Hands that weave flames

I was a posthumous child. My father passed away due to liver disease half a year before I was born, leaving behind two boxes of bees. My mother said that I had a big fate. She was busy with my father’s funeral, and my birth was all due to his blessing. “Father has gone to the sky”, it was my elder brother who spoke, and the bees left by my father are now under his care. The eldest brother took out a piece of shriveled red pepper from behind his ear, roasted it on the fire, put it in his mouth, and then covered the ashes on the tongue of the licking fire, and the flame became docile after a while, like a swaddling baby. The eldest brother’s hand floated on it, his fingers were flushed red. I have only one brother, who is twelve years older than me, and I always call him “Big Brother”.

His father was a beekeeper, and his mother married his father when she was seventeen, and gave birth to her elder brother the next year, and raised her with the utmost care. The eldest brother has always been the pride of the family. He is a natural reader. He learned Chinese Pinyin before school and skipped directly to the second grade. , the eldest brother will definitely pass the exam, and no matter how bad he is, he will stay in the brigade to find an official position.

The 14 production teams in our village have to work in the morning and afternoon. The men earn ten cents a day, and the women earn seven cents. The machine can’t climb the mountain, so the plow and donkey are used to plow the land. On the donkey’s back were two small baskets woven with thorns. People added fertilizer to the baskets, and the donkey carried the fertilizer up the mountain. Donkeys have a good memory and can recognize the way after only one pass, but they need someone to guide them along the way. The mother is a three-inch golden lotus. The production team took care of her and specially arranged for her to follow the donkey, hoe manure, fill the basket, and spread manure. So every day, on the bare hill not far away, a woman with little feet followed behind the donkeys, loading fat from the mountain, driving the donkey up the mountain, unloading the fat in the field, spreading it, and then driving the donkey down the mountain . Grandpa is a breeder in the production team. I have seen him use a guillotine to cut the hay into sections, and then mix it with fried corn and black beans. Before dawn, grandpa fed the animals. In the early morning, the production team’s handlebars took the animals away, put them on the cart, and went down to do the work. When they came back in the evening, grandpa fed them again. Grandma is the daughter of a landlord. She has never worked in the fields, nor has she ever been to a production team. Grandpa and grandma live in another courtyard, and the work points earned by grandpa are only enough to support him and grandma, not enough for us. After school, the eldest brother went to the mountain with other students to cut thorns and weave baskets. The other children were picked up, but the eldest brother went down the mountain alone with the basket on his shoulders. I felt sorry for him.

One evening, when the elder brother came home, he put down the basket and howled for a while. I lay down for a long time at night, and my elder brother cried again, so I turned my face to see him cry. After a long time, maybe it was boring to cry alone, so my elder brother wiped away his tears in a daze, sinking into the bitter water. “Is it better?” “It’s not better.” The elder brother started crying again after speaking. I asked him what’s wrong, and he said, “I miss Dad.” I haven’t seen my father, but I cried with him for a while, The eldest brother stopped crying and said: “Don’t cry, I’m flustered by crying.” I rolled up, buried my face in my arms and quietly warmed up. Not a moment later, the elder brother’s words came from far and near, “I can’t go to school anymore.” “Didn’t the principal promise to send you to a key high school?” I folded my body and sat up, staring at my elder brother. The eldest brother looked short-sighted and said, “Grandma said we have to rely on labor to eat, and I have to support the family.”

The next morning, my eldest brother got up before dawn, and I asked him: “Why are you going?” “Check the beehives.” It’s so early.” “Father said, take advantage of the coolness, people will enjoy happiness, and bees will also enjoy happiness.” When the elder brother spoke, he had already put on a long coat and trousers, tucked his trousers into the pile of socks, and left the house quickly. I saw him go to Westinghouse to pick up a straw hat left by his father, with a net brim hanging in front of his face, and went straight out of the yard. I got off the kang and followed my eldest brother not too far away. The eldest brother looked back at me, as if in a daze, weighed it for a while, and said, “If you go with me, go back and change your clothes first.” The eldest brother turned back and waited for me to change in the yard. When I was fully dressed, I saw the eldest brother He has an extra straw hat in his hand, which is the same as the one on his head, with gauze on the brim of the hat, but it is smaller. I guess it was made for him by his father before. I followed my elder brother to an open area in front of the mountain. The door of the two boxes of beehives faced south. Two clusters of bees were trailing at the door of the hive.

“Will you get stung?” “If you block their door and get in their way, you will.” After finishing speaking, the eldest brother took out the small knife he carried with him, and swung the blade on the sandpaper twice, ” Is this knife also Daddy’s?” “Daddy made it with a hacksaw blade, and the faster the honey-cutting knife, the better.” After speaking, the eldest brother opened the beehive and cut off a small piece of wax cover with a hot knife, revealing bright honey. , he dipped his finger in it and licked it with his tongue. I couldn’t wait, so I stretched out my finger and smeared it with honey, stuffed it into my mouth, and asked: “Can these be eaten?” The eldest brother said: “Father said, only take mature Cover the honey, take half and keep half, this is the law of nature. You must not take honey, I am sorry for the hard work of the bees.” At this time, we remembered that we had never inquired about the origin of these bees, so we asked the eldest brother, “These two days How did the bees come here?” The eldest brother turned his face to look at me, his eyes were very bright, “There are a lot of wattle flowers in our Taihang Mountains, which are a natural source of honey. There are always sporadic beekeepers coming to release bees in spring and summer. My father is very friendly, so I made friends with him. One of the households became acquainted. When the household left, it saw that the father was interested, and left two weak people for the father.” The eldest brother said while lifting the nest, inspecting it one by one, pointing to the middle of one of the pieces, ” Look, the king is here.” It was a bee with a slender belly, shiny and black all over, surrounded by a group of worker bees, like a sharp awl, giving both kindness and majesty. Since it is the “king”, I guess it occupies a key position in the bee kingdom, so I asked: “How many queen bees are there?” The elder brother said: “There is only one bee in a group, and all the bees surround it. Dad said, beekeeping It is raising the king. If the king is not around, the swarm of bees will disperse. Invading bees will be stung to death, and if the king returns to the wrong hive, he will be killed.” “Is there really only one?” “Several kings will be brewed at the same time, and finally The one that tore the cover first, killed the other young kings as soon as it came out, and stabbed it with the stingers on its stomach.” I was stunned, the back of my head tightened, and I suddenly felt that the bee world is a society of miniature people. The eldest brother swallowed, and then said, “That’s why queen bees don’t sting people, and their stingers are all on the opponent’s body.” “Isn’t it true that all female bees want to be queens?” The eldest brother smiled and said, “Being a queen bee is a good thing.” It may not be so good. Dad said that the queen bee is the prisoner, and she is completely dependent on the feeding of the worker bees for the rest of her life.” The elder brother stuck out his fingers and pointed at the group of bees with swollen bodies from a distance, “These are drones. If they are dead, those who cannot mate will be expelled by the worker bees.” “Why should they be expelled?” Several worker bees were biting the cover, and the eclovened drones were coming out of the nest, and the eldest brother slowly turned over while talking. The comb in his hand, “Drone bees are lazy people. They don’t know how to gather honey, they only eat honey. Many beekeepers slice them down before the drones leave the house. Bees are just like people. If they don’t work, they will be eliminated. What about?” “What about after they are expelled?” “Death, a A lone bee out of the swarm cannot survive. ”

