Spring is Coming
Volume 3 — The Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife’s Village, Great Renovation Plan!?
During the polar nights, everyone turns into master artisans.
The men carve wood to make tableware, and make various ornaments out of reindeer antlers.
The women create fine embroidery and tin bracelets.
We call those handicrafts duoji.
On grips and knife handles, pictures are carved in.
Reindeer, snow, sun, cradle, etc.. Meaningful patterns are carved in.
Then when it’s spring, we open stalls at the flea market (kirpputori) and sell things.
During the polar nights, mother becomes full of motivation making bracelets. This year, she seems to be spending the time getting to be friendly with Sieg. How enviable.
I diligently carved wooden cups (kuksa) and wooden bears.
From noon to evening, I work at the store.
I rest three days a week. I thought that I would be alright since I had holidays, but even so I was rather busy.
However, it was a refreshing busyness.
Regardless of gender or age, many villagers as well as soldiers visited the store.
They all gathered at the store and brightened the mood.
I let out joyful screams.
As for the topic of discussion at ‘The Crimson Eagle’, it’s mostly about how the handicrafts are coming along.
People said that they wanted to have an exchange, so I decided to open the store on a holiday and hold something like an exhibition. I’m participating too.
For reference, all the participants, including me, are old guys.
The next day.
Everyone placed their handicrafts on the tables.
This time, we displayed kuksas.
There were dozens of people crowding around tables freely placing their works, so no one could which one was whose. Though of course we know our own ones.
When placed like this, all of them are unique and interesting.
There are ones that are perfectly round, ones that have a lustre, ones that have beautiful handles, ones that took close care for the wood grain patterns, there were none that were alike.
“Hm? There’s one that has a peculiar picture carved onto it.”
The kuksa that was pointed to was mine.
“What, a bird…… is this a hawk?”
“It’s an eagle (kotka).”
Recently, I’ve been carving eagle pictures onto the handles. For me, eagles signify happiness.
Reindeer (poro) are a symbol of wealth. Snow (lumi) means patience. Sun (aurinko) represent the joy of bright life. There are many different wishes melded into the pictures, all depending on the region.
Raptors such as eagles and hawks are valiant creatures that drive away beasts.
Seeing a picture that was used before, everyone seemed interested.
“Come to think of it, there were quite a few tourists buying eagle carvings last year.”
“Aa, I heard about that too.”
They’re probably Sieg’s lady fans.
For the tourist season this year, I’m planning to increase goods with eagle motifs.
I explained the meaning of the eagle picture again.
“To explain, I used my wife as a model, or something like that,”
The crimson eagle that flew from her homeland and landed in a foreign land.
For me, that was the strong and beautiful sun that persisted through the polar nights, a miraculous figure as well as a symbol of happiness.
I presented the thoughts I had about the eagles in front the people.
No one ridiculed me.
They listened sincerely.
Then they said something wonderful.
“Hey, my lord, can I also carve eagles into my handicrafts?”
“No, it’s alright if you don’t want to……”
“Ah, I don’t dislike it. In fact, I’m happy!”
If everyone received the happy blessings of the eagle, I’ll be blissful.
When I put it that way, everyone said that they also wanted to carve eagles.
From this day on, there were many handicrafts with eagles in them.
The gallant eagle was also to the liking of the village men, that they actively carved eagles to their handicrafts.
I had not imagined then that a few years later the eagle of happiness would became a famous local product, and became to symbolise the whole village.
No one knows how life will turn out. This one sentence summarised everything.
As I spent the days busily, the polar nights ended.
For the rest of the winter, I spent the morning and evenings hunting, running the store as well, while desperately making handicrafts at night.
They were extremely dizzying days.
One day, when I woke up, there was a letter by my bedside.
It was from Sieg.
To see what it might be, I lit a lantern and opened it.
It said that she was worried for my health, that I should rest for at least a day.
She also said that it’s painful to see be exhausted.
After reading Sieg’s note, I came to. What should I say, I’m extremely tired.
Why is my body so heavy, when it’s just the morning?
There could be only one answer. I overworked.
It’s probably not just me. Mother and Sieg must be like that too.
Last night, everyone had blank expressions.
I finally realised.
Because I was working too hard, people around me could not rest either.
Furthermore, I didn’t have time to leisurely spend time with my family.
It’s before the prohibition period, so I hunted until the sun set, and thanks to ‘The Crimson Eagle’, I spend all days with dizzying business. Moreover, since it was close to the flea market opening, I was diligently making handicrafts late into the night.
In retrospect, Sieg visited the workshop many times and told me to rest, but I never listened.
Mother-in-law too snapped at me saying that overworking is not good, but I made the same mistake here as well. I have to reflect deeply.
