Chapter 27 – The Arrival of Winter and Tanning

Chapter 27 – The Arrival of Winter and Tanning

The fall deepened, the exhaled air became white, and the time of falling leaves continued to lapse.
And then, winter arrived.
The first thing that gave the sign of a changing season was the atmosphere.
The atmosphere, which was until now a bit dry, turned into one abundant with humidity. After that, the snow fell.

– Snow?
– The snow descended, which means it’s time to suspend one’s field work.

Bernard, who used the shimade hoe as a cane, wiped his sweat from his brow.
Even if it was cold due to the falling snow, the body would still heat up with exercise. Especially, if it’s heavy labor, such as digging up soil during land reclamation.
Was it because of the chilly weather? The soil seemed to increase in stiffness.

– You seem to have freezing in this cold weather.
– Looks like it. The place where I had lived before was as well chilly, but….

Starting from the fur coat, which was given to him by Tanya, he later got his hands on a pair of leather gloves and a pair of leather trousers, all of which he received during the trade. Eiji felt the warmth wrapping around his whole body from their leather. Despite that, his face grew cold due to the nipping wind.
It would have been better, had he exercised his body instead of just being in charge of supervising.

– We have cleared quite a large part of the land, haven’t we?
– That’s right. Even though everyone was complaining at first, they turned silent and continued to work the moment they realized that the buds began to sprout.

In front of Eiji’s view, the reddish black soil stretched.
Unlike a wasteland, which is overgrown with weeds and trees, this field looked neat.
Up till this moment, lots of troubles had been involved.
Considering that Eiji had many hardships in assisting, perhaps, both Bernard and Giorgio had it even harder than him in practice, since they were doing the physical part of reclamation, which involved cutting down trees, digging out roots and stones, as well as removing small pebbles from the field.
In addition, they had to plow some parts of the field, which were unfavorable for planting seeds, with weeds and straw, so as to increase its fertility.
With that, however, they reached a point where they can rest.
It would be considered customarily to leave the field as it was due to the covering of snow in the winter.

– During the winter, what do you do instead of field work?
– Because the main trading good in this village is leather, we usually make shoes, sew gloves, or produce bags. Anyway, we can create anything using leather.
– That’s amazing, isn’t it?
– Later, we would help Fernando. As we have our hands free from farm works, it is fine to assist him with big building constructions, so we are often rounded up for that. Won’t Eiji be called as well?
– I wonder about that?

Eiji had his schedule filled up as he planned to use this period for making whetstones, repairing small items, and arranging the necessary things for the onward development.
Drawing him for other tasks would probably be out of question.
Still, won’t I be rounded up for the discussion regarding the plan of building the cattle shed? – While Eiji answered by himself to this question, Bernard laughed.
– Well, it might be a little bit harsh for you to deal with leather, so perhaps it would be better to help out Fernando, even if it means avoiding Mike, who forces others to assist him.
– Why is that? Since our households are next to each other, there’s a high chance for him to call me out, but…
– What? There should be no problem for you to decline as long you take care of yourself.

I wonder if he’s not going to tell me straightly. – thought Eiji.
Not being able to draw the answer he wanted, Eiji became a little irritated.
There was no particular reason for Eiji to dislike helping, still, if something serious was to happen, he would rather prepare himself beforehand.
Nevertheless, saying that dealing with leather is harsh, just what could it be?
It felt as though he couldn’t imagine it.

– Leather, the leather. Should I pay attention to it?
– Even if you’re troubled, calling you won’t solve anything{?}[just thinking about it won’t solve anything?]. It’s best not to think about anything that will turn futile.
– Well, I guess that would be true.

Even though it seemed like there are many times the villagers try to do something futile, their sudden understanding of reasonable things turned out to be quite unexpected for Eiji, who was deeply impressed with that.
No matter how trivial a thing was, they would never regard it as futile. Even if it was a single grain of wheat, they would treat it preciously.
Assuming they waste a single grain each day, it would make 365 wheat seeds become lost each year. However, when talking about farm work, it doesn’t just end with that.
By planting and growing a single seed, it would give more than 700 grains of wheat the next year.