The eldest brother took over from his father, and when a stone fell to the ground, the whole family seemed much happier. In the evening, my mother twisted the stuffing to make dumplings, and my elder brother and I competed to eat the stuffed ones. Grandma spoiled me, picked up the stuffed dumplings into my elder brother’s bowl, and poked holes in the good dumplings for me. I felt that I had taken advantage of it, so I rolled on the kang and gasped for joy. The eldest brother saw through it without telling it, sat on the edge of the kang and smiled, took out another piece of paper, densely covered with poems written by him, and recited it proudly. We calmed down to be his audience, and only grandpa praised him. After listening to it, I felt sour and covered my grandpa’s ears so that he would not listen. The whole family laughed, and the elder brother gave up. After a while, he seemed to have thought of something more interesting, so he hastily put away his poems and whispered to me, “Come with me tomorrow to collect wild bees.”

“Can you really get wild bees?” “Where there are buckets, there are bees. Let’s go!” The bee buckets were placed on a shady mountain and coated with beeswax. When I went there with my eldest brother, there was already a colony of bees and a few pieces of spleen. The elder brother was very proud, he cut the wild spleen flat with a knife, cut off the capping honey, and kept the spleen and pollen, scratched the spleen with the tip of the knife, opened two fine lines, and cut the nest along the newly cut lines. I buried the iron wire of the frame, tied it with a thin rope, and said to me while tying it: “When the bee bites it off, this piece of spleen will grow with the frame.” Before I could react, So he put the spleen into the beehive, arranged the bee path, and got up to take the bucket of wild bees. When I came back to my senses, the swarm was already in the hands of my elder brother. “You take the sand cover, and when you see me put the bees in, you can cover it lightly.” The eldest brother’s Adam’s apple slid down, without much delay, the mouth of the bucket was facing down, and it was shaken off, and there was a cloud of bees in muddy water It flowed into the beehive like a “crash”. Naturally, I didn’t dare to move around, so I lifted the sand cover to cover it as ordered, and my elder brother asked me to stand where I was, not to let me be afraid, “If the queen bee doesn’t run away, other bees will not run away, and bees are organized and disciplined creatures. “Brother closed the lid of the box and spent time with me. He held the enamel jar, scooped up clear water, but didn’t drink it, rolled up his sleeves and poured it directly on his arm, which I found strange. “Bitten?” “Not bitten.” “Then what?” “Sweating.” The eldest brother’s voice softened, and I saw that his sleeves were already wet with sweat, and it seemed that he could squeeze out water. Knowing that he is also guilty. A few hours later, when the sun was about to go down, the eldest brother opened the lid of the box to check, and a group of bees came out recklessly, and they were still flying around near the sand cover. It fell on the sand cover like a paste, and there was a group of “beards” hanging on the wall of the box, and there were only a few sporadic ones on the spleen. “There is no spleen”, the eldest brother finished, and slowly, he moved a partition and attached it to the spleen, and added a board to the frame. “What is this for?” The elder brother hesitated for a while, without saying anything, dumped the bee sticking on the sand cover into it, and then used his hands to pick up the bee hanging on the inner wall, moving very slowly. The clump of bees clung to his hands like slippery seaweed, very obedient, as if they had been tamed. As soon as the eldest brother let go, they fell into the comb like iron filings. The elder brother also found it miraculous, swallowed it, and picked it up one by one. After all the bees were sent into the comb, the elder brother took a breath, looked back at me and said: “Bees like the dark, cover it, it will I feel safe inside.” I leaned forward, and the beeps inside the board gradually became more regular, “It should all be on the spleen”, the eldest brother moved the partition, and the swarm of wild bees were indeed on the spleen.

One day when autumn was approaching, my elder brother came back after picking up the bees and told me that he was going to stay at the house of a classmate surnamed Sun. “I’ll go there first, you can go there later, and give him this pen.” The eldest brother handed over the pen, which was brand new, and I took off the cap of the pen, trying to learn how to write on paper. “Don’t break it.” The elder brother suddenly changed his face and became serious with me. I felt that I was bored, so I put on the cap of the pen, and the elder brother tightened his eyes on the pen again. Before going out, he specifically asked me, “Don’t say I asked you to give it to me, say it was my mother who gave it to him.” After I finished speaking, I went out. I estimated the time and set off after a while. When I arrived at the home of my classmate surnamed Sun, I saw that he and my elder brother had just cried, and their eyes were red and swollen. My elder brother asked me, “What are you doing here?” The classmate surnamed was stunned. The eldest brother quickly took over the conversation, “My mother must have heard from me that you are going to the city to go to university, so she sent my sister to send it here.” The student surnamed Sun hurriedly took the pen, and the elder brother lowered his eyes and said, ” I won’t stay here any longer, let’s go back first,” and hurriedly said goodbye to classmate surnamed Sun. After all, the two were classmates, and there was an escort incident earlier. It’s all over. On the way home, I asked my elder brother why I wanted to involve my mother, and my elder brother said, “If I give him a pen, I’m afraid he will feel indebted even more, so I won’t accept anything.” She curled her lips and said, “Originally you are better at studying than him. If you take the exam, you will definitely be able to get into a better university.” The elder brother shook his head, remained silent for a long time, and said to himself, “Not necessarily, one life per person.” I After hearing it, I felt even more awkward, so I stopped talking.


