Bonus Chapter: Extra — Afterstory
My room was taken over by father, and in was infested with books. There were books even on the bed. I was at a loss for words.
Within that, I found an old and used book. It was something like a travel guide written by an adventurer.
That adventurer went to many places and interacted with many peoples. What interested me the most was a hunting people called ‘Inuits’ that also lived in the extremely cold regions like us.
Like this village, they lived in the arctic circle but it is recorded that they live somewhere even colder.
Their prey are animals that live under the ice.
Their main source of food, seals, are shown to be long and slender. Seals are mammals, breathing through their lungs. They come above the ice to breath in air, so they hunt by aiming for that moment.
Other than that, narwhals, dolphins that have horns (to be exact, a fang protruding from the forehead) are also hunted. They too are hunted when they come above the ice to breath. Depending on the region, they hunt polar bears, rabbits or reindeers.
As for the culture, there are aspects that are similar, and those that are not. It seemed that cherishing children was similar all throughout the world.
I was most surprised about their sense of virtue.
When they go out for long periods to hunt, they leave their children and wives to other men. Then, if a husband does not come back from the hunt, the wife and children become the man’s. Of course, hunting does risk one’s life, but it’s hard to believe that such a culture existed.
That was plenty surprising, but it also stated that it was not surprising for a husband to come back and be greeted by a pregnant wife. It seemed that such a thing was not that much of a big deal. Such custom came out of the thought that children are the treasure of the whole tribe.
“Or so I read.”
“To think there would be a place colder than this village.”
Before dinner, I spent time with Sieg by talking about the ‘Inuits’.
Arno, maybe satisfied from getting milk, was looking up here.
“Though I don’t think I want to leave Sieg and Arno to anyone else.”
“Well, the world is wide.”
“Well, it’s not easy to accept cultural differences.”
“Sieg, was it hard for you as well?”
“No, come to think of it, not really.”
I was worried if she holding many things in, but I felt relieved that she wasn’t.
While we were chatting, dinner was delivered to the table.
“Thank you for waiting~”
Mother served the dishes.
On days when Ruruporon was not here, mother prepared dinner for the day. When Sieg and I tried to help, she said, “Leave it to me~” and chased us out. Not just Ruruporon, it seems that people don’t like others messing with their cooking.
I put Arno to sleep in his cradle and then sat down.
Mother learned cooking from all over the world and was enjoying our reactions. The village women were also interested in foreign cooking methods, that she was opening a cooking class once a week.
Today, there were only dishes that I saw for the first time. Mother joyously started explaining.
“Today, we have shepherd’s salad~”
Shepherd’s salad is a refreshing salad, made from many summer vegetables with a dressing made from herbs, oil, pepper and citrus juice. It seems that it was named so because shepherds ate this at ranches.
“Then we have~ rustic red bean soup and wrapped reindeer meat and mushrooms!”
The red bean soup had a simple taste. It was good because the beans had a subtle sweetness. The wrapped dish was a top grade dish, made with a thin wrap, made from mixing flour with water, and herbs. The reindeer meat and mushrooms are wrapped in those and grilled. When I put a knife, it sliced easily. When I asked how the reindeer meat got so soft, she answered that she put the meat in yoghurt, a fermented dairy product. Apparently, this method is used often in foreign countries. Yoghurt was also used as sauce. It had a sour taste and deepened the meat’s flavour. It was a refreshing sauce that I never had before.
“Mother, what’s this?”
I said as I spread a black paste from a jar. It had an exotic flavour, but I quite liked its texture. I was curious as to what it was, so I asked mother.
“That’s cannabis spread~”
I heard her reply when I was swallowing it, and choked from hearing what it was.
“Ritz, that is made from the fruit, not from the leaves or the stalks. It doesn’t have poison.”
“I-I see. What a surprise!”
It seems that cannabis is a common ingredient in Sieg’s country.
“Ritchan, is it not good?”
“No, it is tasty.”
I fixed my posture and continued eating.
For dessert, we had raspberries that Sieg picked from the forest. It was sweet and sour.
The herb tea mother made from plants picked from the forest was handmade, but it was strangely bitter. I endured it thinking that it was medicine for my body.
“Mother-in-law, it was very delicious again today.”
“Good, good~. I’m glad it’s to Linde-chan’s liking!”
I was a bit worried about living together with mother, but it seems that there won’t be a problem. It seems that she is on friendly terms with Sieg as well.
After dinner, I bathed Arno.
First, I washed myself and then asked Sieg for a small bath for Arno.
The bath for the baby had a perfect temperature. Miruporon prepared it.
First, I put a towel on my lap and put Arno on top of that. I started from his hair, then washed his body, hands, feet and back. Does it tickle~? When I asked that, he giggled. Finally, when I put him in the bath, he looked so comfortable and pleased that I felt healed as well.
Looks like he’s warmed up enough, I thought and lifted him up. I properly dried him with a towel and put on baby clothes that were warmed up beforehand.
“A warm baby, coming right up!”
Arno was handed over to Sieg and moved to his bedroom by his mother.
When I came out from the bathroom, Sieg handed me a towel.
Sieg and mother already bathed. Then all that’s left is to sleep.
I changed to my pyjamas and headed to my room.
“Ah, Ar-chan’s asleep now.”
Mother, who was gently patting Arno to sleep, said joyfully.
Mother said that she wanted to take care of Arno at night as well, but she doesn’t have milk so she couldn’t. I’m already very thankful that she’s helping us out during the daytime.
She disappointedly left Arno’s bedside. She bid goodnight and left the room. After that, Sieg came in.
She smiled faintly from seeing her son sleep peacefully and climbed into bed.
The moment Sieg rolled over here, I embraced her.
“We’re finally alone.”
We couldn’t really be lovey dovey in front of mother, so I could only touch Sieg at night.
Well, I was thinking that I should stop being so lovey dovey to Sieg since I’m a father, but at night the joy was double because I was holding back, so this is alright, I suppose.
“Arno, I think he can soon sleep until morning.”
Breastfeeding was done at least ten times a day. It’s easy to know since he cries when he’s hungry.
Day and night did not matter. So the mother usually suffered from lack of sleep. At the least, I woke up when Arno was crying for the diaper.
“It’s hard, raising a baby.”
“But there’s something very fulfilling about it.”
Indeed. Babies are cute, and it’s fun to watch how he was growing as well.
“We might have about four more children.”
“There you go again~”
I couldn’t imagine that I would be surrounded by five children sometime soon.
There’s no telling what might happen in life.