did Grandfather
want Gao to take
me there. Gao was blind. It was more likely that I would
be taking him
the place. Grandfather's only communication to me, as
Gao started down
road back into the market, was "Go on, follow after,
Gao. Return the
and bring me my money back. Hurry up. It will be growing
sun sets and I want to be heading home."
caught up with Gao, who had not walked very far. I took
the melon from
without protest. His hands being free, they found my arm.
We walked the
of the way with me as a guide for his footsteps.
do you suppose Grandfather wanted you to go with me?",
I asked Gao.
did not tell me. He just said to go and that when we were
done we would
walk home together. He is watching my bags of food while
he waits for
Since you will have no food to carry, he offered to carry
my things while
you walk with me. I am curious, too. Why did Wei come
all this way
and return two melons? He did no other shopping. Isn't
agreed. I could understand none of this. If it was only
to test me, then
it not also be a test of my character. Would Grandfather
think I was
if I said too much to Gao about my suspicions? Grandfather
was a man
said so little...
what would he think of a chatterbox for a Grandson?
decided to say as little to Gao about my thoughts as possible.
was not long before we arrived at Bin Su's fruit stand.
Bin Su had been
this market for many years. Everyone knew her. She was
a good seller of
She never lost a customer. Her prices were higher than
rarely complained to her. Could she have really sold a
Grandfather? I decided to check the melon again. I held
it up to my nose
smelled the strong, pungent, rotting aroma from deep inside
smelled terrible, but you wouldn't know it unless you
held it right under
your nose. It was a monkey melon sure enough, but the
question I asked
myself is if it came from Bin Su? Grandfather said it
did, so it must
Maybe Bin Su was sold some bad melons herself. Would she
not know these
were bad melons? I wondered about this as we approached
spoke to me in a hushed whisper: "Look, Wei-chan,
I still have to buy
fruit. Bin Su must have seen us walking together. If you
make her angry
she will not sell me any fruit, perhaps. Please let me
buy my fruit
her first before you try to return that melon."
seemed a reasonable request. I did not enjoy being called
I was not a baby any more, but I decided he was only teasing
Gao up to the stand. He asked me to let him feel the peaches.
him to Bin's large tray of peaches.
do they look?", asked Gao. "What is their color?"
you know what color they are supposed to be, Gao?"
course. I have bought peaches before. I can buy better
ones than you.
are blinded by all the colors you see. When I choose the
peaches it is
their touch. My hands can feel their rich flavor. Ha ha.
I am an expert
finding the best fruit. If Grandfather Wei was with me
he would not have
those monkey melons. Ha ha."
was wrong of course. Grandfather deliberately bought the
melons to test
but I was not about to explain all that to Gao. Bin Su
saw us and walked
greeted us together.
do you want today, Gao? Fresh peaches? These are the best
in our province.
They are sweeter than I was when I was this young, and
I was once
sweet at this age."
laughed with Bin. I found this amusing, too, but I had
to stay a bit
serious since my work was still ahead of me. Bin could
joke about her
age, of course, now that she was an old woman. Bin must
have been at
30 years old. Her youth was a long time ago. At least
that is what
back in those days. I stood back to let Gao do his shopping.
helping him now and I was just in the way. I watch them
other. Bin was a good match for old Gao. They laughed
with each other
lovers. If Gao had not been blind would Bin have married
him? I felt
sad in all that as I watched them get along so well.
chose his peaches and I watched as Bin put them in her
scale. A funny
happened next. She looked at me with a wink. She put her
lips, motioning me to stay silent.
you wanted only a few peaches? These weigh less than you
out a few more so I can make some money. It is the end
of the day.
to give you my discount price. It is better to sell these
to see them go bad. I don't sell bad fruit to my customers,
Su had deliberately lied to Gao. His fruit weighed more
than she said.
was not only going to give him more fruit, but she was
going to charge
less for it. Ah, how heavy that melon felt in my hands
then. I watched
Su sneak a few extra things into Gao's bag, too. She charged
nothing for his fruit and complained bitterly about how
tough a customer
was. She was smiling as she complained.
a customer like me is what you need to stay honest. If
all of your people
knew fruit like I do you could not charge them your high
was teasing with Bin Su.
My customers could easily be like you. If they looked
more at me than
the fruit they would be blinded by my beauty. I am the
best pick in this
and a bargain, too."
don't argue about that. You do treat me well, but only
because you know
have to. I know fruit better than you do!"
went back and forth like this as Bin Su packed Gao's fruit
into a bag.
actually snuck even more into the bag. I felt my melon
weighing in my
like a stone. My heart told me this woman could never
sell anyone a
melon, even if they begged for one.
Su turned to me to ask if I needed any help. She saw me
holding the melon
in my hands. It was time to decide what to do.
I am fine," I said. "I was just walking with
Gao. I will help him to
these packages home."
Su handed me a peach and said: "Good boy. Eat this
on the way home if
can find a free hand. That monkey melon you are holding
You do know it is a monkey melon, don't you?"
yes. I know. I know very well. Thank you."
knew I had made the right decision then and there. I put
the melon down
took the peach from Bin Su, thanking her. Gao took my
arm and I took
about the melon?", Bin Su asked as we walked away.
"Save it for Gao
he comes back. ", I laughed. "We'll see if his
memory is as good as
knowledge of fruit."
along the way Gao spoke quite affectionately of Bin Su.
He stopped at
point and told me he was glad I did not try to return
you know that woman always puts extra fruit in my bag.
She thinks she
fooling me each time, as if I never count how many things
I take. Ha ha.
has such a good heart. It would have been a shame to make
her take back
was silent all along the rest of the journey. I was right.
Gao knew it.
Grandfather agree? Or would he think I cheated him by
for a peach?
BE CONCLUDED IN THE NEXT CHAPTER
For part 5
For Part 4
For Part 3
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