Episode 13: The food of hope.
A month quickly went by since Yamato first came to Urd Village.
“All right, with this, the Inahon harvesting is finally completed today.”
The grain harvesting of the Inahon, native to the natural paddy fields near the forest was finally over. The sight before him was one filled with the newly harvested and now empty paddy fields.
“You guys, you really did well.”
He directed those words towards the children, who just like him, were gazing at the state of the rice fields.
“We really finished it, all of this…”
“At first my arms and back hurt so bad I wanted to cry…”
They felt deeply moved after finally completing this job, and tried to express their emotions with words.
Manual rice harvesting took a lot of time, and was very taxing on the body. And finally accomplishing this goal, they were very touched by having done it all with they own power.
“It not good to be impressed forever, guys. We need to start preparing for next spring’s rice planting.”
“Ehh, you really are a slave driver, Yamato-niichan! ”
It took time and effort to cultivate rice throughout the whole year.
It was necessary to turn the soil over, having the bottom layer on top, before the winter arrived.
In addition to that, Yamato wanted to prepare some sort of soil improvement, and have it ready before the spring planting began.
The amount of Inahon harvested in comparison with the size of the natural paddy field was small. I suppose that is the limit it has while growing in the wild.
The natural paddy field near the forest was the savior of this village, it really helped against the food shortage in Urd.
However, the yield was far below the harvest Japan would have of a field of that size, because while in its natural state, the hand of man had never touched it to help it improve.
But interpreting it the other way, we can still increase the yield.
Therefore, his plan was to improve the paddy field.
Between the Edo period, and the Meiji and Showa era, the technology used on the rice harvesting and processing in Japan improved by leaps and bounds. With the invention of new agricultural machinery, the implementation of fertilizers and the use of cattle in order to help with the plowing, in some cases, the rice yield even doubled.
He intended to apply that same technology and knowledge to improve the level of civilization on this different world’s village.
In order to do that, the power of the Oxen and the smiting techniques of the old man Gaton are needed.
So, looking forwards to next year’s production, he decided to start preparing.
The labor force in this village was limited, with only children and old people as its inhabitants. For that reason, he was trying to implements as many agricultural reforms as he could to make their life styles a little easier, to improve this world’s civilization.
With the knowledge of my former world, of Japan. I’ll improve this environment, to make it suitable for the Inahon cultivation. I also can count on the help of the outstanding blacksmith Gaton and his two grandchildren.
For Urd Village, which had fallen into quite a dilemma, these were really miraculous gifts.
And above all…
“Yamato-niichan, we’ve finished loading the tools to the cart.”
“What kind of job are we going to do next after getting to the village? Tell us! ”
“Hey, guys! Don’t rush Yamato-niichan! Don’t you see he’s making that ‘troubled face’ again? “
The most miraculous gift was ‘them’.
The children of Urd, always bright and devoted to any job he gave them. Without them, harvesting the Inahon and hunting wouldn’t have been so smooth up to this point.
He tried no to say it out loud, but he really appreciated them.
“By the way, Liscia-san. Am I really making a ‘troubled face’? ”
“That is… well… no… I believe that Yamato-sama who makes such a face is still wise and lovely! “
Next to him, Liscia was troubled on how to reply to his question.
She was always by his side, and suddenly seeing here trouble as to how to answer was a fun sight.
I could get used to the life in this village. It would also be good to try and be a little more amiable…
He tried to be as polite as possible, since the whole village was taking care of him, an outsider.
But in the future, he thought to should be a bit more careful about his troubled expressions. But for that, first of all, he had to practice ‘smiling’.
“Hey! Yamato-niichan is making a weird face now! ”
“Wooah, it’s true! That’s a really funny face! “
“Hey, don’t be rude to Yamato-sama! ”
“But it’s the truth, Liscia-neechan.”
“Waa, quick, everyone, run away from neechan! “
It was true.
The children of Urd were bright and dedicated, and even reliable.
But… he now strongly felt the need to never let them know how he felt.
“Ok, let’s go back to the village.”
And so, he was able to reconfirm that he was still not very good at dealing with children. And like this, the Inahon harvesting was finally completed at long last.
After cutting all the Inahon native to the forest, they came back to the village.
“Properly clean up all the tools. After that, let’s go help with the threshing work too.”
To those words, the children replied energetically. Being able to change gears so easily, energetic children were indeed amazing.
“Yamato-dono, the Inahon finished drying, so we’re now threshing it.”
“Oh, that’s great, Village Chief.”
The work Yamato asked them to do before leaving seemed to be progressing well.
“Good, if it’s dried like this, it will become easier.”
He said while checking the current moisture content on the Inahon.
The Inahon was spread in the village square, it was that which they had cut down with sickles near the forest previously.
