she had dipped water <to hold to its muzzle> to let it drink what it would

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park sang joon

Senior Member
This novel is set in a Chinese village before World War One.
Here "she" refers to the newly-wedded wife of the protagonist Wang Lung's
In the East, the farmers used oxen in plowing, not horses.

These things she did without a word and without being commanded to do them. And when the end of the day came she did not rest herself until the ox had been fed in the kitchen and until she had dipped water to hold to its muzzle to let it drink what it would.
<The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck>
I think "to hold its muzzle" means "and she held to its muzzle."
Then, I can't understand why he should hold to the ox's muzzle to let it drink what it would.
I'd like to know why do you think she does the deed.
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • DaylightDelight

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Tokyo
    "Dip" here means "to take up, such as by using a bucket or scoop."
    So it's "she had scooped some water and held it (=water) to its (=ox's) muzzle."
    Last edited:
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