Luca Salonen Eskola’s Activity Report — Last Part
Ninth year. Now that we can communicate through words, I could understand many things about Miruporon.
I learned that she was unexpectedly talkative. Well, it might be since we are ‘friends’.
It seems that Miruporon hunts on holidays.
Today, we talked about the cat the Bergholms raise.
Cat fur is different from dog fur or reindeer fur apparently.
She was talking about it so happily, so I asked if she wanted to raise a cat.
Miruporon shook her head. She said that there are only lynxes (ilves) in the area.
It seems that there are stray cats in the city, but here cats cannot live without human assistance so they can’t be found here.
She looked a little disappointed.
Then, Miruporon made a request. She asked if she can touch my hair since they’re soft like cat fur.
I got angry and told her to not treat my hair like cat fur, but she looked dejected so I specially let her touch them.
She looked happy as she said that they feel better than cat fur.
I couldn’t help it so I told her that she can sometimes touch them.
Tenth year. Maybe because a child was born to my older brother and his wife, father is pestering me to marry.
He demanded me to go to the port to sell the fish from the lakes and find a wife.
People around my age had all married too.
Even though I was over twenty, I did not feel like marrying.
Today, I ended up fighting with my old father again.
I hunt animals every day, and deposit the money made from selling the fur to the house.
What’s his problem! I felt rage welling up inside me.
My older brother has triplets. The house is at peace.
However, father said that it’s not the case. No idea what he’s talking about.
In the end, mother had to intervene and mediate.
Since it was almost time to meet up with Miruporon, I left father to mother.
Miruporon was quietly waiting at the entrance of the fort.
She had a basket, so I asked what it was. She replied that she made lunch. To be eaten in the forest, I think.
The autumn forest had been dyed vivdly.
A few days later, a thin layer of snow will form on the ground.
There aren’t many days left for us to go out in a picnicking mood.
In the forest, we hunted a rabbit, a duck, and boars, two of each kind.
The small prey were placed in bags, and the boars were hauled on to sleighs before we took a break by the river.
The meal was fish pie and fruit juice. Miruporon made them herself.
When I told her that they were delicious, she looked pleased.
After that, we talked until the sun started setting.
Miruporn said that I looked enervated today.
It’s probably because I had a fight with father.
Since it would be useless to avoid the question as she would persistently ask, I only told her that I fought with my father.
She then suddenly asked for my hand, so I held out my hand.
Miruporon started writing something on my palms with my fingers.
When I asked what it was, she murmured, “Arafuni nid.” Spider’s nest, it meant.
—— Like how a spider steadily builds its nest, your efforts will eventually fruition and receive recognition.
She told me that it was a spell holding such a wish.
Those words reached my heart.
After hearing Miruporon talk, I realised it. I realised that I wanted to be gain recognition from father.
I felt like crying for some reason.
Eleventh year. Miruporon’s father is famous for being the master hunter of bears.
He even shares the meat when asked. He’s a kind man unlike what his appearance suggests.
That family assimilated into the surroundings after they moved into the village.
It might also be thanks to Miruporon’s kind mother.
Meanwhile, I started doing something in secret. That was to hunt a bear living in the forest.
Well, of course no results yet.
I saw scratches on trees and droppings with bear fur, but I never met the real thing.
How can I meet a bear in the forest, I agonised in frustration.
As to why I am aiming for a bear, I am planning to propose to Miruporon.
If I don’t get recognised by that father, I won’t be able to marry her.
If I get a splendid bear, her father will accept the marriage.
I had such a plan, so I was looking for an opportunity to hunt a bear.
Recently, maybe because they want to become friendly with Miruporon, other men in the village started asking many things about them.
Of course, I did not provide any information.
If I keep loitering around like this, I’ll lose her to someone.
Thus, I have to hunt a bear quickly.
The sky grew dark.
I have to go back home now. My family will start worrying about me.
However, there was a rare tailwind.
I felt as though the forest was cheering for me.
The echoing of the leaves felt different from usual.
There was something.
A little more, I said to myself and proceeded forward.
Then, I could see something flashing from far away.
The two sources of light were like fire.
The figure of the beast got clearer.
It was a white bear.
I had heard the rumours, but I was surprised that it actually exists.