At that time, the brigade was only allowed to keep three colonies of bees, and more than three colonies were considered “capitalism” and they had to “cut their tails”. The elder brother raised a few more boxes. In order to support the family, he took royal jelly and sent it to Beijing No. 4 Factory for 80 yuan. Originally, the brigade did not know about this, but Beijing No. 4 Factory paid by remittance. The eldest brother was criticized for “developing capitalism” and suffered a whole week. It was all done, and there was nowhere to put the 80 yuan. Each person in the brigade had an idea. After holding back for a while, the accountant in the brigade finally said, “The money still has to be given to Xiao Liu, and it was remitted to him. I can’t enter it in my account. If you lose it, you have to pay, and whoever holds it will pay.” No one said anything.

The eldest brother had just suffered a complete injury, and felt uncomfortable, so he hid at home and did not go out. I knew that my elder brother made money selling pulp, so I asked my elder brother to take me to the supply and marketing agency to buy woolen clothes. That fleece coat has been hanging on the wall of the supply and marketing cooperative for a long time. It is lotus color and has a half-high collar. I am soft and hard, just to convince the elder brother. When I entered the supply and marketing cooperative, my eldest brother didn’t say a word. I pointed to the fleece and said, “This is the one.” After getting on my body, I saw another one, the orange one, which was also pretty, so I said, “Brother, I think that one is also good-looking. All right.” The eldest brother lowered his head and said, “Just this one.” After finishing speaking, he put down the money, crouched down, and walked home with me in his arms. His steps were tight and broken, as if he had done something wrong. I was happy at first, and then wept. My eldest brother kept a cold face and said nothing. After entering the yard, my eldest brother left me and wiped his face twice with his cuff, which seemed to be shining. I asked him, “Crying?” , “I will never take pulp again in my life.”

The ingredients were not good, coupled with beekeeping, the elder brother’s marriage was delayed. Later, the matchmaker in the village connected the eldest brother, saying that there was a distant relative in Laishui who was willing to marry his daughter. All the cloth tickets in the family are saved, in order to make clothes for the new daughter-in-law, make a shop and cover, and my mother asked me to borrow cloth tickets from the neighbors in the neighborhood. Knowing that we will pay it back next year.

When I met my sister-in-law, whether to call her “sister” or “sister-in-law”, I worried about this for several days. When I got married, my eldest brother moved out to live alone. When I went to their yard, my eldest brother went to check the bees, but he was not at home, leaving his sister-in-law alone in the house. My sister-in-law made fun of me, looked shy, treated me like an adult, poured water for me, set up a fire again, and went to the yard to make feed for the animals. I just sat and wanted to talk to her, but I was afraid of delaying her work. Besides, I still couldn’t make up my mind whether to call her “sister” or “sister-in-law”. So while drinking water and thinking about it, I saw a pair of mandarin duck quilts on the kang in the side room, and when I regained my composure, tears overflowed from my eyes, and I felt that my elder brother was far away from me. After drinking the water, after much deliberation, I decided to call her “sister-in-law” and went back after saying hello. There will be a long time to come, so it’s not too late to change the name to “sister” when I get used to it. After making up my mind, I went to the yard, thinking about how to call out generously, which is considered free and easy, and then blurted out, “Sister-in-law”, my sister-in-law didn’t move, and was carrying the slop to enter the pigsty. I stepped up and said: “Sister-in-law, I’m going back.” After speaking, she seemed to realize something, stepped forward and patted sister-in-law on the back, and then pulled her hand back. It was a very simple woman with a split upper lip, showing a few teeth, as if forever You have something to say to me. At that moment, I trembled and had a premonition: she couldn’t hear, and couldn’t speak.

I forgot how I got home, and when I entered the yard, I made a fuss, and called my grandma and grandpa over, wanting to ask them face to face. Mother lowered her throat to persuade, but I still didn’t give up, I only said that my elder brother’s marriage was so sloppy, as if my life had become thinner because of it. Grandpa was just smoking a cigarette by the side, and whispered: “Be quiet, don’t let the people in the front and back of the room hear you.” I refused to obey, which made grandma annoyed, and spat: “Your elder brother will not suffer if you can live and support! “I was so scared that my face turned pale, this sentence actually concluded that the elder brother is a person with a bad life, I calmed down and thought about it carefully, Liu Niang was sobbing and wiping away tears.

After getting married, the eldest brother was taken care of by his sister-in-law, and the two started their life of relocating bees. At the beginning, I was carrying a shoulder pole to catch the train, and I made a small turn around in Wangyushi Village and Fangguan Village in Hebei, where there are lush jujube flowers and acacias. The two of them chased the flowering period, walking non-stop, like nomads. As soon as he came back, when everything was settled, he went to our yard, and I pestered him to tell the story of releasing bees.

“Where did you go this time?” “Wang Yushi Village, the jujube flowers are densely packed, and the petals are stacked together.” The elder brother said enthusiastically. “Are there many fun things?” “There is one fun thing.” The eldest brother picked up a stick flower with his index finger and middle finger, and put it in his mouth. As a result, when the northwest sky came up, even with the wind and rain, the tent was pulled up, and your sister-in-law and I fell over, each pulling one end, and the wind pulled us up as well, just like sitting on a parachute.” I could hear it. Confused, I hurriedly asked the next question, “Later, I met another beekeeper and threw a big rope over. I hurriedly tied the tent to a nearby tree, but luckily the tent was saved.” “What else is the story? “I looked at my elder brother with a smile, “Are you being bullied?” Mother asked tentatively from the side, but my elder brother only said that the honey raisers are all united and helping each other. There is only one high school in the commune, my grades are not slipping, and there are two months left for the college entrance examination. My elder brother knows my details best. If he is at home, I will always ask him questions that I don’t know, “Send me some dim sum, Daliang persimmons.” As the elder brother said, he tapped my head with his finger and didn’t say anything more. I don’t know what else to learn besides the books, and I have already made a secret decision. If I fill in the volunteers, I will fill in “food processing”, and maybe I can stutter on the assembly line. After finishing my business, the eldest brother stopped going into details and got up to leave. Mother saw the clue, so she stopped talking and asked me to put a small drawer of steamed buns and a cloth bag of dried sweet potatoes for eldest brother. I took it and chased it out, following in the footsteps of my elder brother.

