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The "Useless" Books I Treasure Most by Yuan Guoliang ~ 袁国良 《最珍贵的废书》 with English Translations


袁国良 《最珍贵的废书》

















The “Useless” Books I Treasure Most
Yuan Guoliang

One day I was cleaning up my place and found two dust-covered elementary school books. “Why not discard them?” said my girlfriend. I held the books tightly in my hands, didn’t respond for a while.

Mom bought these books for me when I was in high school. She was an ordinary woman of the Miao minority who didn’t know how to read and write. In my home village, when a woman passed away, the custom was to put a piece of silver or gold in her mouth to secure peace in the world beyond. Therefore, to families of extreme poverty, it had become a very big deal in life to save enough money for a small piece of silver jewelry. One year, mom worked from dawn to dusk raising two pigs, which were sold to finally buy her a pair of silver bracelets.

As the date of my college entrance exam approached, mom often came in town to bring me food and treats. She knew that I was pressed for time to study; therefore, she’d rush in and out each time. One day however, mom returned shortly after she had left. She took me to a quiet place and said, “Son, I bought you two books to prepare for the college exam.”

“What!” my heart sank at her words. I often heard that outside of our school, fake books and printed handouts were sold to illiterate parents from the mountainous areas.

“The guy said that if you use these books, you’ll have no trouble getting in college.”

“Where’d you get the money?”

“I sold the bracelets.”

I grabbed the books and tore away the covers; an enormous feeling of despair immediately overwhelmed me. Who would think that two elementary school books actually cheated mom out of her precious bracelets!

“Will they…work, son?”

Seeing mom with a gaze that was full of hope, I forced back tears and humiliation. “Yes mom, they sure will!”

Later on, I passed the exam and enrolled in college. Mom was overjoyed with happiness. She said it was well worth the two bracelets; she even thought of finding the guy who sold her the books and thanking him.

“Did your mom ever find out the truth?” asked my girlfriend.

“No, I will never let her know.”

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » The "Useless" Books I Treasure Most by Yuan Guoliang ~ 袁国良 《最珍贵的废书》 with English Translations
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