A white bear unlike the ones living on ice, a mystical existence, the master of the forest, or so it was told in the family traditions.
White bear meat makes a house prosper, they said.
If I hunt that white bear, my marriage will be accepted.
The bear seemed to have noticed me as well. It suddenly showed hostility and ran over to me.
I quickly aimed my rifle.
The weak points of a bear are its head, neck, and chest. My opponent was heading here on all fours.
First shot. I aimed for the base of its neck.
The bear dodged the bullet at the last moment.
I quickly ejected the empty cartridge and aimed again.
Four remaining bullets. I have to finish it by then.
The white bear roared as it charged at me.
My fingers trembled from fear.
It hit the leg, but it merely slowed it a little. It was far from a lethal wound.
The bear was approaching fast.
It was a very large one. I could feel sweat pouring out from my body.
If I run away, I will definitely be killed. The only way to survive now is to kill the bear here.
The third bullet hit its head.
However, the bear did not stop moving.
Bears have thick layers of fat. Even if the bullet hits a vital point, it may not stop moving, I recall grandfather Bergholm saying that.
That’s why bear hunting is dangerous.
I’m an idiot.
Doing this to marry a woman.
I clenched my eyes and consoled myself.
But then, I suddenly thought of the spider’s nest.
—— Like how a spider steadily builds its nest, your efforts will eventually fruition and receive recognition.
When I thought that, I became surprisingly calm.
Nothing frightened me.
When I opened my eyes, the bear was on its hind legs, with one foreleg raised high in the air, revealing its sharp claws.
Its vital point, the chest, was exposed, so my mouth curled up.
I fired off the final two bullets into its chest.
The bear flinched and shook greatly.
The moment I checked the impact of the bullets, I was struck by a great shock.
My vision darkened.
◇ ◆ ◇
I woke from the sound of someone’s voice.
My hand was gripped tightly, that I felt that my fingers hurt a little.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the ceiling of my house.
The person next to me was Miruporon. Her face was in a tragic state, bloated and reddened from sobbing.
Why are you crying? When I said that, she looked very surprised.
Then, she started crying loudly.
I don’t get it.
Hearing her loud voice, people came in.
They were my parents and Miruporon’s parents.
Mother ran over to me. “Don’t go,” she said.
No, I’m alive!!
It seems that she thought that I died.
When I asked for the story, it seems like that I was found under a large white bear. I was moved to my home, and I was unconscious for three days.
Miruporon’s father found me, apparently.
He properly collected the bear after bringing me here. Indeed, was all I could say.
On the other hand, when I honestly told father that I was at the forest to hunt for a bear, I was hit by father.
He scolded that I was a thankless son.
Both father and mother were crying.
I prostrated on the floor and apologised that I did a foolish thing.
Father told me to do whatever I want, and left the room without saying anything more. Mother said that she was glad that I am alive. Also, she told me to leave father to her.
Father’s reaction was the worst, but inside I had a sense of accomplishment.
Though I wouldn’t dare to do it again.
Miruporon was sticking close to me, not letting go.
Even though when I squirmed and said that we were in front of our parents, she did not budge.
Miruporon’s parents stared at us in silence.
I mustered up my courage and asked for Miruporon’s hand in marriage.
The words didn’t get through, but father nodded in agreement.
Next to him, her mother was smiling happily.
When I asked Miruporon if they understood, she blushed and said, “Probably.”
Like so, our marriage was accepted.
Twelfth year. After many events, I was able to marry Miruporon.
Father coolly allowed the marriage. Mother looked happy too.
Today was a day of celebration.
Father-in-law gave me something in a leather bag.
It was the white bear fur that father-in-law always wore.
He gestured for me to put it on.
I wonder if he wants me to wear it to the banquet.
It was something that was used for a long time, but it had a beautiful shine.
I wondered if it was really alright, but he continued to gesture to put it on, so I received it thankfully.
I attended the banquet while wearing the white bear fur.
When I was guided to the reserved seat, all the attendees had animal masks so I was surprised.
Miruporon was wearing the fur from the white bear I had hunted. It was somewhat embarrasing.
Somewhere, I heard someone jeer, “Yo, white bear couple!”
The one who made fun of us was the lord.
The lord and his wife had grey wolf fur on as a set. Even children had wolf fur.