———-In that case, how much would it be in the next 10 years?
Despite being unable to calculate, the villagers understood deep inside their heart that it is a fearful lost which could affect their whole life.
These guys were able to predict the weather from judging the mountains and sky.
And even if they didn’t possess any statistical knowledge regarding astronomy, they would still be able to grasp the calendar or tell the time of arrival for summer and winter.
Because if not, they wouldn’t be able to grow their crops skillfully. One could only bow the head with admiration toward their experience.

– Hey, let’s go back to do the preparations for the festival.
– Festival?
– Y-eah, the winter is arriving, be.[1]
– Is it a festival dedicated to the arrival of winter?
– When did you expect it to happen?
– No, I thought that it would be around New Year’s or Christmas.
– What’s that?

Guess one would expect that.
While watching Bernard’s face, which looked puzzled, Eiji could only consent.
Judging from the level of technology, it didn’t appear to be the right period for the birth of Christ.
In that case, if one were to point out the criterion on which the calendar was based on, it would be the day of commemoration for the country’s establishment. Thus, it was easy to tell when things like the winter is likely arrive.
And since there was no administrative body of the extent of  a country, it wasn’t strange to consider the arrival of winter.
– You really have changed, haven’t you? Well, I guess it’s fine to talk about fascinating topics using nothing but mysterious things, still…
– What should I be doing on that festival?
– If you know anything interesting, it’s fine for you to share it with us. You can sing, play a music, or even dance. People would be pleased with cooking as well, be.

I see – he thought. If so, then there might be something he could do.
Because cooking was part of both men’s household, Eiji would be wholly in charge of making products.
Eiji wasn’t skillful at making dishes typical of a man; nevertheless, he could cook fairly well.
However, there weren’t many seasonings, which was a problem. What could be made using only salt and herbs together with a limited amount of vegetables?
Pondering about what dish to prepare, Bernard bid farewell while apologizing for leaving first.


Why did something like this happen?
Not being able to ask or receive a piece of advice from Bernard, Eiji wanted to hit himself.
While he was about to cry, he raised his hand.

It was the house of Mike.
Inside the dark room, which had no windows to absorb the sunlight, there was a large amount of animal fur lining up.
One part was soaking inside a water jug, another – drying, yet another part in front of his eyes was affixed with pins.
Eiji was made to assist in the process of tanning.

– Hey Eiji. A fine adult man isn’t bound to cry, so work using your hands.
– I got it!

Whose fault do you think it is that I’m crying? – he thought.
Eiji held in his hand a spoon related tool, which seemed to be bottomless, and moved his hand while pressing the tool against the skin.
On the reverse side of the skin, pieces of meat and fat were clinging.
What he was doing was scraping them off.
At first, Eiji was frightened by the smell of blood, as well as the damp, slimy feeling coming from the fat. His stomach felt the urge to vomit, sensing the smell of the animal.
He could clearly understand the reason why Tanya didn’t want to assist him back when he was making the soap. In this case, however, the smell will stick to his nasal parts, which probably won’t help in whispering his love.
After Eiji became used to the smell and the thrilling scenery, the smoke was kindled inside the room.
Using the smoke created from pine needles and straw, they carried the process of fumigation by hitting the pinned skins with it.
Eiji’s and Tanya’s house was similar, but there was no chimney in any of the households in this village.
This probably wouldn’t cross their mind. The only one was installed in Eiji’s workshop.
With no place to run away from the smoke, the air turned white in a blink of time and Eiji could feel his throat and eyes being done by it.
Jane, who was using a board to increase the fire, apologized.

– Please excuse us. Since it’s only my husband and me, there’s not enough manpower.
– I don’t mind, but Jane-san, what’s the deal with this smoke?
– We are tanning the skins using it.
– By hitting it with the smoke?
– Depending on the type of item, we apply different methods, but once the water is dried from it thanks to hitting it with smoke, the skin becomes tender. At the same time, we soak them inside grass pus and dye it using colors.