To briefly describe the method, it was a simple sun drying. By doing this, the moisture evaporated making the grain last longer, and it also improved its flavor.
After this, what was left was only for it to be passed through the thresher.
“How’s the tool doing? ”
“So far, it’s going well.”
Yamato went to check the progress on the threshing process he instructed them on doing during his absence.
Gaton was the person supervising the threshing tool, and the ones working on it were the old people and the children who didn’t go to the forest today.
“But that aside, this thing called ‘Senbakoki’ is a really convenient tool. As expected of the ‘Sage’.”
“I think that you, who made this tool from that rough sketch I gave you, are more incredible. Gaton jii-san.”
“Sadly, I can’t take the credit this time, it was made by my grandchildren.”
“So those two made it… no wonder it’s shaped like that.”
“Piss off, boy.”
As usual, Gaton answered with that crude vocabulary of his. However, the sense of completeness given by the tools the Mountain Clan People made was still amazing.
Speaking of which, about the ‘sage’ title. Recently, The villagers started to refer to him as such, and despite him asking them to stop, they continued so he just tried to forget about it.
By the way, this ‘Senbakoki’ was an epoch-making farm equipment invented in the Edo period. It was a revolutionary invention which dramatically improved the tedious and time-consuming threshing of that era, increasing its efficiency and speed.
All I did was pass a simple rough sketch and have Gaton in charge of its production, Yamato thought.
And by his earlier words, this time it was his grandchildren the ones who made this senbakoki.
They should be around the age of elementary school students. Being able to replicate such an apparatus, the skills of the Mountain Clan were surely amazing.
After checking the threshing, he then moved over to the warehouse.
“So all of these are Inahon… With this much rice, we’ll have more than enough to last us until autumn of next year.”
Confirming the number of hemp bags filled with rice, he made a rough estimate.
“Instead of eating wheat, this will surely become the staple food for Urd in the future, ‘Rice’… right? Yamato-sama.
Impressed while looking at the stacked hemp sacks filled with rice, Liscia expressed her thoughts. She was pleased with the prospect of this grain becoming the new staple food.
“Yeah, that’s right. In the future, we will continue to plant wheat, on a lesser quantity though, and Inahon will be the main crop.”
In Urd Village, wheat had been the staple food so far.
But in recent years, the growth of wheat had been unstable due to changes in the climate. In order to compensate for that, they purchased it from traders and stockpiled it.
But this became a critical situation when the bandits appeared in the highway to the big town, and that made trading impossible.
“Inahon can be cultivated every year continuously without any problems, so rest assured.”
“Such an unbelievable story… that’s really great news, Yamato-sama! “
There was the risk of ‘continuous cultivation damage’ by only growing wheat in the same place.
Compared to that, rice was an excellent grain that could be cultivated and harvested in a well-balanced manner. As for the climate, since the Inahon had been resistant so far while continuously growing wildly in the forest, there was nothing they had to worry about.
“In the spring of next year, we will plant and cultivate the Inahon seedlings. We’ll mainly use the natural paddy field near the forest. I’ll also try to cultivate Inahon in the destroyed wheat fields in the village as an experiment.”
“So you will remodel the wheat fields into rice fields… can that be done? Yamato-sama.”
“That’s where the Wild Oxen and the farming tools I had Gaton make come into place.”
He explained to the anxious Liscia in order to reassure her.
If his agricultural reforms got right on track, the food production on the village would stabilize as a result. They would also be able to resume the raising of livestock and the cultivation of vegetables, in order to enrich their lives.
People cannot live healthy and enriched lives with rice alone, after all.
If the grain production and food gathering becomes stable, the state of Urd Village will surely improve…
Urd was blessed with a natural environment in this mountain basin. Gifted with abundant water and clear air.
And although deep into the forest wild beasts lurked, they could gather the blessings of the forest once the crossbow squad got up and running. With this, the need for firewood to be used as fuel and wild beasts fur and meat, would be covered.
It may still take a while. But now, people can keep on living since they can now see the light of hope.
He was currently looking at that same hope in the form of the villagers performing the threshing with a smile on their faces. It made him feel that it would somehow work out.
It was as he was thinking that.
Liscia quietly called to him from his side.
Her voice had a different tone than usual… It made one wonder what was this about.
“Yamato-sama… could you please lend me some of your time tonight? I need to talk to you…”
“Yeah, no problem. What’s wrong? “
Liscia was the oldest girl in the village, although she was still young.
Her knowledge and presence had always helped Yamato. And since it was her making that request, he saw no reason to refuse it.
“Thank you, Yamato-sama! I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight…”
After saying that, she happily left.
Leaving Yamato wondering what she would want to talk about.
And so, he was invited by Liscia, to meet her tonight.