Episode 26: A preparation with kindness
Some days had passed after everyone had returned from the meadow with the horses.
Currently, the remote village of Urd was in the middle of the Inahon plantation process, a grain very similar to rice.
“Yamato-niichan, is this space enough between the plants? “
“It seems you still can’t get the feeling right. We’ll plant it in a straight line, a bit more separated.”
“Is that so? “
“If it’s too close the yield will be reduced. Or saying it differently, the amount of food to eat will be lower.”
“Oh, that would be bad. I have to fix it! “
Since everyone in the village was experiencing planting rice for the very first time, Yamato was the on-site supervisor giving appropriate instructions to everyone helping.
And although he was prepared and practiced the explanations in advance, he still struggled with those that couldn’t get the proper hang of rice planting.
“Yamato-nii-sama, is this okay? “
“Yes, good work. You’re pretty good at it.”
“Thank you very much, Yamato-nii-sama! The Han clan has long lived in the grasslands. So, we are fairly used to handling grasses.”
Among those helping were the children of the Han clan, they had now become new inhabitants in the village. And apparently since they were used to living in the meadows, they were skilled at rice planting.
From the time they were born, they were surrounded by horses, and had always handled and taken care of them. In such an environment, grass was also a part of their job.
“Yamato-dono, please come check at our work.”
“Oh, it is nicely done. But please, don’t push yourselves too hard, Village Chief.”
“No problem, so far it has been easier than with the barley, Yamato-dono.”
“I’ll be counting on you then.”
The elderly men and women of the village were also participating in the planting process.
Similar to harvesting, the planting was made by hand and it was the most labor-intensive and time-consuming process in the rice farming. Therefore, Yamato had told the elderly people not to overdo it.
I wonder if it’s my imagination… But it feels like they are livelier recently…
When he first came to the village, the old people rarely did any job requiring physical strength.
However, in recent months, the elderly people felt much more energetic than at first.
This was probably due to them eating a nutritious diet in a stable manner that they slowly were recovering their shaved off strength.
If this is the case, then it’s a happy miscalculation, they sure will be more reliable in the future.
The Inahon planting occupied a large area that encompassed the natural paddy fields and the reclaimed damaged fields in the village.
All the villagers were cooperating and steadily working.
Then several days after the planting started.
“Great, the planting is now finished. Good job everyone.”
The Inahon planting, a process in which all the villagers took part in, was finally completed. And so, Yamato addressed the tired and muddy villagers, signaling its completion.
“I planted the last one. I’m pretty amazing, aren’t I? “
“You’re wrong, the last one was planted by me.”
“No, no, we were the ones planting the last one, since the place designated for the Han clan was the one farther away.”
“”Ehh, not fair, that’s cheating…””
As the hard labor of planting ended, everyone felt quite exhausted.
However, a smile was plastered on each of the villager’s faces as they felt filled with a sense of fulfillment.
“Alright kids, go wash off the dirt in the creek. Meanwhile the old women will most likely have already finished preparing a warm meal at the open plaza, so be sure to get back soon. Also, there will be no more work for today.”
Yamato instructed the children and told them about the schedule for the rest of the day.
“Oh! Lunch and a break! Alright, I’ll be the first one to get to the creek!”
“The Han clan won’t be defeated. Let’s see who’s the fastest.”
“Oh? If it doesn’t involve riding, there’s no way for us of Urd to lose a race! Bring it on! it’s a competition then! “
“Hey, please, wait for me…”
Almost as if their earlier fatigue was a lie, all the children ran towards the creek at the same time, trying to be the first one to get there.
Truly… children are just a mass of energy.
At such a cheerful and mischievous scene, Yamato couldn’t help but to smile wryly in his mind.
“Seems like the children aren’t tired at all, Yamato-sama.”
“Yeah, it would seem so.”
The granddaughter of the village chief, Liscia, gazed together with Yamato at that pleasant sight.
To her, who had celebrated her fourteen birthday recently, the children reflected in her eyes were dazzling.
“You too, Liscia-san, after eating you can take the rest of the day off.”
“Yes, thank you very much for your words. And similarly, you will take the rest of the day off, right Yamato-sama? “
“Yeah, I plan to take thing slowly for today.”