I said, “I guess you must have been bullied.” The eldest brother took the food in my hand, was stunned for a moment, and after entering the alley, Fang wrote lightly, “Going to someone else’s site, and taking Feng to go, it is easy to misunderstand I have encountered many things, and sometimes it is fun to think about it. I carry desensitization medicine with me, and if I encounter people who are stung, I will tell them to take some. If I encounter people who are extorting money, tell me to go with your sister-in-law Some hospitals prescribe a bunch of irrelevant medicines. Some deliberately find fault, saying that my bees have collected all the nectar in their village, and they want honey to drink in a different way.” I asked, “There is a dispute “Not really.” The elder brother saw that I was still staring at me with a stiff neck, so he said, “A woman is far away from us, holding a firewood to cook, and I don’t know who called her bee sting, she is a man. He was sure that it was my bee, and he took a pickaxe and was about to smash the beehive. I asked him how he knew it was my bee sting. Say, you can smash it, you can smash it, you can smash it at any nest, but you have to go to the brigade to get a certificate, proving that you voluntarily smashed my bee, and I will not be responsible if the bee stung you to death.” I said , “If he dares to smash, the dozens of bees in our house will definitely explode, and two picks will kill him.” The eldest brother said, “If there is no proof from the brigade, he can’t smash it. I can’t tell if he died. Later, the brigade Someone really came, and I persuaded them not to smash it.” “Is that person really good and let go?” “The brigade is in charge and asked me to fill them with a few bottles of honey and send them away.” I said, “Don’t turn around and release the bees. It’s hard and tiring, and I’ve been bullied so much for nothing.” The eldest brother didn’t take it seriously, and said briskly, “I also met a kind-hearted man this time, from that village. He said that I was his relative. As soon as we heard that we were the head of the family, the people in the village treated us a lot more politely, and treated us as their own people, and the troublemakers just let it go. Before leaving, the man even reported his name , Said that I would go to Wang Yushi Village in the future, so I mentioned his name.” After talking too much, I arrived at the entrance of the alley, and the elder brother’s courtyard was in front, and I asked for no reason, “Can sister-in-law live alone at home?” After speaking, my heart tightened, and I quickly looked at my elder brother. He obviously understood the meaning, and said in a lower voice, “She is more capable than me.” I changed the subject and asked, “Does elder brother still write poetry?” Just write two strokes.” I nodded, thinking that now my elder brother would never read the poem after writing it, and felt sad.

In those two years, grandparents left one after another. At the end of the college entrance examination, I failed the exam, so I followed my classmates to the construction team of the commune to make money and find a way out. When I got my first salary, I bought two pieces of fabric from the store, the gray Derome for my mother, and the blue one with white flowers for my sister-in-law.

One day, a worker in the same village told me that something had happened on the construction site. After explaining the details, I was scared and didn’t go to work. I asked for leave to go home and went straight to the back mountain to find my elder brother. The elder brother saw me and said, “It’s time for you to come back. I’m about to change the king.” I didn’t say anything, the elder brother put down his work, and asked again: “Have you eaten?” I just shook my head, and the elder brother said: “I didn’t either. Eat, come with me, and your sister-in-law will bring it over later.” After a pause, he said, “I picked out the old Wang’s spleen from this box yesterday, and I will put the new one in later.” I asked “Isn’t it the loss of the king?” The eldest brother said, “It just makes it lose the king, just watch.” The eldest brother took the new queen bee, pinched it with his thumb and index finger, and put it into a shallow dish of honey water. The new king struggled a few times, then obediently submitted. After a while, the eldest brother picked out the new king, took the dish of honey and poured it into the beehive of the lost king. I felt curious, so I stared at it carefully and asked: “What is this for?” The eldest brother said: “The worker bees regard honey as their life. This dish of honey has the smell of a new king. Pour it in. The worker bees suck the honey water, and it is easier to drink it.” Accept the new king.” After finishing speaking, he put the new king at the door of the nest, and saw the new king slowly crawling in, and after a while, bees really gathered around to suck the honey water on its body. “The first ten minutes is the most dangerous when the new king enters. He is easily besieged. Let’s wait a little longer.” After a while, my sister-in-law came, left after lunch. The eldest brother washed his hands, picked up a towel and told me to wipe my hands, then handed over the meal, and said, “You eat first.” He didn’t speak, just looked at me from time to time, and it took a long time to see a little smile on his face, watching from afar. I also looked into the distance, and saw only a figure, which hurriedly moved closer, and I saw that my sister-in-law had changed into a dress. It was a gown made of the fabric I tore, which made her look pale. White and ruddy. The sister-in-law added staple food and bowls and chopsticks to the eldest brother, stretched the corners of his clothes, and smiled at me in a coy manner. I asked, “Does my sister-in-law like that piece of cloth?” The elder brother said, “I really like it.” I continued to eat with a smile on my face. Seeing that I was in a better mood, my elder brother asked, “Why didn’t you go to the construction team?” I put down the bowl He wiped the oil on his chopsticks and said, “I don’t want to go. There will always be accidents.” He listened quietly, and finally said: “Don’t go.”

During the Spring Festival that year, my eldest brother brought a few bottles of honey to the construction team monitor in the same village, all of which were harvested in autumn and saved. He also wrapped a lucky money for the children of that family, so I didn’t have to go to the construction site at all. My eldest brother also brought me back the news that the substitute teacher in the brigade has been transferred to the city, and there is a vacant position, I can go. I hesitated after hearing this, and asked my elder brother: “Can I do it? Be a teacher.” “Why can’t you?” My elder brother became annoyed, reached out to smoke a cigarette and lit it. I saw him puffing and puffing, and I was curious, and asked again: “When will you start smoking?” .

The eldest brother asked someone to finally put me in the school. That was the primary school in our village, where I took classes for two years, and then applied for the district normal school. I didn’t wake up from the boredom until the exam was over. This exam might change my fate. On the day of receiving the admission notice, the elder brother fed sugar water to the bees in the back mountain. I ran to announce the good news. My elder brother put down his work and came up to greet me. I said, “It’s okay this time! The school asked me to start household registration and food relations. I’m going to become a non-agricultural household.”


When I went to school, I started a collective life. My classmates were about the same age and all had teaching as their ambition, so there was always something to talk about. During school dance rehearsals, my mind was still alive and well, and I became the backbone of literature and art, and the number of times I went home became less and less. The eldest brother borrowed a car and started a big tour. It took half a year to go far away, and it took half a month to come back. Every time I go home, I take the opportunity to give money to the school to visit me. I don’t talk much, I hand over the money and then leave after a few words, as if there is a gap between me and me.

