Chapter 29 – The Preparations for the Festival of Abundant Harvest 2
Once it was pass noon, most of the preparations seemed to be finished.
Explaining the right cooking procedure, Eiji decided to entrust that task to the women, who were skilled at it.
After that, he would help with carrying the food materials, drawing lots of water, supplying dried trees, and other jobs, which required him to use his feet.
The wind was chilly; however, while walking around and carrying the loads, Eiji wouldn’t feel it.
There were no clouds in the sky; instead, it was fine weather, perfectly suited for hosting festivals. The sun was radiating above.
Even now, people who were bad at dealing with things would be working; nevertheless, the remaining ones that were men would be told to move towards the festival and wait at the open area.
Even throughout the year, there were only several days for resting.
What’s more, being able to rest for a whole day was only possible in times like winter.
Most of the people gathered one by one while chatting with each other enjoyably.
Nothing but smiles were seen on their faces, and the place was filled with a cheerful atmosphere.
While looking around to check which group he should join, he discovered the same members as usual gathering around.
Was he noticed at the same time? Mike, who was sitting on the meadow, waved his hand while calling for Eiji.
– Hey Eiji, this way.
– Has everyone already done their job?
– Naturally. Otherwise, we would be shouted by my wife were we not quick with our job.
– She would say things like ‘You still not finished with the job? You’re slow!
– Yes yes. That’s mega scary.
The men in the vicinity laughed while watching Mike, who was shaking with fear.
There was everyone whom Eiji knew, including the hunter – Mike, the carpenter – Fernando, the lumberjack – Philip, and the farmers – Bernard and Giorgio.
Despite Eiji being acknowledged to a certain degree, he would still feel nervous when facing people whom he usually didn’t meet.
He felt glad to find the right people.
As he came next to Mike’s side, he sat down on the woven mat, which was specially prepared for this occasion.
Other men did the same and sat together in a form, which made a circle.
– You came just at the right moment -be.
– We were about to talk about some interesting stuff.
– You should join us too. Won’t you?
Even though he felt relieved for a moment, Eiji became a little bit precautious after seeing smiles on men’s faces.
It was probably some worthless talk.
The core of the talk was about deciding who was the most beautiful woman in this village, not including one’s own wife.
Eiji thought it was a stupid thing to do; nevertheless, he couldn’t laugh. He could recall doing the same a long time ago. During his high school days it would be about which girl is the cutest, and during his university years – who was the Madonna.
It was the sort of talk which brought back memories. Since he started make his living as a blacksmith, such talks became unrelated to him.
That was something which the men would talk about together during this time, each year.
First, it was Bernard, who expressed his view.
– I think that the wife from Fernando’s household is the prettiest.
– Ah, that is certainly so.
– I a-agree.
Adelle, the wife of Fernando, was a refined and calm beauty, who didn’t look to be born in the village.
Having an unusually kind behavior, she was refined in every movement.
Even toward Eiji, she was kind at their first meeting.
What he heard was that she had been taught and passed down this behavior from a long time ago in order to become the shrine maiden of a festival day like this one.
There was a meaning in what Bernard said. Indeed the word ‘pretty’ matched exactly this woman.
Receiving praises for his wife, Fernando felt bashful. He then chose his candidate.
– In terms of cuteness, I think that would be Philip’s wife.
– Indeed, to think that she could get along with Philip, having such a small body.
– Right. You might think she would even break. Before, when she went to draw some water from the river, I had to help her; otherwise she would fall?
– And you would unintentionally want to protect her. What’s more, that smiling face of hers is really admirable. I wonder if it’s the reason for my choice. Remember, it’s imprinted in her soul – ‘the small justice.’
Philip’s wife, Eve, was only around 140cm tall.
Being a full-fledged adult, she had given birth to 3 children; nevertheless, when she stands next to Philip, it looks more like they have a parent-child relationship.
Eiji recalled the first time he had heard about them being a couple while thinking that it was a crime.
Their relationship, which was similarly passionate to that of newlyweds, would usually give off a sweet atmosphere.
– S-she’s really a type of a wife, whom I’m unworthy of…. But, besides my wife, if I were told to choose someone, it would be T-Tanya. I think she’s the most charming, and recently, she has been looking truly happy.
– Aa, indeed. Because she’s primarily a beauty, recently, once she began to eat more, she became much prettier.
– A long time ago, she was considered a real beauty. I guess that alone makes her cute. Back then, Most of the unmarried men would think about making her their bride. Well, in the end, she found someone who isn’t related to this village.
Hearing how the past Tanya was talked about earnestly by Mike made Eiji think that he had wanted to meet her earlier.
Certainly, she made many different memories back then.
Of course, they will probably make many more of them from now on; however, it was a bit vexing.
– I, who have watched over Tanya, also think so. Eiji, you did a great job there.
– It’s natural for Tanya-san to be that charming. Rather, it would be weird if anyone didn’t think that way.
– You’re just speaking fondly of her.
– My wife wasn’t even once mentioned as the candidate. So impertinent.