Just where did everyone get those furs?
I burst into laughter from the strange sight.
Miruporon pointed to her friend.
Aina and her husband had lynx (ilves) fur on. They probably sewed that with other fur. Nice handiwork, I mused in awe.
When I looked next to me, Miruporon looked happy.
That was the happiest day of my life. Such was the memory of that day.
◇ ◆ ◇
Few years later.
—— The morning of the Rango family begins early.
Every morning, my lovely wife wakes me up…… not.
The one who shook me violently to wake me up was my wife’s father, Teoporon Ponu Rango.
He’s a mysterious man who bears the upper half of his body all year round.
When I opened my eyes, he was holding out his spear, which meant that we should go out hunting.
When I was a newlywed, I screamed many times from my father-in-law standing at the bedside with a weapon.
Few years of marriage made me used to it now.
Father-in-law draped on the bear fur hanging by the entrance. It was made from the fur of a brown bear that he had hunted recently. I put on the fur coat that was hanging next to it.
While I was putting on my boots, father-in-law silently watched me tie the shoelaces with a soft look.
And that father-in-law is barefoot all throughout the year. He never even had frostbites either. Just what kind of body does he have, I wondered.
We went out together, but we headed to separated places.
Father-in-law uses a spear while I hunt with a gun.
It couldn’t be helped since our methods are different. The reason is not only that. Father-in-law aims for bears.
It was not just once or twice that I got scared after following him to his hunt. Bears are dangerous, yet father-in-law did not falter a bit and killed them with only a spear.
I went deeper into the snowy forest with a dog.
During the morning, I caught a rabbit and two ptarmigans.
When I returned home, father-in-law had already finished butchering a large boar that he had caught.
I don’t have any plans to compete with my superhuman father-in-law.
Even so, it always vexes me.
As I was placing the prey I caught in a container and was moving to the storage for maturation, mother-in-law ran out of the house with great vigour.
“Serious!” she shouted as she grabbed my sleeves and tried to drag me inside.
Mother-in-law did her best to learn the language, but she couldn’t improve to the level of my wife. There are many times I don’t get what she wants to say.
First, I asked her to calm down and explain what was so serious.
After catching her breath, mother-in-law said, “Baby, about to come.”
Upon hearing that, father-in-law immediately let go of his spear and headed inside. I ran towards the doctor.
It was before the consultation hours, but I knocked regardless.
The doctor who peeked out reeked of alcohol already in the morning. It’s the worst.
The doctor peeked out while rubbing his eyes. “Wha~t’s wrong? Groom of the Poron family,” he said.
Who are you calling groom of the Poron family! The family name is Rango!
When I told him the proper family name, he called me Lucaporon this time.
I don’t have ‘poron’ in my name!! But then I realised it was no time to be complaining about such things.
I asked the doctor to come to the house because a child was about to be born.
I also asked the ladies that promised to help with the childbirth.
Thank to my struggle, no, thanks to my wife’s efforts, a healthy child was born.
After everyone else was gone, I told her that she did well as words of encouragement.
My wife said “Thank you” to me for some reason.
When I asked why she was thanking me, she replied that it was because she was so happy. I got an inexplicable feeling and grasped my wife’s hands.
My younger self could not have imagined that Miruporon and I would be celebrating childbrith as a couple while holding hands.
—— Thank you Miruporon. I’m happy too.
It was the moment where I was finally being honest.
◇ ◆ ◇
The next day, father-in-law was asking the lord for a favour.
He requested the lord to name the newborn child.
The lord asked me in secret.
“Hey, Luca. Are you fine with me deciding it?” he said. I told him that I didn’t mind if father-in-law said that.
Why do we men have to be whispering in secret, I replied as I pushed away the monster lord who was still looking young.
The monster lord asked, “Would you like something-poron after all?”
Don’t ask me!! Think normally!!
Later, the lord bestowed the name of Mishka to our newborn child.
It means cub in a foreign language, apparently.
My family was happy, saying that it was a good name.
Personally, I was happy that it didn’t have –poron in it.
 Arafuni (アラフニ) showed up as spider in Greek (αράχνη (aráchni)) while nido (ニド) showed up as nest in Spanish and Italian. It was confusing, so I left it as the rōmaji readings.