Chapter 22: Not Alone
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
After we returned home, I asked how she got so close with the women of the village. She replied that they got friendly while they were talking.
However, leaving aside the young women who were used to foreigners, I couldn’t help but wonder at how older women at her mother’s age easily opened up to her.
Also, we started the tourism business only a few decades ago.
It’s something that can’t be helped, so the topic was over then.
The next day, when I turned in the completed baby bear figures after the wax dried, the owner lady told me the story of how Sieglinde-ism formed.
Sieg’s hobby is taking strolls every morning.
Meanwhile, it seems that many things happened.
“The lady at Holm-san’s place, her husband hurt his back.”
When the lady was trying to remove the snow from the roof, Sieg passed by. She then offered to remove the snow herself. She even did so until the husband’s back healed.
“She came everyday to remove the snow, and when the lady asked her name to thank her, she just said, ‘I’m not anyone great to name myself’ and valiantly left.”
Other than that, she helped people with chopping wood, drawing water, and even walked dogs for others. Though Sieg was being humble, she did help all the working ladies on her stroll.
“I see. So that’s why everyone’s her follower.”
“This is what happened. Plus she’s a hunk.”
“Though she’s a woman.”
“Everyone knows, I think everyone’s just feeling yearnful.”
Indeed, work in the morning is tough. Most men do not work in the morning, so women do the work in the morning. Sieg might have been a healing factor for them.
“By the way, I wonder what happened between the daughter from Bergholm-san’s place and Sieglinde-san.”
I could somewhat guess how Sieg and Aina met. Some time ago, Sieg mentioned at breakfast that she helped a woman that was being chased by a boar. Isn’t that Aina? I guessed.
In addition, Sieg did not say that she was there, and was thinking about telling her or not.
In this village, women can assist with catching reindeers, and although it’s limited to small animals they sometimes hunt as well. However, that is usually only done during emergencies, such as when the head of the house has collapsed from illness or injury.
I did not hear any news of Bergholm family’s head falling from illness or injury.
I usually keep hearing such news from visiting merchants.
In that house, there are no men in the prime of their life. Aina’s father died early, and she is living with her mother and her grandparents.
She is the only daughter, but because of her strong personality she did not care much about marriage. From their circumstances, I feel that it’s better if she married quickly, but since the person in question has no plans to I can’t help it.
Though there is only an elderly man there, her grandfather is the best hunter in the village. Thus, there is no need for Aina for hunt, but since he might have gotten injured or sick so I decided to visit them out of worry.
However, it turned out that I was unduly worried.
I coincidentally saw Aina’s grandfather haul back a large boar back on his reindeer sleigh.
Seeing her sneak about, I talked to her from behind her.
“What are you doing there?”
In her hands, there were an old-looking bow and handmade arrows. It was certain that Aina was using old hunting goods.
“Aina, your grandfather’s healthy, why are you trying to go out hunting?”
“I-it’s not like you need to know, right!?”
“Just a while ago, I saw your grandfather hauling back a nice boar, you know?”
When I said those things, Aina shot a ferocious glare at me.
And then she vented out her anger on me.
“As if the lord would know my feelings!”
Aina threw the bow and arrows on the ground and ran off.
I couldn’t chase after her. Teenage girls are difficult. She wouldn’t listen even if I tried to persuade her.
Even though I still felt clouded, I returned home.
“I was thinking of going out to get you.”
Sieg was waiting for my return on the porch. Since I normally return straight away after turning in the goods at the store, she was worried that I was late.
“It started snowing.”
Sieg gently brushed off the snow off the shoulders.
“Nothing, I just thought that it is an impossible hope to want to be happy without taking everyone else into consideration.”
“That can’t be helped.”
The elderly people staunchly reject changing their way of life. However, the young people wish for change.
Sieg said that time will solve it.
“If there are any families having trouble, I want to support them.”
“Yes, of course. But don’t overexert yourself.”
“It’s not a matter that you should take it all on yourself.”
After that, Sieg brewed me some coffee.