When I went back, it was approaching the Spring Festival. I thought that my eldest brother would come back for the New Year, so I went to the back mountain to look for it. The beehives were indeed there, but I couldn’t find my eldest brother, so I went home to look for it. My brother and sister-in-law were all at home, and my mother went to my elder brother’s yard. This is a rare thing. The sister-in-law was wiping her tears in the side room, the main room was extremely quiet, the mother was leaning on the chair, her face was swollen from crying, only the elder brother was not crying, and sat blankly with his hands in his pocket. I said, “What’s the matter, brother?” The elder brother said, “There were bees on the dam, and the green man took a guillotine to my place and told me to give him honey. Where did the honey come from? There is no honey yet. He took the guillotine I stabbed it on the table, and I also stuck the honey cutter on the table, saying, “I am not a vegetarian either. The man softened when he saw this, and did not say anything, but stared at my knife and asked a question.” Did you make this blade yourself? I nodded, and he immediately raised my knife and turned around to leave.” When the eldest brother said that he was anxious, he showed his hand, put his middle finger on the joint of his thumb, and put his hand on it. It was twisted into a ball, like a conch shell whose shell was warped. Occasionally, when the hidden joint is exposed, a piece of red is exploded, and the skin and flesh have become a thin layer of wax paper to cover the bone below. I felt as if I had been stabbed, and I stopped talking. When my elder brother saw this, he didn’t speak anymore. Only my mother sobbed: “It’s the forehand that hurt.” Daddy left it for me, it’s worth your life.” After hearing this, Mother didn’t make a sound, and just paralyzed like she lost her soul. The eldest brother took off his shoes, picked up his straw hat, and went out of the yard. I knew where Eldest Brother was going, so I only looked at his back through the window, and when I saw his shadow disappearing around the corner, I sighed: “Elder Brother has changed.” But Mother said: “He was born like this.” He didn’t stay any longer and went out of the yard. I stayed in the house alone, gathered myself together, and then went out. Passing by the side room, I saw my sister-in-law was still wiping tears. When my sister-in-law saw me coming, she threw her hands at me from a distance, and the pale and exposed throat rolled up and down, making a hoarse sound, as if the huqin that was playing was broken.

The injury did not stop the eldest brother. After the Spring Festival, the elder brother moved farther and farther, and his days at home became less and less. I am away from school, and there is only my mother at home. I occasionally go home to accompany her. Every time I mention my eldest brother, we are more silent. There are too many other emotions mixed in this silence. It is hard to explain, because it is both a debt and a heartache. , more is to accept fate, maybe the eldest brother really fulfilled what grandma said, and he is an ugly person. After graduating from a normal school, I was assigned to teach in a joint primary school in the north of the commune. I lived in a work unit and had fewer chances to go home. Most of the time I dreamed of my mother and elder brother in my dreams. Once there was no one in the dream, only the neatly stacked beehives. When I woke up from the dream, I felt stupid. But the next day, I rode fourteen miles and ran to the back mountain, only to see the bare hill. From a distance, it looked like the scales of a dead fish, but they folded back again. After a long time, I stopped looking at it.

In the fall of the following year, my mother died. My eldest brother went to school to find me, and when I got home, I saw my mother was already wearing a shroud and carried to the hall, and my eldest brother and sister-in-law were standing by. Mother had only one breath left, and when she saw me coming, she took my hand and squeezed my hand together with that deformed hand of my eldest brother. The mother’s hand was soft, like a sponge soaked in water, still warm, but the elder brother’s hand was cold, hard, with only a handful of bones. I was shocked and horrified, and my hand gradually lost consciousness. Mother squeezed it with all her strength, as if she wanted to pinch our flesh and bones together. I turned my head and cried, feeling that the hand, including the arm and half of my body, were no longer my own. The eldest brother was speechless, and when Mother let go, he withdrew his hands and went back, just standing aside quietly with his eyes wet.

The eldest brother went to the yard to prepare firecrackers, and the sister-in-law cleaned up the clothes for my mother. I just stood aside and wiped my tears. Looking through the window, my eldest brother was wrapped in white cloth, thin and thin, as if half of his soul had been taken away by my mother. I went out of the house, and my eldest brother handed me a small white flower made of paper. I cried and said, “I dreamed of my mother last night.” The elder brother said, “Mother loves you.”

When I went back again, my eldest brother was not at home. There was a child with a red face and toothless standing at the gate of the courtyard. He stopped me and whispered, “Master has gone to collect bees.” He looked up at my face and said, “Last month, I wanted to put A swarm of bees on the tree was harvested, and like the old man, he coated the bamboo basket with honey, who knew that stealing the chicken would not be enough to eat the rice, and stabbed the swarm of bees.” After a long pause, the child wiped his face, and then Said: “It was like a small cloud of burning clouds in the sky above the courtyard. I ran out of the courtyard gate and dared not come in. The uncle just stood there without moving. In my direction, after a while, his right hand was entangled by the fire, and he didn’t struggle, and he didn’t make a sound.” The child went on to say: “That bee doesn’t seem to belong to our family. The uncle treats the bee well, he The bees are docile. Those bees belong to that household at the head of the village, and I know it in my heart.” I said, “How do you know?” He said, “That household has only been raising honey for a few years, and they cut honey ruthlessly. I can’t wait to cut off all the sawdust on the beehives, so as not to leave them for the bees, their swarms always fly away and land on the trees in our yard, forming a fist-sized bag on the trunk.” He looked up. I, with a trembling voice, said again: “But the uncle is fine, it’s really strange.” I was inexplicably surprised when I heard it, and I just pretended to be a child joking, and persuaded: “He has always dealt with bees and understands the temper of bees.” Ask: “Do you also keep bees at home?” He said: “No.” I said: “How do you know so much about beekeeping?” He said: “Uncle sometimes teaches me.” I stopped and asked again “What else did he tell you?” He thought for a while, and said, “He sometimes reads his poems to me, does that count?” I said, “That counts.” I felt sad in my heart.

