Chapter 08: A Warm House
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
In the middle of the town, there is a large stone surrounded by trees.
“Sieg, this stone here is the spirit of this village.”
The surrounding snow was cleaned by the elderly people and on the spirit stone there are offerings of fur and silver jewellery.
The Spirit Shiieiti.
(TN: Any good ideas? Rōmaji for now.)
For us who were scorned as ‘the chased ones’, our indigenous faith acts as a pillar of support for many of us living in this harsh environment.
I kneeled down on one knee to give a prayer of thanks for a safe trip. Sieg to did the same to show her respect.
The name Lappland was a derogatory term meaning ‘land of the chased ones’, scorning the people here. The elderly people loathe this term, and despise outsiders for taking away their nomadic life. Then they started calling ourselves ‘Sami’.
Having been robbed of their only property the reindeers and forced out of from the land to deal with the reindeers, the villagers did not let strangers approach and lived by their own strength.
Having settled a few centuries ago, the Sami people were said to have been living by the teachings of the Spirit.
However, two generations ago, my grandfather realised that this closed society was not good, so he argued for a new way of life, leading to our current lifestyle.
The elderly people dislike this change, but there are many in the village tired of the old customs.
My grandfather said that if we were to continue this secluded life, we would eventually face extinction.
There were such circumstances, and also there was the thing that we must prioritise accepting foreigners.
When we passed the village, the scenery changed to a white snow-covered forest of pine trees again. As we walked while lighting the way with a lantern, we could see a two-storey mansion made of red bricks.
It’s small compared to Sieg’s, but it is my proud house.
Opening the fence gate, I showed the way to Sieg.
“Welcome to my house!”
“Aa, I’ll be in your care.”
After we finished our little exchange, I led the reindeer to the hut and filled the feeders with clean water and dry moss.
“This is the hut for the reindeer. Further inside, I slaughter live animals or gut hunted animals——“
While I was explaining the hut to Sieg, the slaughterhouse doors opened vigourously.
A large shadow appeared in the dark.
Seeing Sieg hold her breath, I hurriedly explained.
“Sieg, it’s alright.”
When I directed the lantern towards the object that appeared in front of us, the shape of a person was revealed. Well, it’s not too surprising that Sieg became wary. He was wearing the hide of a white bear on his head.
“He’s Teoporon Ponu Rango. Miruporon’s padau (father)”
“Is that so……”
He cut out the head part and wore it on his head, while the forelegs extended to his arms. Around his waist, a white hide flapped like a cloak, while he was naked except for a thin layer of black trousers. It was a sight that one would definitely say ‘that definitely looks cold’. His body is very big. He is tall, and it was as if he were boasting his muscles.
In addition, the fur he is wearing is one he got from the forest five years ago, when we encountered a bear that was acting as the king of the forest. He took it down with only a spear. At that moment, I really was prepared for death.
This person lives by taking care of the weapons in this house, as well as cleaning and hunting. When I’m hunting large animals, I can’t do it without Teoporon’s help.
“Teoporon, she’s Sieglinde. Wife, not madau (mother).”
“A cherished woman.”
It was futile trying to convey that she was my wife with just actions. I thought was embracing her and kissing her on the cheek, but since there might be fundamental differences in showing affection I decided not to.
Meanwhile, Sieg named herself and pounded her chest with a fist. Teoporon did the same.
As expected of Sieg, should I say. It’s an interesting scene. Even with Teoporon in front of her, she did not look fazed.
Then Teoporon looked this way and spoke.
“Great king. I am happy that you returned safely.”
“……Yeah. Thank you.”
I couldn’t understand what he said, but imagining it to be words of welcome I responded half-heartedly and pounded my chest with a fist. Teoporon nodded with satisfaction.
“And Sieglinde. I give you my welcome as the warrior protecting the great king!!”
It felt as though he was saying whatever he wanted, but since I don’t know the language I just smiled meekly and went inside.
In front of the entrance, we brushed the snow off ourselves and I opened the doors for Sieg and Miruporon. Then I gave her slippers to put on.
In the carpeted room, I felt calm surrounded by the warm atmosphere. I took Sieg to the living room and offered her a chair.
I sighed in relaxation as I settled in.
In the living room, there was a table and chairs for four people, a large fireplace, a large white deer hide on the floor, and mounted trophies of hunted deer heads.
Sieg spent the time silently, looking tired.
A while later, warm drinks were served.
Served in ceramic cups, the red liquid is a drink called glögi, a type of berry juice with spices. It’s an exotic drink, but it warms the body quickly.
I also introduced the person who served the glögi.
“Sieg, she’s Ruruporon. Teoporon’s wife and Miruporon’s mother.”
When I introduced her, she was making a motherly smile.
She’s in charge of cooking, serving great food every day.
But her size is bigger than mine. Still, even with those big arms, she makes the finest food in the town.
“Ruruporon, Sieg is my wife.”
“A special woman.”
“Hm. Got through maybe.”
Ruruporon pounded her chest and held up a finger, telling us that the meal would be ready soon.
“They’re a cheerful and lively family.”
It was a series of hardships, interacting with a familt whose lifestyle was completely different from mine. However, they’re all hard workers, and though it’s a little hard to feel, a warm feeling could be felt.
I didn’t want Sieg to suffer to much from the difference in culture. Because I was thinking of that, I handed to her two books that I had prepared in advance.
“This book has information on the customs and the way of life in this village. The other book is for you to write if there’s anything you think of.”
I told her write things that are too hard to say to my face, or things that she got curious of.
Though my interaction with her was short, I could tell that she was somewhat quiet, having the personality to not say her thoughts out loud.
“An exchange diary, huh.”
“If there’s anything, please don’t hold back.”
While we were talking, Ruruporon came back with food.
She has wild looks as though she might just serve raw meat, but her cooking is exquisite. Furthermore, she prepared the traditional food of this village.
Few carved round wooden bowls were arranged on the table.
A thick reindeer milk soup with smoked salmon, with plenty of spices. It could be said that it’s an extravagant food in this season where we can’t get reindeer milk. We need to buy the milk from merchants for an expensive price.
There were also reindeer skewers with sour sauce made from strawberries picked in summer. The boiled potatoes are served unpeeled, and the tough black barley bread are thinly sliced. We eat them with bird liver kneaded in spices.
The warm cheese was stretchy and tasty. The meat went well with the vegetables as well.
“Sieg, how is it?”
I asked Sieg who was taking a bite out of reindeer meat.
Of the tourists who visited, there were many who disliked reindeer meat.
She slowly chewed on the meat and wiped her mouth elegantly with a napkin. Afterwards, she told me her thoughts.
The first night passed pleasantly and merrily.
I really love these kinds of slow-paced slice of life novels. I just love how it builds up so slowly.
Here is a picture of the Ponu Rango family:
Brrrr that looks cold.