When the tenant farmers saw Su Tang indifferently walking toward the main room, none of them dared to speak. They just looked over at Niu’er and Mrs. Zhou with questions in their eyes. Niu’er gave an awkward smile and then swung his whip to drive the carriage away so he could tie up and feed the horses.
Mrs. Zhou hurriedly had the tenant farmers follow her over to one of the side rooms so she could discuss things.
Once they were in the side room, she began speaking, “As you’ve all seen, this farm has officially been sold to Miss Su. Moreover, Miss Su’s intentions are very simple: she has no desire to continue renting out this land.”
As soon as the tenant farmers heard this news, their only thought was that the sky was collapsing.
“So much land, if she doesn’t want to rent it out is she just going to leave it empty?”
“Miss Su doesn’t want to rent anymore? What are we going to do?”
Meanwhile, as Mrs. Zhou was talking, a certain invisible orange cat had crawled up onto one of the ceiling beams without anyone noticing and was listening to the proceedings.
While everyone else was panicking, the young man who had led the group earlier seemed to have thought of something. His face turned serious and he asked, “I wonder if we can ask, what does Miss Su plan to do with the land?”
Mrs. Zhou sent him a brief glance before continuing: “As I mentioned just now, I am a broker from the Qingyuan County Brokerage Office. My main area of business is buying and selling slaves who work as servants. Miss Su has especially entrusted me to try to buy several reliable families to manage this farm and surrounding land.”
“Miss Su really wants to buy whole families, not just the strong young ones?” When they heard Mrs. Zhou’s words, the eyes of many of the tenant farmers brightened considerably.
In reality, most tenant farmers had a certain degree of capability. It was just that they would have different difficulties that ended up holding them back. For example, many of them had elderly parents or young children at home that they weren’t willing to separate from, or they might have no skill other than farming but no money to buy land of their own. In either case, it meant their only choice was to live the difficult life of a tenant farmer.
Su Tang didn’t have much conception of this sort of thing since she was from a much more prosperous era. However, the lives of the people at the bottom in this era were truly miserable and, while tenant farmers weren’t quite at the very bottom, they weren’t far off.
Therefore, hearing that Su Tang had entrusted Mrs. Zhou to buy a few reliable families, many of the tenant farmers were actually pleasantly surprised. In truth, in recent years they often didn’t even make enough to feed themselves, so if they could avoid that fate then becoming a slave really didn’t mean anything to them at all.
Many times the reason these families would rent land was because the elders in their families weren’t willing to sell their sons and daughters no matter the difficulties. But the reality was harsh. For these tenant farmers, there were no miracles or magical opportunities, and more often than not their only fate was to slowly drag each other down as their whole family got poorer and poorer.
Because they didn’t want to be separated from their children, they weren’t willing to sell them off to be taken away somewhere. However, if someone was willing to buy over the whole family at once, it was a completely different story.
“That’s right. Miss Su had originally planned to buy people from my brokerage and bring them to work this land, but I thought you tenant farmers were probably having a difficult time so I especially suggested to Miss Su to first come and ask the tenant farmers living here if they were willing to sell themselves to her ins…” Mrs. Zhou said.
“My family is also willing!”
In the past, most of these tenant farmer’s harvest was taken away as rent every year, leaving them with hardly anything at all. Even if they weren’t quite starving to death, they definitely weren’t able to eat well. If they could really sell themselves to work here as farmers that would mean that their new master would also be responsible for providing them with food and housing in the future. If that happened they at least wouldn’t need to worry about themselves or their families starving to death anymore.
As for the matter of being a slave or not, well, it was already so hard just for them to survive, so who had the time to think about that sort of thing?
Many people immediately opened their mouths to express their willingness, while a few people did not. Mrs. Zhou swept her gaze over all of them and then said, “Anyway, this isn’t a trivial matter. I’ve gathered all of you today to give you this news so that you can go back and discuss it with your families tonight.”
“Of course, Miss Su only wants to buy a few reliable families and she will be making the final decision. However, I’m sure you all know that this is a very rare opportunity. In general, there are very few masters who buy their servants like this. Moreover, Miss Su has a kind heart and, if she buys you, she won’t ask you to leave this land or separate from your loved ones.”
“Once you’ve carefully thought everything over, you can come to me directly. If Miss Su approves of you, she can sign your deeds directly.”
tl begging corner: