Chapter 7: The first step of the village reformation.
After having breakfast and having finished the preparation, Yamato led the children towards the forest.
Of course, the village chief also gave his consent.
After walking for around half an hour in the animal trail, they arrived at a place near the lake, there began the explanation to the children about the plants.
“Ok, we will harvest the wild plants growing around here and place them on the handcart.”
“But, Yamato-niichan… these are “cursed fruits”… they cannot be eaten…”
The leader-like boy said as he pointed to a plant in front of us.
The children in the village had prior knowledge about the local plants. They were taught about the plants that grew by the water, and they told him about this one specifically. This one was particularly toxic and shouldn’t be eaten.
“It is as Guts says, Yamato-sama. We are not supposed to eat this plant, it is called Inahon.”
Liscia, who was standing next to Yamato, also confirmed the same fact. As the granddaughter of the village chief, she had been taught plenty of things since a young age. Coincidentally, Guts was the name of the leader-like boy.
“I see, so this is called Inahon, huh? Poisonous… Since this is bad for your stomach, has any of you been feeling unwell or with a stomachache? ”
“Uh, everyone’s fine Yamato-niichan! ”
“I ate that soup until I was full! ”
“Rather than unwell, I’m feeling great! “
The children began answering to each other at his sudden question unaware of the meaning.
They showed a better countenance compared to last night, and their eyes had a brighter gleam. As they were currently in their growing period, so long as they properly ate, they would soon recover their strength.
“I want you to listen properly to this. This is not a poisonous plant. The proof of that is me and you. Because among the vegetables in the soup this morning, this Inahon was also cooked inside the pot.”
Speaking slowly, so that there was no confusion, he began explaining.
He told them that in the stew they ate earlier, the Inahon grain was also present, and everybody had already eaten it. Of course, before he shared it with the children, he tested it for poison.
He continued explaining about this grain-like fruit called Inahon, telling them that after being boiled with the meat and mushrooms in the pot, it was very soft and delicious.
“Eh!? Perhaps, it was that chewy grain that was in the pot…”
“It was amazingly delicious! ”
“What! That means Inahon was not a cursed fruit at all! “
The children were convinced after that explanation.
Since they had experienced it on they own, they then judged that the story they have heard so far was just a mistaken superstition.
Children were after all, better at having a flexible mind at times like these when compared to adults. This was because their concepts weren’t deeply rooted, so fixing their wrong ideas could be done fast.
“So you were also collecting Inahon yesterday, Yamato-sama…”
Liscia, who was surprised at first was now also convinced. It was due to the fact that she also ate the same meal as everyone, and showed no adverse effects. Well, I do feel a little guilty about tricking everyone and deceiving them into eating it, thought Yamato while wryly smiling in his mind.
“Back in my hometown, a grain extremely similar to this was a staple food. I immediately recognized it when I saw it.”
He said as his gaze rested on the natural “paddy field” spreading in front of his eyes.
Accurately speaking — — — — this “Inahon” was in fact a “rice plant”. The true identity of this plant was rice.
I never expected to find a plant so similar to rice in a different world…
While Yamato and Liscia were on their way to the village yesterday, he found this natural paddy field and almost jumped from the excitement. That sudden sight was really astonishing, soon coming into view shortly after leaving the forest.
But there existed the possibility that this was just a plant similar in appearance. So, in order to confirm his suspicions, he secretly grabbed some of it and took it with him. He also wanted to see how it would actually look like when cooked.
It’s taste before cooked was like that of normal rice. Although it might be some kind of ancient variety of rice, the taste was still the same of that of rice…
After tasting the rice, he couldn’t sense any toxin, so its safety was confirmed. Then after secretly putting some of it in the pot to try it, he wondered about what kind of reaction the village children would have after eating it.
And the strategy proved successful.
The children were happily eating the rice in the pot with a joyful expression. From the look on their faces, one could tell they were really happy.
And what came from that was the evidence that Inahon was a delicious food, better yet, it came to the children in the form of a real experience.
“Ok, now that you understand, let’s get to work. We’ll reap all the ears growing around here for today and will take them back to the village.”
He said as he showed them how to harvest the Inahon with the scythe for wheat harvesting that he had asked Liscia to prepare beforehand.
Reached for the middle part between the root and the ear of the Inahon, he grabbed several plants and cut them, then he repeated the process several times in order for the children to properly learn. I’m lucky that the experience I had helping at my grandmother’s house in that small town where she lived was useful, he though while remembering.
“Ehhh, do we have to reap all those Inahon!? ”
“That’s impossible, Yamato-niichan! “
The children raised complaints at those instructions.
This was a natural response, after all, the natural paddy field was quite extensive. Who knew how many days it would take for these small children to finish harvesting the whole field with their tiny hands.
“Did you already forget this morning’s promise? Those who properly do this job will have more food to eat.”
“Uhm… I’ll do my best! ”
“I’ll give my best too! ”
“Me too! “
As they remembered the meal they recently had, the children got suddenly motivated. And without wasting time, they began their Inahon harvesting soon after hearing those directions.
There were plenty of small sickles for wheat harvesting in the village. Yamato decided to grind off some of the sharpness with a sharpening stone. This way it would be safer for small children, and with this much sharpness, they still could do the Inahon harvesting even if they had to spend a little more time.
“Don’t push yourself too hard, we will continue tomorrow with the parts that weren’t finished. Also, be sure to take breaks while working.”
Rice harvesting actually consumed more energy than what most people imagined.
It would also be a problem if they got too tired and ended up injuring themselves. Therefore, he instructed them to keep the working at a moderate pace and take breaks in between.
After giving away the instructions for the Inahon harvesting, he decided to move to the next point of action.
“You are good at drawing/writing, right? ”
“Ye-yes, that is the only thing I’m good at.”
After hearing their strong points, the group of children was divided before starting.
Standing before him was a little girl with a frail body who had said she was good a drawing. Since her parents were originally painting craftsman, she was dexterous with her hands.
Yet, since paper was a luxury good, she said she had been drawing images and letters on the ground or on wooden boards, with charcoal and stones.
“Then, use this “notebook” to record the progress of the Inahon collection. The reason was what I explained earlier.”
“Y-yes, I understand, Yamato-san… Wow, it is really easy to write in this! So, such thing existed out in the world! “
The girl said so, impressed by the notebook and pencil.
He handed those items in order for her to record the progress, they were items he had in the backpack in case he needed to write something or make a sketch. The reason for keeping a record was in order to leave the technique for the village’s future generations.
In the near future, the wheat fields in Urd Village would be replaced for paddy fields. Although that was a story for later, for this to work, it was necessary to accurately record the state of the paddy field and the process of harvesting.
“This is amazing… I can draw the lines beautifully…”
“Just make sure to properly get the gist of the process.”
Seemingly understanding the reason for describing the process, she started. Her body was small and not really fit to perform heavy work, but she was a smart child. She was properly writing all the important points. So, he decided it was fine to leave her alone for now.
After finished giving the girl instructions, he went to where the rest of the children were.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. Now I’ll tell you what your job will be.”
These were the boys and girls he had chosen based on intuition.
“Yamato-niichan, what are we going to do? ”
“No matter what it is, we’ll work hard! “
These were older children with a sharp gaze. Everyone was eager to get work assigned to them already. The children with a good fighting spirit were the ones chosen.
“Yamato-sama… you need me too? ”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Among these children was Liscia, the chief’s granddaughter. This was the perfect job for her.
“I’ll have you go “hunting for beasts” with me. This will be the most important and dangerous job.”
“Uhm, hunt!? ”
“But we cannot use they bow like Liscia-neechan.”
“But Yamato-sama, that is dangerous! “
Everyone was surprised at that sudden statement.
The children knew about how dangerous the beasts in the forest could be. Even the adults in the village had trouble hunting the Big Rabbits, let alone other more dangerous beasts.
That was the reason why most of the children never tried to set foot inside the forest before. Despite it being a forest with many blessings to give.
“Yeah… it really is impossible.”
In fact, the children were even afraid of their current surroundings.
But because they heard the story about Yamato defeating the Big Rabbits from Liscia, they were still enduring, since he was together with them.
Even the leader-like boy Guts was scared.
“Ok, I will teach you a way so that even you children, will be able to defeat a Big Rabbit…”
Then began the guiding session on how to defeat a Big Rabbit, with a practical example.