23 Episode 23: Potato digging
It was the morning after Allen assured me that I would take care of the house. It's about six o'clock. Allen gets up and heads to the living room.
"Good morning, Mother.
"Good morning, Allen.
Since yesterday, I stopped calling you mom and dad and started calling you mom and dad. I went to the living room, grabbed two wooden buckets with handles and went outside. It's almost the end of October. The morning is very cold.
I'm headed to the public watering hole. A public water pump is a well that is dug in the village for the farmers to use for drinking water and other purposes. It's not that far.
"Oh, you're the son of Rodin's, good morning.
There is already a line of about four or five people. Allen lines up behind me. Watching the people in front of him, he understands how to draw water from the well by pulling a rope. I've seen this from a distance, but this is the first time I've been here.
Many adults look at me and ask me why a child is doing this, or that Rodin is badly injured.
When your turn comes, you pull the rope to scoop up water from the tub attached to the well.
Fill up the two wooden vats like nothing happened. The adults are watching them as if they are curious.
"Hey, boy, you can't take that much water home.
"Huh? Thank you for your concern.
Saying that, he returns home with a wooden tub containing about 30 liters in each hand. The adults look on in amazement.
You're really powerful. (After all, your father has some power.) The tub is bigger than the others.
With this in mind, I walked home and poured the old water from the water jar into a narrow canal running along the side of the house. I put the water jar back in its original place and transfer the water from the wooden vat, gurgling it from a position higher than my chest.
Teresia is watching her, but she can't say anything.
'Mom, Gerda is going to teach me how to harvest potatoes after lunch today, is there anything I need to prepare?
Mother Teresia, whose belly is starting to swell, has to take care of Rodin and mash, so she learns how to harvest potatoes from Gerda.
Yesterday, Allen declared that he would take care of the house. That means working the fields in addition to the chores he already helps with. The water jars Rodin had done every morning were part of it.
Yesterday, Rodin and Teresia even had Gerda join them, telling her that she was only six years old. However, Allen is very determined, and we have come to the conclusion that it's better for him if we let him do it and see how hard and impossible it is, rather than telling him what to do.
Teresia takes breakfast to her room with Rodin. The house is very small, but it's impossible for her to come from the next couple's bedroom to the living room. In vain, Teresia feeds them.
Finish the meal, clean up and do the laundry. Lately, laundry has become a part of my daily routine. I've stopped throwing rocks after three years since I was three years old.
Gerda comes over after lunch. I had to work on my farm in the morning, so she comes in the afternoon.
"Allen, we're going to pick the potatoes and I'm going to carry this basket.
He is a little stern, as if he is going to make you give up immediately.
"Yes, Ms. Gerda,
Somehow its intentions are understood, or it listens intently to instructions. I headed straight for the fields.
The field adjacent to Allen's house is basically Rodin's field.
There are four or five fields divided by a footpath. I think it's wheat, potatoes, beans, and leafy greens, which is pretty big when you look at it.
It's a large field for one person to manage.
(After all, the level must be pretty high. I guess it's a result of hunting a lot of boas.
Even before Allen was born, Rodin has been hunting a C-ranked hexenbiest named Great Boar. It was thought to be more powerful than an ordinary villager, with a higher level of power.
Of course, the fields are not as large as the tractor-like ones in the real world. But in this civilization of plowing with a hoe and a spade, it's a lot of space for a family to manage.
Enter one of the fields my father has tended on a daily basis. There are already wilted stalks stretched out on the ground.
This is how we pull them out.
As Allen is entering the field with deep emotion, Gerda explains the work to me. The burly, muscular Gerda pulls out the wilted stalks with one hand. All kinds of potatoes, large and small, are revealed. Like Rodin, Gerda is also very strong from boar hunting.
The sweet potatoes you've just dug up taste and look almost like sweet potatoes. It's sweet and is a favorite of mash.
Oh, it's pretty deep-rooted. Go all out.
Like Gerda, she grasps it with one hand and tries to pull it out.
"Hey, hey, hey, you can't pull out with one hand...
Before he could finish, he pulled the potatoes out in one go by force, as did Gerda.
"Do you put all the potatoes in the basket?
"Oh, hey, go home and sort them out. The little one will be next year's seed potatoes.
Holding a separate stalk in each hand, pull out the gun. Shake the soil off and put it in the basket. The basket keeps getting fuller and fuller.
(It takes more than a day to get all the potatoes. You can't just dig potatoes.