– What other methods do you have?
– We apply oil on it, knock the skin earnestly and stamp on it. Another method involves soaking it into a hot water mixed and boiled with the brains of the skinned animal, or many other methods.
– It’s different to the methods which I know.

While murmuring the words with a sigh, Mike reacted sensitively.

– You, even know the methods of skin tanning?
– No, there’s no way for me to know that in detail or its common ground.
– Whatever is fine. Just tell me.

As far as Eiji knew, there were methods of skin tanning used mainly in handgrips and scabbards for natas and small knives.
Because lots of them used skin made from cattle, the leather had a characteristic yellow-brown luster.
Since the time Eiji became a craftsman, he made sure that his small belongings, like wallet and bags were all made from real leather, instead of synthetic one. His evaluation of personal belongings changed from the moment he had met another craftsman.
The more you cherish the item, the more you notice its charm, which is a nice feeling.
These he would get in his hands from time to time.
Because the wallet, which Eiji brought with, was the only existing one in this world, he showed it to Mike.

– Incredible! Hey Jane, take a look at this. That’s incredible.
– What are you excited about? Oh my, such a detailed processing. It is nicely done, isn’t it? I wonder just how much time and patience is needed to shave it this thinly.
– On top of that, this tenderness… It’s a divine work. The leather material used for making this is cattle, right? Isn’t this different from normal ones?

Mike and Jane observed the wallet with endless curiosity.
Had he known they would be interested this much, Eiji would have shown it much earlier.
Because he believed the two of them were hunters, he didn’t think they would possess knowledge of a leather craftsman, and therefore, didn’t introduce that topic.
That was his mistake.

– Then, how do you achieve this feeling of smooth touch and the refined charm?
– I only know that you have to soak the skin inside the liquid mixed with a compound called tannin.
– I wonder whether you’re not hiding anything.
– I’m not.
– Well, if you intended to hide, then you wouldn’t reveal the technique as well.
– First, even if someone like me, who has no specialist knowledge, were to it hide for myself, I wouldn’t be able to rival with you anyway.

– I think you’ve got a point.

If its tannin, the only things that come to mind would be a tea plant, persimmons, and wine.

What should one do, so to make it good? Eiji didn’t know any detailed method, but it seemed that Mike, who was mesmerized by the wallet, intended to explore for a method of tanning using the tannin compound.

The winter is fast approaching, just what should I do?! – said Mike. Eiji took a glimpse of Mike, who was in agony.
As soon as Jane told him to give up, a quarrel between the couple burst out, causing quite a bother for Eiji.
For him it was the nice experience of displaying a half-hearted knowledge while causing people a trouble.
Was it divine punishment?
Despite both of them vowing to have a child, Tanya suggested Eiji to sleep separately.
Unlike before when it concerned making soap, this time, he was half forceful while insisting to help remove the smell.
Hearing the incomprehensible words of his wife, Eiji felt as if he was about to cry in loneliness.
From that moment, Eiji decided to have the people, who were assisting Fernando, help him with removing the smell.

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Translator and reference notes:

[1]: I’ve no clue how to translated dialects, but you can consider Bernard using an accent similar to country hicks.


13 Responses to Chapter 27 – The Arrival of Winter and Tanning

  1. djp6 says:

    Thanks fpr the chapter


  2. mecharos says:

    Poor Eiji. lol
    Thanks for the Chapter!


  3. hehaaw says:

    lol just how many night does he have to sleep alone without his wife


  4. goblinrou says:

    I think Eiji will have to focus on making perfume if he wants no sleep alone nights..


  5. Max says:

    Thanks for the great work.


  6. ZaX says:

    Even deodorant won’t save him from those smells. Thanks for the chapter

    Liked by 2 people

  7. blackrose156 says:

    Thank you for the chapter. Great work!


  8. kirindas says:

    Thanks for the new chapter! Poor Eiji. Just going to have to tough it out.


  9. Chronos5884 says:

    Thanks for the chapter!


  10. madmakai says:

    Thanks for the chapter!


  11. kusanagi24 says:

    Thanks for the Chapter!


  12. Brian says:

    His incompatibility with the villages are arising. Its like Hes living in the cavemen days lol


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