The next day, I was so nervous
The excitement of exploring
the village with my father, of seeing a new world, was boiling within me.
As I rode my father’s horse
with him, I was a little intimidated by my elevation from atop the horse.
(It’s higher than I thought it
would be. There’s nowhere to hold on to…) (Zack)
It is several times higher
than my normal line of sight, and I almost cling to the saddle every time I am
rocked on the horse’s back.
My father chuckled and look at
me asking, “Are you scared?”
“I’m scared. I was on the
back of a wagon when I left the mansion before, and I’ve never ridden a horse
I forgot that Nicholas was
watching me and spoke in an infantile way to a more serious manner.
Nicholas’ smile seems to
freeze, but I ignore it and cling to the saddle.
After the descent from the
mansion, we pass through the gates that surround the hill.
The gate was not a big one,
but a rather thick wooden plank door that could easily be broken by a wild
animal, even a large one such as a boar or a bear.
There are five hills in the
village of Rathmore.
“Castle Hill”, where
the mansion is located. Starting from the north is surrounded by “North
Hill”, “East Hill” and “West Hill”, and finally the southernmost
is “South Hill”.
The road that runs through the
village is a dirt road that has been leveled, and it winds its way through the
The villagers’ houses are all
one-story houses with white plaster walls and thatched slate roofs, and there
are several to ten houses clustered together along the road.
As I could see from the
houses, the hills were plowed with a patchwork of fields, sheep and cows were
in the green pastures, and pigs were behind the houses.
My first impression was that
it was dirtier than I expected.
(It’s a pretty landscape from
a distance, but up close it’s pretty dirty. It hasn’t rained for the past four
days, but the roads are muddy. And there’s livestock manure mixed in with the
Then, as we went around the
hills one by one, I looked at the fields and the villagers.
As we pass, the farmers take
off their hats and bow their heads to us.
(Is it because my father is
the lord? In a manner of speaking, he must be really respected.)
From what I could see of them,
they were plowing the fields with hoes and plows but did not appear to be using
horses or cattle.
I asked so that Nicholas could
hear me, “They don’t use horses or cattle?”
“There are hardly any
horses in the mansion. The cows are only here to be milked, so we don’t let
them work in the fields.” (Nicholas)
The serious Nicholas answered
me, a four-year-old boy, with a dignified manner.
(The use of farm horses should
have been around a long time ago, right? We could just use bulls too…) (Zack)
I ask my father to drop me off
and we go to see the field.
A stout farmer in his thirties
is surprised at my appearance. He rushes over to see if something is wrong.
My father smiles and raises
his hand, which immediately brings a look of relief, but he may still be
anxious, “May I help you?” He asked with a concerned look on his
I asked my father to show me
the farming tools and he showed me the hoe.
The hoe was similar in shape
to those seen in Japan, and the digging part was made of iron.
(In a manner of speaking, are
they using iron farming tools? I guess the idea that the use of iron tools
would dramatically increase agricultural production has been rejected….)
I feign disinterest in the
farm tools and pick up a handful of soil.
(It’s a little dry. It’s the
end of May and it’s not wheat, so they’re probably planting beans or potatoes,
but shouldn’t the soil be a little darker? I’m not sure if my agricultural
knowledge is accurate, but it sounds like they should put some fertilizer in
the ground…) (Zack)
I made my voice as cute as I
could and said, “What are you doing now?” I ask.
The farmer looked at my father
with a slightly troubled look on his face and then began to explain slowly so
that even a child could understand.
“We are plowing now to
sow the beans later. It hasn’t rained yet, so we’re going to sow them before
With that, he showed me the bean
The beans were larger than
soybeans and seemed to be sown directly. Apparently, they cannot be sown when
it rains, so they are taking advantage of the sunny weather we have had for the
past few days.
I thanked him and gestured to father
that we should leave the place. My father says, “We’ll get out of your way,”
After we finished looking at
the fields, we arrived at the center of the four hills, i.e., the center of the
village of Rathmore.
The center of the village was
lined with nearly twenty houses, among which were two wooden but two-story
buildings. One of the houses had a small sign attached to it.
The sign read “Black Pond’s
Black Rough Pavilion,” which my father explained was the only tavern in
(Is the liquor made in this
village? If so, I have something to try…) (Zack)
The other two-story house is
said to be the house where the face of this village, the representative of the
villagers, lives, and also serves as a meeting place.
(Is this the downtown of the
village? It’s a small village, so it might be like this, but the ground is
muddy here too…) (Zack)
I again ask my father to show
me to Gordon’s house, who is the face of the community.
The sudden appearance of the
lord surprised Gordon’s wife, who, bowing her head, scurried to the field where
her husband was.
A few minutes later, a stout,
out-of-breath man of about 40 years old rushes into the house.
“Well, my lord, what
brings you here so suddenly today?” (Gordon)
“I’m sorry. My son came
with me today to inspect the village. I thought I’d show his face to you first.
Well, I’m really grateful.” (Matt)
The father apologized for his
trouble, but Gordon seemed to be a little pleased to hear that the Lord himself
had come to show his son to him.
“No, I would be honored to
introduce myself to your son. But first, please make yourself at home.”
Gordon ordered his wife to get
refreshments, but Father smiled and refused by saying, “Please don’t trouble
“I want you to show us
around this area for a bit. So please go back to work without worrying yourself.”
Gordon looks a little confused
but is convinced that he is just a father accompanying his son’s selfishness.
We left Gordon’s house and
went around to the back.
There is a well in the back of
the house, and beyond the well is a field.
Around the well, housewives were
chatting and washing dishes, but one middle-aged woman noticed my father, the
lord, and began to bow her head hurriedly.
(As one would expect in a
village of about 500 people, the lord’s face must be easily recognizable. And
since Grandfather and Father are both commoners and friendly, to begin with, I
guess they don’t deal with him that formally… But then again, I don’t see any
I was concerned that I hadn’t
seen any children, especially children my age or anyone younger, so I decided
to ask my father.
“I don’t see any kids
like me, where are they?” (Zack)
Father didn’t seem to know
either, and asked one of the women, “Are the kids working?”
“No, we care for the
little ones in rotation. They should be at Jethro’s today.” (Woman)
Apparently, there is a system
for taking care of children in the community, and it too is done on a rotating
(I see. That’s surprisingly
reasonable. If it works out well, we might be able to set up something like a
kindergarten.) (Zack) [T/N: Zack said actually said Terakoya “寺子屋” or a temple school during the Edo period. They are private
schools run by learned people like Samurai, Buddhist priests, and well-off
commoners. They teach reading and writing but more important skills that they
can use in the future and not just knowledge.]
We left the place and headed
for the dwarven blacksmith.