Chapter 30: With Grandfather!
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
The next morning.
When I went to the living room-cum-dining room, grandfather and Sieg were lively chatting together. From that, I realised that it wasn’t a dream that grandfather came.
Grandfather, jolly from chatting with a lovely lady from the morning, said, “Today, should I get guided through the village?” deciding on today’s plan. I had many things to do, I could only reply, “Yes, gladly~.”
“Ah, grandfather, Sieg can’t come with us.”
“What did you say!?”
“Today, the women in the village are gathering for dyeing.”
No, even if you puff out your cheeks like that……
He might not be sober yet. Sieg looked troubled too.
“Erm, grandfather-in-law, I will be back in the evening.”
“Well, it can’t be helped. I did visit too suddenly this time.”
Surprisingly, grandfather coolly accepted it. He seemed to have taken an interest dyeing, so he was listening to that from Sieg.
The women are dyeing linen. These are made from a type of plant growing in the forest called flax.
Flax grows in large numbers just before summer, so we go out to harvest them.
The flowers and the leaves are removed, and only the stalks are placed in a special liquid for a month to get the fibre.
After this step, the stalks are washed then dried. The stalks are then pounded with a stick, the made into threads with a tool that looks like a wooden comb.
Finally, they’re spun into completed products with machines.
This year, they’re using the linen threads from last year, which the women made in between household chores.
The dyeing materials are also flowers harvested from the forest.
In this season, beautiful purple flowers bloom, so those are boiled down for colour and then used as dye.
Finally, using those threads, they make many products to be sold. Linen products are sold at high prices, but it takes a lot of work for that. It even takes a whole year to make something.
The previous years, I did hard manual labour in exchange for a neighbour lady making some linen for me, but this time I left it to Sieg.
Thus, after having breakfast, my wife went to the village work shed.
“Now then, grandfather, do you want to rest before going out?”
“No, take me outside right now.”
“As you wish sir~”
Since both grandfather and I were dressed adequately for going out, we went out as is. The servants followed behind, so it’s reassuring in case anything happened.
“Ah, can you wait a moment please?”
“What is it?”
“Since we’re going to the reindeers’ forest.”
After saying that, I went into the hut. Now, the wild animals had babies, so they were at their ferocious stage. Just in case, I have to bring my knife and my gun.
Seeing me armed, grandfather opened his eyes wide in surprise.
“There are bears with cubs. Also, they just woke from hibernation so they will be very hungry too.”
Thought the mysterious white bears don’t hibernate, the grey bears do. Mother bears give birth during their hibernation. Then in spring, they go into very savage state to search for food and to raise its cubs.
Their senses dull too, that they sometimes even come near the village for food. Then there’s the accidental encounter. Both the bear and the human are like, ‘Oh no, to meet at such a place!’ but it’s usually the human that is killed. Bears with cubs have the strongest fighting ability in the year.
“So, shall we not go to the forest?”
“As if I’d have my schedule deterred by some bear!”
“Grandfather, it’s dangerous if you don’t look straight ahead as you walk.”
He was talking while looking behind him with great vigour, but when he looked straight ahead, he came to face Teoporon.
However, fortunately, he was off duty, so he was not wearing his working clothes(?) the white bear fur. He was just a half-naked old man (ossan).
If he was wearing his bear fur, grandfather might have fainted from shock. I sighed that it might have been dangerous.
“Someone working here.”
“Why isn’t he wearing anything on top.”
Even as we talked about things like that, I started guiding him around.
First, we headed to the reindeers’ forest. Just in case, I went with three dogs.
“Here past this fence, we put the reindeers out to pasture……”
I explained to grandfather about the enormous size.
“The important reindeers are nowhere to be seen.”
“They come if you call them.”
We did not go inside the fence. Since it will be a big trouble if he gets stabbed by the antlers.
When I blew the whistle, my white reindeer came. And it even had four female reindeers in tow.
“Ho, quite beautiful. Are white reindeers rare?”
“Well, they are quite rare globally, but in this forest there are quite a bit. Though white deers and bears might be rare.”
He asked as he looked at the fur. I asked him to put up with the fur back since reindeers are sensitive animals. Even though they are domesticated, they are not pets so we can’t touch them freely.
“So they’re different from horses.”
Since he was satisfied, I let the reindeers go free.
Next, we headed to the fortress protecting the village.
“Fine thing. Was this once an important strategic point?”
“No, it’s just there to avoid harm from beasts.”
Since there are no surviving documents about this fortress, I don’t know the details. What I know is that long time ago the damage from beasts were too great that it was made to protect the villagers. Back then, bears and wolves caused the most damage. Nowadays, we can easily exterminate any wolverines and wolves that wander down to the village.
“In addition, it’s rumoured to have been built with funds from the national treasury.”
“So the foolish king back then ordered this to be built. Unbelievable.”
It’s one of the seven mysteries of the village.
Then I guided him through the empty village.
The children are practicing catching reindeers with snares, and the women are busy dyeing.
The men doing variety of things, like making traditional crafts, fishing in the rivers and lakes, or tending the fields.
“This is the only souvenir shop and store in the village.”
Grandfather looked interested, so we went inside.
“Welcome. Oh it’s just my lord.”
Having passed the busy season, there were no merchandise.
It would work if we turned in handicrafts now and then instead of selling them all at the flea market after the polar nights, but since the flea market was equivalent to a festival that happened once a year, everyone was looking forward to it.
Inside, there were plenty of goods stocked up. The owner lady uses her husbands carriage to buy vegetables and meat from the port. They’re sold at honest prices unlike the visiting rip-off traders.
“Ah, I’d like to buy two chickens.”
“Thanks as always.”
Both of them were hens. I will be raising them for half a year for their eggs. I bought two for Sieg and me.
“The cages are sold separately, want them?”
Since the hens seemed docile, I held them in both my arms by my sides.
Though they weren’t anything special, grandfather looked at them strangely.
“When will you eat them?”
“Before winter comes.”
Once it starts snowing, it’s impossible to raise livestock so it can’t be helped.
The chickens bawked about.
Finally, we arrived at the village’s landmark.
“The Spirit Shieitii.”
Grandfather stared at the Spirit stone with a quizzical look.
“Do you believe in it?”
Still holding up the chickens, I kneeled down on one knee and prayed.
—— I pray that the village will remain peaceful, that my family will be healthy, and that we will be able to continue to enjoy the blessings of nature.
There was no way that I would hear the spirit’s reply.
I changed the topic.
“……Few decades ago, my deceased grandfather suddenly removed the Spirit stone, causing a huge commotion.”
“It seems that your maternal grandfather was an eccentric man.”
The previous lord, Rikhard Salonen Levontret denied Spirit worship and suggested a new way of life.
I slowly began talking about my maternal grandfather.
The author suddenly changed from Levantoretto to Levontoretto. I checked the later chapters, and the naming stays that way. Oh, and, to any Finns, please help me with the names.