I saw my eldest brother again at the end of summer, he lost a lot of weight, only his eyes were bright, and he smoked one cigarette after another, as if he was alive, showing his deformed hand without hesitation, the deformed finger bird He seemed to be holding a cigarette butt in his mouth, took out another one and smoked again. I thought that if the elder brother would stop releasing bees, even if it was because of the injured hand, I asked, “Is the elder brother not going anymore?” The elder brother seemed to regain his energy, and said, “Come back for a few days, wait for me.” Let the jujube flowers bloom before you go. Come with me to see, and I will do a trick for you.” I was surprised, and followed, without saying anything along the way, my heart was still being grabbed by that hand, and I just followed in a daze. Brother look behind. The hand fell into the shadows, dimly flashing, I looked away, and my face couldn’t help but get hot. When we arrived at the back mountain, a group of bees had already hung on the mouth of the box. The eldest brother said: “This swarm of bees is full of bee fever. I have eaten enough and are ready to move. The bees are very gentle at this time, so don’t be afraid.” After finishing speaking, Then he opened the lid of the box, found the new king, and pointed it out to me. I went up to the front and saw that Wang Feng was fat and smooth. Before I could react, I saw my elder brother grabbing the new king and putting it on his chin. For some reason, the group of bees immediately swarmed into the air in a daze. , when the fire lighted up, a flickering stream of heat exploded in the air, following the new king, it flew straight to the elder brother’s chin and chest, like a billowing flame. I trembled all over, took a few steps back, tightened the back of my head, and shouted: “Brother”, then stood aside and didn’t make a sound. I held back my breath, and saw that deformed hand wipe away the big brother’s eye sockets, behind the flames were twinkling eyes, and saw that hand pass through the fire, and with a single sweep, picked up the new king and put it on the spleen , The fire followed obediently, and shattered into the new beehive like powder. A few other bees were still entangled with the elder brother like sparks, he only blew on the few scattered bees, and the bees dispersed separately. That deformed hand was hanging behind my elder brother’s back, I just froze, my whole body was sticky with sweat, my hair stuck to my scalp like paste, I don’t know if the hand was magical or my elder brother went mad.

That night, I went straight back to school, Quan was stunned as the eldest brother, and didn’t think about it any more. Another half a year later, when I saw my eldest brother again, he was so thin that he was out of shape, shaking his hands, and leaned in the chair with a muffled sound. The eyes of the sister-in-law beside him were red as if they had been stung, and looked at the elder brother repeatedly, then lowered his head and wiped his tears. The eldest brother lost a little bit of madness, didn’t smoke, just sat there, nodded when he saw me go back, and still didn’t speak. I asked my elder brother, “What happened?” It took a long time for my elder brother to come back to his senses, and he muttered, “The night I went, I ran all night, but I actually took the wrong route. The best bee in the nest is smothered to death.” The sister-in-law was still crying, she couldn’t hear us, but her crying didn’t stop. The eldest brother stopped, sat up straight with his elbows propped on the armrest, and said angrily: “I should open the nest door, even if I let them lose, I can’t make them suffocate…” The words were swallowed and broken. I covered my face and began to sob, my throat hummed like a bellows, I leaned against the table, and after a while I heard a sentence: “The spleen has turned into water.”

The injured hand did not stop the elder brother from walking bees, but the three boxes of bees made the elder brother stop after all. After this time, the elder brother didn’t turn around to release bees anymore, he decided to stay in the mountain, guarding in front of the Jinghua field. I thought, that’s fine, at least my eldest brother can always be at home, and this wish is filled with my selfishness. What I didn’t expect was that in the years that followed, the eldest brother became taciturn, and his life radius became narrower and narrower, so that there were only bees and a quiet woman left.


A few years later, when I started a family, my husband asked a relative to transfer me to the newspaper office and become an editor. The conversation between me and my elder brother became less and less. Every Qingming Festival and July 15th, my elder brother would call me and ask me if I would like to go back to see my mother. I would always use my busy schedule as an excuse to ask my elder brother to do my filial piety on my behalf. Occasionally, when we go back, the bees in the yard are our only topic of conversation. On the contrary, it is my sister-in-law who goes to the kitchen to prepare the food, and brings out the dishes one after another before the meal time. She is using her method to keep me.

We became estranged brother and sister, almost severed siblings. I live in the city, and I call myself a civilized modern person. He still lives in the old house in his hometown. I have lost the way to communicate with him. I think he is old and stupid. Sometimes I think about most of my brother’s life. I always want to pull him to help him, but I don’t know what to do.

In the winter of the second year after moving to the building, I had a child. I took maternity leave and stayed at home for confinement. My elder brother brought my sister-in-law some honey to see me. I thought it would be a long story, but the three of them looked at each other speechlessly. The heating in the building was fully turned on, and the padded jacket was soaked with sweat, but the eldest brother still didn’t take it off, as if he was afraid that my sofa would be soaked. At the end, the eldest brother said awkwardly: “It is inconvenient to take a bath in the village in winter, let your sister-in-law take a hot bath here.” I agreed, took my sister-in-law into the bathroom, heated two pots of water, took the washbasin, and gave it to me. The sister-in-law put it on the door of the bathroom. There were two blushes on her face, she undressed quietly, buried her head, and didn’t look at me. I handed her the towel, and continued in a low voice. When I was about to pull my hand back, I felt that her hand was shaking.

I closed the door and went out, seeing that my elder brother was still wearing that thick padded jacket, I ignored it and looked for something to say. “How is this year?” The eldest brother knew what I was referring to, so he answered, “It used to be a good year, with rain, and a box of seasonal box bees produced more than 100 catties, but now there is a drought every year, and the buds of vitex are late, and it is raining heavily. It just germinates, and sometimes it only weighs 30 to 40 catties per box, sometimes even more than 20 catties. In the past, Vitex twigs began to shed honey in late June, but now they only start to shed honey in July or so…” When it comes to Xingtou, the elder brother’s eyes There was a gleam of light in it, and after a while, I lost my mind, grabbed melon seeds from the fruit plate, and pushed them to him. Seeing this, the eldest brother stammered “don’t eat”, then stopped talking, and sat there with short-sighted eyes. After a long time, the eldest brother used his deformed hand to dig out something from the pocket near his heart, it was a stack of paper, he took it out and put it on his lap, and then twisted it with his trembling hand, then handed it to me, saying: “You I’m an editor now, and I’ve written some poems, take a look.” The poems were copied on crumpled paper, and the crooked little hands that looked like hideous creatures quickly closed them, the creases were deeply seared into metal. It is hard, but it rubs out a soft burr. “Okay.” I said something, and held the stack of manuscripts in my hand, but I couldn’t find any more suitable words. “If it’s okay, see if it’s possible to send it out.” The eldest brother smiled, the smoke stained his teeth finely, and his eyes were bright with hope.

