- Happenings on Lu-Gou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge)
At Yu Wen’s wedding ceremony, she met only Dz Yuen’s father, her father-in-law. Dz Yuen’s mother did not attend the ceremony due to their second son was going to marry at the same time. Yu-Wen hadn’t had any chance to meet her Mother-in-law until Syau Wen was about two years old. When the war with Japan occurred, most of the northern parts of China were taken by the Japanese. The current situation disorderliness everywhere! Dz Yun received letters from back home getting fewer and fewer. He was worried about his parents and his three younger brothers and one sister. Would like to visit his hometown to see how is everything going back home in Ho-Nan?.
They took Syau Wen and some simple luggage started their journey to Ho-Nan.
They could take a pedicab to the train station, but they decided to walk to instead. Not only they can save some pedicab fare, they could walk across the Lu-Gou Bridge, that they had never had a chance to visit. The structure itself is a piece of art. Especially those 485 stone carved lions.
Lu-Gou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge)was built in 1189. Long 266.5 feet, width 7.5feet, 11 culverts. 140 stone carved pillars. Those lions all look different from each other. Some are sitting, while the others are resting on it four legs. Some lie prone. Some holding a baby lion with its claw, Some carrying a baby lion on it’s back. The vivid lively sight never to be forgotten!
While they were walking on the bridge and admire the beauty of the artwork. Yu-Wen saw a cloth bundle left on the bridge. She picked it up. In it
she found some old clothes in it. some silver coins and two pieces of paper money tickets(Yin Pyau) written by hand. Each carried with a large amount of money written on it. Anybody could tell that big number written on the ticket indicated that someone had sold all his property and exchange the money for these tickets which would be easier to carry for the traveling. The contain did not entitle to anybody. Which means anyone could take them to a bank and exchange into cash. Dz Yun and Yu-Wen understood those ticket must belong to some refugee who had left their hometown to look for freedom and safety. If the owner who lost them, it could jeopardize his life. That money was his life support. Dz Yun and Yu-Wen decided to hold on to the bundle and stay where they found it and wait for the owner to come back for it.
Silver coins were old Chinese one dollar coins. One piece of that silver coin could be good enough to provide food for a family of 6 for one month.
Not long after they waited, a young man pushing a three wheelbarrow with a white-haired old lady sitting on one side. Some luggage on the other side. The old lady was blowing her nose and crying out loud. She mumbling over and over: “Oh my good heavens! Where can we find it?” “It was all my fault, I didn’t even notice that when and where I lost it.”
Dz Yun knew these people could be the owners. He walked over to meet them and asked: “Did you lost something?”
“Yes! It was all my fault, I dropped a small bundle somewhere.”
“Ma-Ma! Don’t cry now! We found a small bundle. But we are not sure whether it is your or not. Could you tell me what was the bundle? ”
The old lady said:”There are two shirts, one was patched with a piece of black cloth on the right lower sleeve, there are 17 pieces of silver coins and two Yin Pyaus.”
Dz Yun wanted to relief the poor old lady’s worries, he quickly handed the bundle out to the young man and said:”OK! OK! That’s enough. could you check and see if there is anything missing.”The young man got the bundle and opened it. He saw everything was there. He took those 17 pieces of silver coins out and handed to Dz Yun for thanking him for his kindness. Both Dz Yun and Yu-Wen said together:”No! No! But thank you. We will not accept anything. You ‘d better hurry up and get on your way with your mom.”
Released from the burden Dz Yun and Yu-Wen were delighted to pick up their tour again.
As they were walking, Yu-Wen saw a young lady with a baby in her arms. There was circled straw stuck in the baby’s cloth. In the early days when days were difficult, someone wanted sale him/herself, would be stuck a circled straw in their hair as a mark to tell people they need money urgently, wanted to sale themselves.
A white-haired man sitting against one of the pillars. With his head bowed down so low, his head almost touched the ground between his knees. Sobbing but hardly be heard.
The young lady said:”Dad! Don’t cry please.”
“Let’s think it this way, Dad. This child may be will have a good life. The one who takes him may be a very nice person, rich and kind. It would be far better than staying with us to live in such an impoverished life. After we find Chyang and when everything settled down, you’ll have another corpulent grandchild again.” She continued: “Aren’t you so anxious to see you son? from here to Bou-Ding is still quite a long way to go. How can I assist you while a baby is in my arms. Besides if there is anything happened to you, what am I going to say to Chyang? He will definitely divorce me.”
Yu-Wen understood by now that was a daughter-in-law rather gave up her own child because of taking care of her father-in-law. Tears running down from her cheeks. There were only two pieces of silver coins in her pocket. Without a second thought, she handed them out and gave to that lady. The lady received the money with a sad looking. She thought that Yu Wen was going to buy her son. Reluctantly she handed her precious baby to Yu Wen with a heart-broken looking on her face.
“No! No! The money is for you! I don’t want you, baby. I have a child, can’t you see.”
But the lady said:”How could that be. That doesn’t sound right. I can’t accept your money for nothing. Besides, I have to give this child to someone anyway in order to make me easier on the trip. I’m sure if he will be with you, he will enjoy a life of comfort and happiness.”
Dz Yun came to help Yu Wen to get out of the predicament and said:”We really can’t afford to raise two children. Please accept this money. This good-looking little boy will have a good fortune. You just stay here and wait, I’m sure that there will be someone would love to have him. We have to be one our way now.”
Dz Yun held Yu Wen’s and walked away. He tried to comfort Yu Wen while they were walking he said to her: “My sweet pal, you are not strong enough to take care of two babies at the same time. One Syau Wen is enough to keep you busy. If add another one, your health will break down. Then, what am I going to do? You’ve given them some money already, I know that was not too much, I wish I could give them some more, but the money we have are barely enough for us to get home. Otherwise, I would give them.”
Yu-Wen just couldn’t hold her tears. Without saying anything, quietly she followed Dz Yun stepped into the train.