Shengliver’s Note: Miss Zhang Chengfan spoke about her granddad in her talk to the class one day. Later she wrote about him in the journal. You will find her granddad’s experiences so much like what you would see in a classic Chinese film.


When my grandfather was a little boy, his family was dirt poor. He had to work to help bring money in for the family. He spent his childhood with responsibilities on his shoulders, those responsibilities quite unusual for a child his age. However, that kind of life taught him to deal with problems all alone. He thus learnt to be independent.


Everyone hopes to have a great time in the flowering age of his youth. But during my granddad’s young days, he was condemned to a life of suffering. Difficulties did not crush him though. Besides doing backbreaking work on the farm, he had to make money for schooling. Unluckily, hardworking as he was, he still could not afford the school fees. In all, he was able to study in primary school for just four years. To seek more knowledge, he often went to some better off neighbours to borrow a book and copy it. In this way he managed to read more. You probably would not believe this: My granddad copied a dictionary in five days. The dictionary which resulted from his diligence is still kept in my family home. I cannot but admire my granddad from the bottom of my heart whenever it catches my eye.


Last century, many Chinese people starved to death because of natural disasters or political upheavals. One day, my grandfather went out to fell trees in the mountains. Suddenly he collapsed near a cottage. He could have perished then and there but for a lassie who lived in the cottage. She found my granddad on the hillside unconscious. She carried him into the cottage and looked after him. A meal she cooked revived my ravenous granddad. Obviously this country girl saved my granddad. Some time later, they fell in love. As you can imagine, this angelic woman became my grandma.


Now my granddad is no longer there. My grandma is still with us. When granddad was still alive, he often told me, “Always do your best. What you sow now, you will reap later.” I will bear his wisdom in mind and fight on.

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