Thankfully, today, ‘The Crimson Eagle’ is resting today.
Last night, the stars in the night sky could be seen so it will be clear today.
Today will be a good day for a picnic.
If that’s decided, I’ll have to prepare packed lunches.
I quickly dressed up and went down to the first floor.
In the kitchen, mother and Ruruporon were making breakfast.
“My, Ritchan, you’re up early.”
“Mum, let’s go on a picnic today!”
I picked up a chunk of smoked meat, a loaf of bread and some jam, and headed for the kitchen.
The smoked meat was sliced thickly and cooked on a skewer by the fireplace. I sliced the bread and spread jam on the slices.
Once the smoked meat was cooked, I made sandwiches with them.
Once the two kinds of bread are packed into the baskets, the packed lunch is complete.
It’s a little poor, but I thought that things like these are good too sometimes.
As for Arno’s portion, mother is making them while making breakfast.
Ten months old now, my son can now have baby food.
While I was packing the lunch in cloth, Sieg, who had Arno in her arms, returned from her morning stroll.
“Ritz, you’re up early.”
Sieg said the same thing as mother.
Do I sleep in that much?
Upon seeing the large packed lunch, she lobbed a question.
“Are you having a picnic with the villagers today?”
“No, no. I’m thinking of going with everyone here.”
I received Arno and laid him in the cradle.
Then, I bowed to Sieg.
“Sieg, thank you.”
“The letter…… I had been working too hard again.”
Sieg looked troubled.
Is she angry, I wondered, but she did not say anything.
“Sorry, making you worry all the time……”
Sieg shook her head.
Then, without saying a word, she patted my shoulders.
I felt as though she was appealing that it was out of sympathy not out of worry.
“Thank you, Sieglinde.”
I was move so much that I could only say that.
I decided that I’ll have regular holidays and spend relaxing days with my family on those days.
Then, we started the fun fun picnic.
To watch out for wild animals, we brought about three dogs and proceeded through the forest full of fresh leaves.
I was taking care of Arno.
I had him in my embrace wrapped in a cloth hanging from my neck and under my arm.
Maybe because he likes the forest stroll, he had a very gentle countenance.
Mother was absorbed in picking flowers and decorating Sieg’s hair with those.
Sieg was becoming even lovelier.
The destination this time is the secret flower field.
In the first spring with her, I was so busy that I did not have the time to go there.
It was relatively close from the village, so I chose the place out of the thought that it won’t be a burden to mother and Sieg.
A few dozen minutes after leaving the village, we arrived at our destination.
Mother let out a voice of excitement. Sieg too was occupied with the scenery in front of her.
There were countless dandelions (voikukka).
The yellow field stretching across the ground could only be described as amazing.
“Ritchan, you know a wonderful place.”
“Yeah. I was thinking of coming here with everyone once it was spring.”
“How long has it been since I last went out to see flowers~”
Seeing her chatting happily, I felt glad that I brought her here.
Mother said that she wants to hug Arno.
While embracing our treasure, she spoke while smiling.
“Arno-san, you can eat dandelions or even use them for medicine~”
It seems that she wants to educate him on the forest. It’s still early, I laughed with Sieg.
Mother walked to the centre of the field of flowers with my son while humming.
A clean refreshing wind blew.
It was still a little chilly, but this is the spring of the remote land.
While feeling the season in the wind brushing my cheeks, we continued our flower viewing.
Sieg, while staring at the flowers, murmured something.
“Voikukka, ‘butter flower’, huh.”
The word for dandelion, voikukka, is composed of ‘voi’, meaning ‘butter’, and ‘kukka’, meaning ‘flower’.
It’s named so since the colour is like butter.
There are many plant names originating from food.
All the people in this country must have insatiable appetites.
I picked one dandelion and placed it on Sieg’s ear.
“……Ritz, am I not in a predicament now?”
“There’s nothing like that.”
Mother planted about seven flowers into Sieg’s hair.
Any flower looked good on her.
Even though I said that, she did not look convinced.
To not know her own loveliness, how unfortunate.
Since it couldn’t be helped, I decided to convey it clearly.
I brushed back the red hair on her hair and softly whispered, “You’re cute.”
The way she dyes red immediately is just irresistible.
I then realised. That she is the loveliest flower in the world.
Without meaning to, I ended up fully enjoying the spring flower viewing.
I thought that it would be nice to spend the next year, at the same place, with the same family again.
On the activity report pages, I have uploaded Ritz’s grandfather’s character design as well as other illustrations.
Please take a look if you’d like!
How did I miss this!? Oh well, here you go:
Dashing moustaches, I daresay, good sir.