After working hard for the past few days, the villagers were forced to take the day off.
Yamato had decided on such taking as example the customs of his grandmother’s town back in Japan.
Forcing a holiday in order to restore the energy used during the rice planting, and with a second purpose of deepening the friendship among the villagers in Urd.
After joining hands in order to complete a taxing job together, a sense of solidarity was born and, in this way, their relationships deepened.
Especially, this was planned by Yamato in order to break the wall that still remained between the villagers and the new inhabitants, those of the Han clan.
“But, the children are already getting along pretty well, Yamato-sama.”
“That’s true, but I can’t say if it’s because they adapt faster, or just because they are more simple-minded.”
Not paying any heed to the concerns of some adults, the children of Urd had already become very good friends with the children of the Han clan.
Because they were children, they had no preconceptions or pride like the adults, which made it easier for them. They were just being straightforward, like the always were.
“Well then, let’s go get some lunch, Liscia-san.”
After a final check on the fields, everyone headed for the plaza.
Everyone was excited and happy at the small party made to celebrate the completion of the rice planting.
“Today we made a lot of these ‘Onigiri’, there’s plenty so eat your fill.”
“Oh! ‘Itadakimasu’! “
“Yeah, ‘Itadakimasu’! “
Everyone was happily enjoying the lunch prepared by the old women during the morning.
It appeared like Yamato’s custom of expressing his thanks by saying ‘Itadakimasu’ before eating, and the ‘onigiri’ had already permeated the hearts of the villagers.
The children swarmed towards the food almost as if they were competing.
“Yamato-dono, would you like another cup? “
“Sure, I’ll take it.”
On the other hand, the elderly people who were seated in the upper part of the plaza, healed their tiredness with a cup of liquor. Today being a feast to relief the tiredness, the ban on the precious liquor was lifted.
Yamato didn’t dislike alcohol, but he wasn’t a big fan of drinking during daytime, so he kept it to a minimum.
“Gaton-dono, you too, please have another cup.”
“Thanks, I’ll gratefully accept it. Village Chief.”
Next to Yamato, the old blacksmith of the Mountain Clan, Gaton was also relaxing.
Although he had not participated in the rice planting, Gaton was also busy working on a number of newly asked tools that Yamato had requested.
“Even so, this ‘rice planting’ seems quite taxing, and somewhat inefficient.”
“Precise planting can only be done manually. There’s no other way than to do it like that.”
“Uhm, even you being the ‘Sage-dono’, don’t you have some wisdom to increase the efficiency? “
“I think it would be a very complicated tool to have the Wild Oxen pull, you want to try?”
“Nah, I’ll refrain this time. Right now, I feel like I don’t have enough hands to complete your requests.”
A tool to make rice planting, which was a heavy work, more efficient was difficult to produce.
In Japan, manual rice planting was the technique used until the rice transplanted appeared.
And with the current degree of civilization in this world, the technical ability needed to be raised before a rice transplanted could be properly made. Therefore, Yamato’s choice was to keep using manual planting for the time being.
“By the way, the ‘custom bow’ you asked me to make will be completed soon.”
“Oh, fast as always. As expected of Gaton-jii-san.”
“Even if you praise me. Well, it’s just a simplified version of the young lady’s Marionette Bow. It was easy.”
Recently, Yamato had requested a tool to Gaton, which he asked him to give priority.
It was a tool for hunting designed for the children of the Han clan, who had recently become new residents in the village.
After designing a new bow to match the characteristics of the Han clan, who were natural-born riders, he had Gaton make a prototype.
I’m really looking forward to see the finished product.
It was then.
A small voice was calling to him from behind.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
A girl a little younger than Liscia had come to speak with him.
She was a girl good at drawing and painting who now had a job similar to a village secretary.
Coming to speak to Yamato with a piece of paper in hand, he assumed there was some sort of problem. So, he tried to ask in a kind tone.
“Actually… there is a problem with the inventory at the food storage…”
“I see… that’s bad news. Alright, I understand. Let’s go see the food storage.”
In order to check on the current ‘problem’ with his own eyes, Yamato left his seat and went towards the storehouse.