There was once a poor family from Central China. The father died when the son had just started elementary school. the mother never remarried. She put up with hardships and raised her child. At the time, their village did not have electricity, so each night the son would study under the oil lamp while mother carefully stitched his clothes. As the years go went (Use the past tense here since it happened in the past) by, more and more academic certificates hung on the dirt walls of their house, the child also grew taller (There is nothing wrong with these two ideas, it is just that they do not belong together) . Looking at her son, a head taller than herself, mother smiled a wrinkly smile.
When the trees turned red and fall had arrived, the son was accepted into the county's best high school. the mother however, suffered from rheumatism and could no longer do farm work. Sometimes, she would even go hungry due to the lack of food. At that time, it was mandatory for each student to bring 30kg of rice each month for the school cafeteria. The son knew that his mother couldn't afford it, so he said “Mother, I want to quit school and help you on the farm.” Mother stroked her son's hair and said "Your thought makes me glad (this part needs to be reworded. I don't think 'glad' is appropriate here. , but you must attend school. Don't worry, when you were born to me, I already had a way to support you. Go sign up at school, I will bring the rice later.” the son stubbornly refused, but the mother insisted that he went (go) - the past tense is correct here.. The son continued to say no, the mother raised her rough and worn hands and slapped it across his face. That was the first time the 16 year-old son had been beaten ("beaten" is to harsh of a word here. He was only slapped once, that is not being beaten. "Slapped" or punished would be better choices).
The son finally went to school. Gazing at his receding figure (this needs to be reworded), the mother was worrying. Days later, the mother arrived at the high school cafeteria. She limped as she walked. Panting, she removed a large sack of rice from her shoulder. Master Li, the man responsible for weighing the rice, opened the sack. He grabbed a handful, examined it, and said unhappily “You parents are so cheap. Look at this, there is fine rice, brown rice, and sticky rice all mixed together, what do you take our cafeteria for?” the mother blushed and apologized. The Master said nothing and accepted the rice. the mother recovered a small cloth bag, “Sir, here is 5 Yuan, it is my son's living expenses for the month, sorry to trouble you but could you please deliver it to him?” Master Li took the bag and shook it, the coins inside jingled. He joked “What, do you sell eggs on the street?” the mother blushed again, she thanked him once more and limped away.
A new month had begun, the mother carried another sack of rice to the cafeteria. Master Li opened the bag as usual, looked at it and frowned. It was mixed rice again. He thought to himself, did I not make it clear to her the last time of what I wanted? He explained again, stressing each syllable “We accept all kinds of rice, but they must be separated. If they are mixed, we can't cook it. The result would be rice that is half cooked and half raw. If you bring me mixed rice again, I won't accept it!” The mother protested “But Master Li, the rice I have at home is all like this, what do I do?” Master Li did not know whether to laugh or to cry, he countered “Your acre of land can grow a hundred types of rice? Don't joke with me.” The mother did not say another word.
The third month had arrived. The mother came again with another sack of rice. She looked at Master Li with a forced smile. The Master looked at the rice and became angry “Hey, what did I tell you last time? How can you be so stubborn? Why is it mixed again? Carry this rice back the way you carried it here!”
The mother was expecting that. She bent her knees and knelt in front of Master Li. Two lines of tears poured down her sunken eyes. “I will tell you the truth, I beg... begged for this rice!” Master Li was shocked, he widened his eyes and was speechless.
The mother sat on the ground. She rolled up her pant legs - I don't think they wore pants those days. Robes? revealing a pair of rigid, deformed and swollen legs. She wiped her tears and said “I was diagnosed with late rheumatism which makes walking difficult, not to mention farming. My son is sensible, he wanted to drop out of school to help me, but I beat him and forced him back to school.”
She explained to Master Li that she kept this a secret from the villagers, she was afraid that if word got out, her son's pride might be hurt. Every day at dawn, she would take an empty sack and walk ten kilometers to beg at another village. At night when it was dark, she would sneak back into her village. She gathered all the rice that she begged for and delivered them to school at the start of each month. At this point, Master Li has already shed a tear. He helped mother get up and said “You are a good mother, I will inform the principal immediately, our school can help you.” Mother shook her head, “No please, if my son were to know that his mother begs to pay for his schooling, it would hurt his self-esteem and affect his learning. I appreciate your kindness Master Li, but you must keep this a secret for me!”
Mother left, still limping.
The Principal finally became aware of this situation. He rid the son of three year's tuition and living expenses (You can't use "rid" this way. You can get rid of a thing but you can't "rid the son". Are you trying to write that he returned the money?). I think the principal waived the tuition fees and living expense from then on.
Three years later, the son had finally graduated. He graduated as an honor student and was accepted into China's most prestigeous university. At the graduation ceremony, the principal specifically invited him onto the podium. The son wondered: there are several honor students, why invite only me onto the stage? Even more surprising was that there were three full burlap sacks on the stage as well. At this point, Master Li walked up to the podium and told a story about a mother who begged on the street for rice in order to allow her son to attend school, the audience was silent. The principal pointed at the 3 sacks and emotionally announced “these are the sacks the mother in the story begged for, it is food that money cannot buy in this world. Please welcome this great mother on stage.” The son slowly turned and looked behind him, he saw Master Li helping his mother walk onto the stage. We don't know what was going through the son's head at the time, but I believe he was very shocked. Mother and son stared at each other, Mother's look was warm and loving, locks of grey hair rested on her head.(the two parts seem unrelated) The son ran forward and hugged his mother, crying.
Interesting story. A tear jerker which is common with stories from old China It illustrates the extent that people went to in those days just for the sake of their children's education.
I know 'father' and 'mother' are direct translations from Papa and Mama from the Chinese version but they don't sound so natural in English.
Mum and Dad (capitalized) might work.
- For Teachers