Chapter 18 – The Trade with Tal Village
Since when did I fall asleep – wondered Eiji once he woke up only to find himself lying down.
In front of him, the sky began to dye red as the day was reaching evening.
Having ate some lunch, the three of them, including Tanya and Fernando, enjoyed a conversation.
Because the scenery during the travel wasn’t changing for better, Eiji decided to take a small break. After that, his memory became unclear.
On the back of the chair, on which furs were piling up, sat Tanya who was sleeping.
Normally, she would wake up earlier than Eiji, so this was a rare occasion for him to be able to watch her sleeping face.
The more he watched, the more he realized how pretty she looks, to the extent that he believed it was such a waste.
– Oh, so you woke up? Just in time. We’re about to reach Tal Village.
– Sorry for troubling you.
– What? You were probably just tired because of not being used to travel.
Even though he said that they were about to reach the village, that wasn’t quite what he meant. Rather, it was the outskirts of the village.
They could see a single private house together with the surrounding fields standing alone.
– Is that a household?
The rooftop was straw-thatched and its walls were made using mud, which was an unusually simplistic construction.
In comparison with the wood-made buildings in Siena, these seemed to be far more inferior in terms of technology. It was probably due to the low number of carpenters.
As their cart kept advancing, the answer became clear.
The center of the village was much more complete, in comparison with its outskirt, and was built just like in Siena, using wood.
When they reached the tribal chief’s remarkable house, Girolamo was already standing there. Was it because he was awaiting some guests?
As always his face looked elegant.
– Welcome, Fer, as well as the villagers of Siena. And you’re, if I remember well, the blacksmith… wasn’t it Eiji-san?
– Hi, long time no see.
– And then, this pretty lady is…?
– Thank you for your flattery. I’m Eiji’s wife, Tanya.
– Nice to meet you. I’m the tribal chief of Tal village, Girolamo. Please treat me well.
Girolamo bowed down politely toward Eiji and Tanya, but in case of Fernando, the greeting looked like to be a handshake.
Putting them together, Girolamo was quite older than Fernando, but they seemed to understand each other.
– This time, will it be exchanging goods? Same as usual?
– Basically, yes. This year, since Eiji came to this village, the number of necessities seems to have increase a little. From me, I’ll add the fasteners which you asked for.
– That’s truly a blessing. Eiji-kun, is there anything you need?
– I think it would be oil. I need quite the amount of them to prevent the friction in iron-made goods. Do you have any?
– Yes, I do. Despite saying so, I don’t have much in stock, but I’ve got olive, rapeseed, and canola oil. I wonder which one you’d like.
– Can I have the canola oil? Also, some of the olive oil as well.
– If you want to have a large amount of them, then I guess it would be better to make them in your village.
– I’ll consider that.
In Siena village, most of land consisted of terraced fields. Because of that, the field productivity wasn’t good.
The wheat crops could be harvested 2-3 times; therefore, besides unhulled wheat grains, there was no surplus left. That would mean easily falling into food shortage.
There were no redundant workers, so assigning them to a new job would probably be out of the question.
There was a strong chance that Pietro, who was tagging along, would prevent the loss of technology once he reaches the same age as Eiji.
Increasing the number of plows, introducing the crop rotation which will improve production, as well as increasing the number of livestock and population, these, Eiji could do nothing but aim for. However, they were not things that could be done within 1 or 2 years.
After that, he intended to increase the power of the water mill, which would greatly reduce labor time of villagers. As Eiji was quietly collecting ideas, he realized that he had become some sort of statesman.
Unexpectedly, helping the tribal chief with her labor didn’t seem to be bad, given that Eiji wouldn’t be making a living from smithing.
– What’s the matter Eiji? You look like you’re in daze.
– Ah, pardon me. I was just a little bit immersed in thinking.
– My husband is sometimes sunk in his thoughts. Please forgive him.
– No, I don’t mind particularly, but I wonder if I’ve got something to do later.
– Sorry. Then, we would like to have some…10 small jars, please.
– I shall prepare them for you by tomorrow when you depart.
Once they finished placing orders on trading goods, they were invited to
There was a guest room with 1 big bed furnished.
It seems like in this village, the majority of houses were the same.
In addition to that, there was a large oblong chest with upper lid and bronze-made lock, in which one could store their luggage.
– This is the key to the room. Please keep it until tomorrow.
After they were guided to the room, they went to eat.
Because they arrived late, the evening dinner had lights lit up.
Eiji and the rest felt sorry for forcing the unnecessary cost.
An unusually long table was seen, to which two long chairs were interposed.
On one side was Girolamo’s family, on the opposite, Siena’s villagers.
Girolamo’s household was a large one with 5 children, with the oldest being around 25, and the youngest, probably not even 10.
On the table, there was a menu prepared for guest occasions.
There were foods lined up, such as ham, food preserved sausage, cheese, wild oat porridge, as well as bean soup. The ham was roasted and the sausage boiled.
One could see western seasonings accompanying the meal, like brown mustard, parsley, and pepper mint.
In addition, there were 2 types of cheese prepared. One of which was made from cow milk and the other being from a goat. The latter one gave off a strong smell.
Because all of them had rich tastes, they first started with the porridge.
The drink was wine.
Even though saying it’s wine, this one wasn’t a grape one, but instead, a cider made from fermented apples.
While savoring the food, they started a conversation, which first began with a social topic, then changed to Eiji’s origin, with the next one being about taxes.
They could also learn about Girolamo doing various things, so as to improve, even a little, this village’s administration methods.
– I see. There were such methods of field cultivation? So just sowing seeds isn’t enough, isn’t it? Certainly, I’d like to have you show me that in practice.
– Once the stones are removed, we can do seed sowing straight away. Nevertheless, there’s still not enough plows in our village, so doing that immediately won’t be possible.
– I’m really looking forward to harvesting in the spring.
– Yes, as long the surface of the fields are the same, the amount of harvest will increase, which will allow you to have quite a lot in stock.
– However, the tax is abnormally high….
Girolamo, who had a troubled expression, muttered a complaint.
As he suddenly leaned the cup, he poured the Cider.
– Is it that heavy?
– Eiji-san, don’t you know? Our village suffered the most damage as the result of the war. In addition to that, we have to do lots of forced service, and even despite having numerous earthenware goods, it doesn’t guarantee us having children.
The forced service is in other words their obligation duty.
It was imposed in a form of different works, such as repairing routes, repairing landlord previous house building, or other similar repairs.
Besides having their hands occupied 2 days per week, there was a need to collect a great amount of tax imposed on the earthenware, which was their main trading product.
It seems that apart from Girolamo, people have fewer children in Tal village.
And due to the short life span, low amounts of medicine, and poor public sanitation, this village is at risk of extinction, with its people being unable to reproduce.
Presently, thanks to introducing iron pots and kitchen knives, their cooking time has reduced significantly, allowing them to have more time to spent on production. This fact made people here pleased.
– Eiji-san, you too should wary of tax collectors. Aside from being awfully greedy, once they notice something within their interest, they will try to completely narrow it down. If they realize the charm of iron, you will be in real trouble.
– Is that so?
– They are heartless people. There was a guy named Franko, who came just the other day. He will probably head toward Siena, since it’s nearby.
While having a little bit of a red face, Girolamo warned Eiji with a stern face.
Translator and reference notes:
: In other words, they have to pay taxes in form of additional labor.