After the sister-in-law took a shower, her hair was still not dry, so the elder brother took her away. I took out the stack of papers and looked at them one by one. The text was sticky and broken. The sticky ones looked like babies bursting out in a language blowout, while the broken ones were like sporadic words burst out by an aphasic person. I skipped a few pages that were crushed to pieces, and read all kinds of pages, and then stared blankly at the wall. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that my eldest brother was a fool. After recovering, he found that there was a thin layer of sweat oozing from his forehead. Fang remembered that he didn’t let his elder brother and sister-in-law look at the child.

Under the pressure of family affection, I picked a few of them and handed them in. During the days of waiting for the results, I was always ashamed of those poems, for fear that my colleagues would guess the identity of the author—the name was very similar to mine, and it came from the same place. A week later, the group of poems was sent back. I didn’t fight for anything, I accepted the result with peace of mind, and I also agreed with it in my heart, and I was secretly glad that this matter had stopped.

At the end of the year, I went back to my hometown, brought back a quilt for my eldest brother, and picked out some clothes, and brought them with me. The family no longer raises animals, so the eldest brother moved the beehives into the yard, which made it much more convenient to check the bees, saving the need to go in and out. When I entered the house, I didn’t see my sister-in-law, only my elder brother was busy. After making tea, my eldest brother sat down next to me, looking very tired, and asked: “Are the children in the family all right?” Seeing his nephew for the first time, he put his hands on his hands and looked at it in front of his eyes, as if he saw a real person, and smiled to himself. I was ashamed in my heart, my elder brother and sister-in-law had no children under their knees, this was the closest child to them, and then I remembered the pile of poems, and my heart was even more tugged. The elder brother handed over the photo, and I said, “This photo is for you.” The elder brother became happy when he heard that, and said, “Keep it safe.” I said, “I picked out a few of those poems earlier. , and handed it up, maybe it didn’t fit the style of the newspaper, so I called it back.” The elder brother blushed, brushed the back of his head, and laughed at himself stupidly: “There is a younger sister who is an editor, so she always thinks she can do it too.” I’ve become a writer.” Then I said something that didn’t show up: “I’ll try other newspapers later, maybe it will work.” After speaking, I took out the stack of manuscripts from my pocket, and my heart fell to the ground after my elder brother took it. , I just think this matter is over. The eldest brother got up, went into the back room, sat down next to the kang cabinet, folded the manuscript into a box converted from a medicine box, and put the photo together, and hid the box in the cabinet. The sister-in-law was leaning sideways on the kang, as if she had just fallen asleep.

The elder brother came out from the back room, and I asked, “Sister-in-law is not feeling well?” The elder brother shook his head, and said, “Something has happened recently.” I asked again, “What’s wrong? You can’t delay if you have a headache or fever.” The elder brother muttered: ” Heart failure.” My heart tightened, and I quickly asked: “How long has it been?” The eldest brother said: “It’s too early, it’s getting worse in the past six months.” The eldest brother paused for a while, and muttered: “I went to see it, and the medicine is not too old. effect.” I said in a low voice, “Do you need to go to the hospital in the city? If you need anything, just tell me. You also have to take care of your body.” The elder brother nodded and said: “No, just look at it.” It’s over.” He didn’t say anything, went out of the house, came in after a while, and handed over two baskets of beeswax and a few jars of honey. “You don’t come back, I keep it for you. Add water, boil it, and filter it, and it will be yellow wax.” I waved my hand and said, “Why do I want it?” After I finished speaking, I wanted to leave, but my elder brother didn’t listen, so I just picked it up The two baskets got up and walked towards the door crookedly. A few glass bottles were placed in the shade, filled with milky white paste. I asked, “What is this?” The elder brother became short-sighted, and said, “I took some paste for the past six months and gave it to your sister-in-law.” I walked out of the courtyard gate and walked two steps close to the wall. Fang turned to look at me with purple eyelids, “I thought I would never get pulp again in this life.” I only walked beside my elder brother. In less than five steps, my elder brother cut my body first, and went downhill. He was a head shorter than me, and I couldn’t see his face. I just stared at his hard shoe uppers. Show me.” The eldest brother turned around, scraped his eye sockets with his free hand, and said, “Hey.”

Roads have been built in the village, and there is a stop for buses at the bridgehead at the entrance of the village. We stopped on the bridge, the water under the bridge had long since dried up. Brother waited with me, quietly. I understand him, long and short words will only add to the sadness, so I stood side by side. When the car arrived, my eldest brother lifted the beeswax honey up and got out of the car in a hurry. I couldn’t think of anything else, so I opened the window and said to him, “Go back.”


In the next few years, I went back several times a year. I used to have a meal before leaving. It looked like a reunion. Later, my sister-in-law was gone, and there were only me and my elder brother. I always felt that it was not worthwhile for him to prepare another table of meals. Leave your stuff and go.

My elder brother took me to my mother’s grave, which is the family grave. The eldest brother knelt in front of the grave, burned paper, added soil, and didn’t pick up the gravel when he saw it, but just planted new soil to cover it, and burned paper for the adjacent graves, and then sat silently for a while, waiting When he got up, his knees were wet. The eldest brother asked: “Will you go home for a while?” I said: “Stay with mother for a while.” He stood nearby and guarded me to block the mountain wind. After I sat down and got cold, I looked back and saw my elder brother pulling weeds not far away.

I said go home, and my elder brother walked home quietly with me. After walking a few steps, the eldest brother suddenly said, “I’ll go back and boil the water first.” Then he stepped up. I let him go first, and it didn’t take long before I saw him walk to the foot of the mountain, approaching the wild mountain a little bit, his body suddenly became shorter, and finally melted into the black green. I was flustered, and quickly shouted, “Brother!” There was an echo from the other side of the mountain, so weak that it seemed like a little ripple, I laughed at myself stupidly, how could my brother melt into the black green, and speed up my pace to go home Walk.