Even my heart warmed back up, so I thanked her giving me the strength to work again.
The seasons changed, and even here spring visited.
Sadly, even though it’s spring, the snow didn’t melt yet.
The women of the village all go out to the flea market in the nearby port city.
There you can find processed goods made out of reindeer antlers, fur hats, shoes and coats, and also smoked meat.
Even among those, the relatively cheap birch cups and the crafts made out of reindeer leather are popular among the tourists who crossed the sea to come here.
Since it was the first time Sieg came to the market, we decided that we should sell goods together.
We’re selling wooden cups, spoons, and even a wooden carving of an eagle I made. I also laid out the bracelets Sieg made and the embroidered handkerchiefs.
When I attracted customers and Sieg faintly smiled, the goods sold quickly. A little after lunchtime, most of the goods sold out.
“Amazing, we only have three left.”
“This is a surprise. Normally it takes about two days to sell everything.”
Was it all Sieglinde effect, or was it because we worked together?
Either way, I felt relieved that I did not have to pay the fee for setting up stall on the second day.
“I’m getting a bit hungry. I’ll go buy something to eat.”
I said and went to food carts.
This year there were many more people. Rather, it almost felt like it was the most I’ve ever seen here.
Wading through the crowd, I arrived at the street where there were food carts.
I first headed to the stall that sold pork sausage (makkara). The direct fired sausage on skewer is not slit open, so the skin was crisp and bouncy.
I ordered two, and received them, wrapped in paper with mustard on them.
Next, I headed to a food cart that sold bread.
When I was thinking of buying something that we didn’t usually eat, I saw something piled.
Named ‘a slap on the ear (korvapuusti)’, this bread is made by applying plenty of butter on the surface and sprinkling sugar and spices. The outside is crispy, and its unique sweet spice smell tickles the nose. Thinking of buying some as souvenir for the Rangos, I bought about twenty nice sized loaves.
Finally, I bought salmon soup (Lohikeitto). We always had smoked fish. So when the shopkeeper said that it’s made from fresh salmon, I was immensely attracted.
The shopkeeper said that it’s made using milk. Since milk is hard to get in the village, it’s a luxury. The stock is made using seasonal root vegetables and fresh salmon, with plenty of cheese and spices. The soup was being boiled slowly while steam was rising. I bought enough for two people.
From buying food, both my hands were full. I decided to buy the drinks later and returned through a less crowded route.
“Oh, it’s sold out.”
“It just sold out.”
Even the spoons that weren’t selling sold out. On the now empty table, I laid out the food I bought.
“I’ll go buy the drinks.”
Without waiting for my reply, she went out. A few minutes later, she returned holding coffee for two.
Sold in bottles, the coffee was full of milk and sugar. It warmed the body soothingly.
All the food we bought were tasty. I thought for a moment that it’s quite nice going out together with Sieg to eat, but since tourists will start coming for auroras we will be getting busy. There is no time to laze around.
After resting, when I stood up, Sieg grabbed my wrist.
“What is it?”
Sieg was searching for something in her pocket. When I wondered what was up, she started coiling something up on my wrist.
It was a traditional ornament made with reindeer leather, embedded with tin. For the clamp, it was made out of a reindeer antler.
“Sieg, this is?”
“My first good product.”
Sieg gifted me with a handmade bracelet.
I was overwhelmed by joy, and I ended up standing there without being able to say anything.
Seeing me like that, Sieg explained that she was still poor at it, so I shook my head in denial.
“Sieg, thank you so much. I’m happy.”
“Is that so.”
To give her a kiss of thanks, I brought my face closer, but I remembered that she made a troubled face just before the lips touched.
So I stopped, and paid a visit to her ear.
“Erm, Sieg, can I kiss you?”
Wonderfully ignored. As I thought, it’s not possible. I hung my head.
When I was about to look up and laugh it off, she opened her mouth.
“——It’s fine if it’s back home.”
From her unexpected permission, I was shaken up.
I ended up going back home in this restless state.