6- An affluent village

28 Tháng Giêng 200812:00 SA(Xem: 9876)
6- An affluent village

About ten kilometers from Hung Nhon was Hiep Xuong, an affluent village. The majority of its villagers were blessed by nature with beautiful paddy fields and plenty of fish and shrimp. When the tide was high, they could see schools of catfish swimming under the shallow water; a mother catfish swam first, following her were hundreds of tiny catfish. The villagers had various kinds of edible snails and birds. They used small boats to come to the bushes on the swamp where the birds flew in and out, and they could find bird's nests with lots of eggs inside. Besides, when the waters of the Than Nong canal ran high they brought innumerable shrimp and fishes of various kinds from Tonle-Sap Lake in Cambodia. During this season, villagers went out netting fish and shrimp easily and bountifully. The fish that came with the high water deposited countless eggs, and then when the water withdrew during the low tide season the small fish and shrimp were caught in paddy fields, small ponds and arroyos. Nature provides the inhabitants of this village with these sources of food and wealth.

Although most inhabitants of Hiep Xuong lived on houseboats or pile houses during high tide season, the high water did not harm the rice crop, which was the main source of the villagers’ livelihood.  This village, like all those of the adjacent provinces --- Chau Doc, Long Xuyen, Sa Dec, Kien Phong --- lived by the “sa” rice. This rice has a special pattern of growth: it could stand high water.  The higher the water level rises, the higher the rice grows. The cultivation of “sa” rice (sowing-rice) was easier than regular rice. The peasants only needed to plough the field and let the sun dry the humid soil, then rake the chunked soil thinly to sow (“sa”) the rice seeds before the rainy season. When the rain came down, the seedlings would grow right through the time of the high tide. The cultivation of this “sa” rice had two extra benefits. First, the farmers did not need to manure the field since the alluvial deposit brought by water and left over the land was very nourishing; Secondly, they did not need to pull off wild grass, since rice plants grow high along with the water surface. The cultivation of “sa” rice did not require hard work such as plucking out and replanting the seedlings, manuring the soil, and watering the rice. Once the rice seeds were sown, the farmers just waited until the harvest time.

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18 Tháng Bảy 2010(Xem: 14821)