When I got to the yard, I saw my elder brother checking the beehives. In winter, bees take a hard hit. Wrapped in fog, the lid of the box became heavy. It may also be because of the age, the movement of the eldest brother to lift the lid was much clumsy. Rats entered one box, and many bees were knocked down by the rats. There is also a box of bees flying out. The elder brother knows that there must be no king. Open the lid of the box, and sure enough, the king is dead. My elder brother saw me staring at me obsessively, and said: “The bees clump together into huge spheres in the beehive. The colder the weather, the tighter the spheres are, and they can survive even the coldest days. This is how bees survive the winter.” After feeding the bees, he took the sugar juice and said, “It’s better to feed honey than sugar, and the bees will enjoy themselves, but honey has a smell, which is easy to attract stolen bees.” After feeding the bees, he closed the lid of the box and turned around to enter the house.

At this time, I saw a bee outside the box door, like dancing golden waves, or a cluster of slightly panting flames, so I asked: “What’s wrong with this bee?” He said, “That bee is lost.” After I entered the house, I chased after him and asked, “Is it okay?” He said in a low voice, “Even if an isolated bee has food and shelter, I can’t survive.” After speaking, I lifted the curtain and went into the back room to get things, I poked my head to look into the back room, and saw that the room had long since lost its vitality, and the belongings were covered with a layer of frost, and it smelled wet and cold. The eldest brother took the glass and saw that I was in a trance, thinking that I was still confused about the fate of the bee, so he said: “A single bee can’t survive. If you leave the swarm, you are almost dead.”

My eldest brother was sitting next to me, his trousers were covered with mud, and his hair seemed to be covered with silver ash. The moonlight silver ash made him look much older. My eldest brother finally stopped talking about poetry with me, and I breathed a sigh of relief as if I had been forgiven or forgiven. After a long silence, I said, “On the way here, I saw an activity center for the elderly at the entrance of the village.” The eldest brother stood up, leaned over to fill the cup in front of me with hot water, and said, “Go to that thing.” I Smiled, thinking that my elder brother hadn’t changed at all, and there was nothing else in my life except bees, so I asked, “How many bees are there?” The elder brother said, “I’m getting older, and there are only sixty boxes.” The cigarette was taken out, lit, and held in his mouth. I said: “Take a break at this age, don’t keep bees anymore, you will be tired and stung.” The elder brother took a puff of cigarette, “It’s good to be stung, I don’t like gout after being stung.” After finishing speaking, he cheered me hoarsely , I couldn’t tell whether it was self-mockery or pure humor. I paused and asked again: “I never expected that you have been raising bees all your life.” The eldest brother nodded and said, “It’s addictive. After raising bees all your life, every colony of bees It has a special smell and a unique personality, just like someone you are very familiar with.” I said, “Do you still remember the time when you transferred?” There was a little smile on his face, and there was a bit of infatuation. There was a slight noise, and he took out another cigarette, and said, “There is no pure acacia honey now, not to mention laymen, and experts can’t tell it apart without subdividing it. Now acacia is mixed with Eryuelan. As for the jujube tree , is the most afraid of herbicides, and now the jujube flowers are gone.” “Brother, don’t you want to find someone to keep company?” The brother said, “You’ll make fun of me, who wants to keep company with beekeepers? , I have bees to accompany me, it’s good.” The elder brother went into the back room and took out an erhu from it, which was the one he used to play when I was young. The eldest brother said awkwardly: “I have nothing to do recently, so I picked up this again.” After speaking, he sat opposite and closed his eyes. The sound of the erhu sounded, and the dizzy sunset squeezed in through the small window. The figure of the elder brother was faintly Falling into the flames, it melted drippingly before my eyes.

Another two years later, the eldest brother became blind and always talked to himself in the mirror, as if he was accompanied by someone. The number of bees was also reduced. After selling dozens of boxes of bees, only two boxes were left to take care of them. I said to my eldest brother, “Come with me to live in the city for a while.” The eldest brother just said, “I can’t go away, there are so many bees.” I asked, “What are you worried about?” Looking at the two boxes of bees outside the house, I didn’t say a word, so I followed suit, wondering, and asked again: “Can’t it just be tied up by two boxes of bees?” After speaking, my mouth seemed to be scalded, and I kept silent. language. The eldest brother has been tied to two boxes of bees for a long time. Fifty years ago, he inherited two boxes of bees from his father and raised them all his life. Now he has returned to two boxes of bees. I immediately understood that he will never leave in this life, he will never leave this village, he will stay in father’s inheritance forever.

The elder brother passed away in the fall of the second year. It was a sunny afternoon and he had a heart attack. After he left, the yard was completely empty. When sorting out my eldest brother’s belongings, I dug out the manuscripts of poems, photos of my children, and a small collection printed at my own expense from the box made of medicine boxes. It was very thin, saddle-stitched, and had a blue cover. The first two pages I opened were full of family photos. One had my mother standing behind her with my elder brother. That was the only group photo of our mother and son. Zhang was written by my brother and sister when we were young, and when I turn it back, it is full of poems written by my elder brother in the last few years. They are brand new and I have never read them.

I held it in my hand, settled down, calmed down, turned up a page, and muttered to read.

Boundless Xia is dethroned

dark hotbed, amber


A stray bee, like crumbs


Hold tight, friction burns

The hexagonal net looks like a coffin


huge hops

sweet palm

in the nest

woods, waterside, timid


Squeeze sweetness to produce golden color

Putting down the booklet, I found that my palms were covered with sweat, so I sat down leaning against the edge of the kang and stayed there for a long time. I just felt empty in my heart, and the familiar house, yard, those beehives, and the mountain not far away all became empty, and then I saw my eldest brother’s bedding falling high along the corner, He had lost his rigidity long ago, drooping like snakeskin, his heart was tumbling, and he covered his face and howled.

The elder brother’s funeral was slow. Rural funeral reforms, the ashes of the eldest brother were not buried in the ancestral grave, but placed in the village cemetery. On the way to store the ashes, I remembered the last time I went to the grave with my elder brother. He looked at the graves, leaned over to pick up a small wooden branch, and said foolishly, “I will lie here from now on.” It is happy, like a bee that has left behind and found its nest.

The beekeeping cooperative in the town knew about the elder brother’s situation and contacted me, and I asked them to take away the last two hives of bees. I turned around and looked at my eldest brother’s yard. The golden sun shone on the hillock made of gravel. There were still several large plastic buckets of clean water on the trolley. I don’t know if it was for cooking or cleaning. The gauze of the car, the handle of the car is shiny, shining in the sun. Not far away are neatly arranged old beehives, blue, yellow, black, and white. Each box is marked with a different color. The eldest brother said that it is convenient for the bee colony to find the way home.

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