Do you take this to the yard?
"Huh? Oh, yeah, Allen's got the power.
"Yes, it's my dad's baby.
We put them in baskets, but the potatoes are still buried in the ground. These potatoes are a staple in the Allen family's diet throughout the year.
If we harvest them all, they will not fit in the ground. They will be stored in a corner of the yard. The Allen's yard is surrounded by a tattered wall, but it's not small. There's a place to store the harvest and just enough room to play knightly games with Krsna.
I filled the baskets with potatoes. Because the basket was so big, it was heavier than a six-year-old. I hold it in my hands and lift it. Gerda's eyes widen and she gasps.
Rodin, Teresia, and Gerda don't think Allen has any strength at all. They think he has more than a normal child. I've been playing knightly with Crenna for three years, so I've seen it happen many times, but it's not that kind of kid's move. I've seen glimpses of its power in its daily chores.
But what I've seen are only glimpses of it. I walked with my little feet dug into the ground, softer than the tilled earth, softer than a footpath.
They're light. It's a good thing I upped the ante.
More cards in the holder, which originally had a bias toward grass F to increase the magic power, are now more of a beast. I changed my card allocation to agricultural mode.
Allen no longer suppresses or hides his status. He decides to go into full throttle and work the fields. With a mother and a brother to carry, you may not be able to talk about that. You have a swordsman in your neighborhood, and even though he's a bit conspicuous, he's a peasant with no talent.
You'll be able to find out if he's a good fit. You'll have to adjust the distribution of the cards carefully. Besides...
Look at a corner of the field.
"Is that field your father's field too?
Seeing the field with the grass growing to Allen's height while carrying a basket full of potatoes .
Yeah, that's right. Next year we'll be pulling weeds and plowing.
It's fallow land that hasn't been touched this year.
(I guess it was my father's farm. The grass is dead and the area is decent.
A serf can't own land, but the allotted land is. Basically, it's passed down from generation to generation.
I was leaving the potatoes in a corner of the house's garden, when someone came to Allen's house.
"Excuse me, is Rodin here?
"Oh? Isn't that the mayor?
The chief of the village, Deboji, arrived. I recognized his face because I had seen him close by several times during appraisal rituals and banquets. Gerda reacts to the chief in a rather angry voice.
Oh, it's Gerda. I heard that Rodin has regained consciousness. Here, you're coming too.
The mayor was not alone. They brought a young man with them. He was about fifteen years old. I've never seen Allen before.
He's coming in through the gate. He doesn't hesitate to come in, which makes me think there's a difference in status between a village chief and a serf.
As Allen and Gerda stare at you, the chief approaches the front door.
Did you hear from the chief?
Teresia comes out of the dirt floor. I notice something different about her voice. I don't know if it's the first time Allen has heard it.
Mom seems upset. Well, if the chief hadn't told me to let the commoners in, Dad wouldn't have been in that situation.
"I've heard that Rodin has regained consciousness. I'm here to see you badly injured.
Then he shows you a small barrel the young man brought with him and some food.
He's in the back.
Apparently, I'm not going to tell you to go home. I'll show you to their bedroom with Rodin.
(What's happening to this young man, he's shaking.)
He is a young man who is shaking with fear.
You, the chief is here to see you.
The young man has left his gifts in the living room and is on his way to his bedroom. Rodin wakes up on the futon and watches him.
Oh, I'm so sorry I got you into this mess!
The young man sitting on the floor bowed his head deeply and apologized. He seemed to be the commoner youth who had caused the serious injury.
Huh? You're right. Watch out next time if you're still going to do it. They're all playing for their lives.
"Huh? Ah, yes.
It was an unexpected answer for the young man. He returns to his bare face for a moment.
Then you take care of yourself and the chief leaves. It seems the young commoner couldn't come alone, so he came with you. The two return through the dirt.
Allen and Gerda are going to dig potatoes, so they watch and return to the field.
Gerda, was that man there?
"Hmm? Oh yeah.
That's what happened. It was a boa hunt where a rookie commoner, who had been made a wallflower, buckled down and got into a melee. The young man sat down in fear and the boa approached him.
Rodin was badly wounded defending that fellow. Yeah, you know, but you can't tell people that. He doesn't like it when people talk like that.
Walking along the footpath, you pass some serfs. They must have heard somewhere that he had regained consciousness, or he had something in his hand. They're people going to visit him.
The sight made him very proud, Allen.