As soon as Bernard and Giorgio raised their voices half seriously, Mike lifted his hands while trying to calm them down.
Feeling how much grief there was within Giorgio-san’s shouts, Eiji wanted to console him without thinking. Of course, it would be the same as adding fuel to the fire, which wasn’t hard to imagine.
In the first place, this was just an entertainment before the festival.
Nobody had the intention of heating the atmosphere and causing a dispute.
Nevertheless, it seemed that there was an element of a prank.
Just when Eiji thought that Mike was planning to do something naughty.
– Look here!
Suddenly standing up, Mike raised his single hand and shouted loudly.
It was a loud voice, which could grasp everyone’s attention.
The men in the vicinity ceased talking and focused on Mike.
– It was the day of a certain night during the hot summer. One man held the ring in his hand saying ‘Tanya-san. When you strike the iron, it becomes more resistant. I want to express and make sure of my love to you. Let both of us make a passionate love, just like the iron burning crimson red’.
– Wha――?! Were you peeking on us?!
– The ring was inserted. ‘I love you, no matter what happens, and even If I were to remember about myself’.
– P-Please stop!
– I was told by granny Bona to make sure that everything between you two goes well. Try to be in my shoes and peek during a damn hot day with insects buzzing around. What’s more, to think that you would show such a flirtatious scene.
– Oh my, it’s nice to be young.
– That’s right. No wonder Tanya looks the most charming.
As his blood was exploding, Eiji couldn’t convert what he was thinking into words due to the embarrassment.
When everyone was mocking saying ‘Eiji, Eiji’, he could do nothing but do his best and stare at them while flapping with his mouth. Nevertheless, it was useless.
The guys that were all excited in pranking Eiji didn’t seem to stop.
Should I hit him and put a stop to this? – he thought unusually, which was a rather dangerous thing to do.
―― Nonetheless, it suddenly ended.
– Oh my, I don’t recall being asked with such ardent words during your proposal, Fernando-san?
– How about you start making people smile beginning with giving me a ring?!
– Philip-san, I heard it. So you prefer Tanya-san over me?
– Eve! That’s a misunderstanding.
Probably someone from girls nearby heard their loud voice and went to report.
Once they noticed, the men’s wives surrounded them with full force.
Even though their wives were smiling, they could feel a cold chill running down their spines. On contrary, the women’s eyes didn’t seem to smile at all.
Philip, who was unsophisticated, but dependable, was now panicking and wiping his sweat. That usually enormous body looked small now.
He probably understood that there is no place for making excuses.
His big physique was shrinking while his face became pale, desperately begging for forgiveness.
Fernando was panicking and losing his composure, making his usual easygoing attitude looks like a joke.
Eiji felt relieved that such a thing didn’t happen to him. He thanked his luck from the deep inside his heart.
Were he to behave like a spoiled child in the morning and talk about other women’s charm, just how angry would Tanya be?
Imagining that alone made it look scary.
While tracing the men bowing down and apologizing with his sidelong glance, Eiji stepped back, distancing himself from their company.
Tap – together with the sound, a gentle impact runs through his back.
– Who… Tanya-san?!
– Could it be that you saw it?
– No, I only heard it in detail and then you were seen.
– Is that so? But, please listen to me.
– Even if I’m being watched, there’s no way for anything to change. The words, which I used to confess my love and my thoughts are both genuine.
Tanya-san was hanging down her head with a red face.
Today seemed to be full of moments where they both blushed.
However, because there were other people’s eyes gathered, there was no way for him to remain silent.
– Aaah, that’s some nice atmosphere there you’re creating.
– Right, right. On the other hand, I am going to get punished!
– Making fun of someone’s lifetime’s confession, you’re the ones to be blamed. You reap what you sow.
‘Coward’, ‘traitor’ – such the words were uttered; nevertheless, one should not take it too seriously.
At any rate, once the festival begins, everyone will probably retain their lively mood.
Until then, Eiji should enjoy his time together with Tanya.
While thinking that way, Eiji bowed down towards the women, who were scolding them over a minor matter, and left the place hurriedly.
Behind his back, a huge scream reverberated.
– Speaking of which, Eiji-san, did you plan to choose your own candidate?
– No, since my life goes around the household and the workshop, I don’t know much about the majority of women in this village, you see.
– Is that so?
– That’s true.
– Are those your real thoughts?
In front of Tanya, who was poking her chin with her index finger, Eiji maintained his silent expression.
Nevertheless, he could feel an unpleasant sweat running through his back.
What he said wasn’t a lie, but neither the truth.
The tools, which he makes in the workshop, are mostly the ones ordered.
In order to forge an item, which suits its user the most, he had to learn about that person’s physique, the manner of use, and hear their wish.
— A tool, which was destined for that one and only person in the world.
Therefore, he would sometimes question about his customer’s living customs and personality, or similar things.
Fernando’s wife, Adele, requested for a thin kitchen knife, which would suit her gorgeous posture. Philip’s wife, Eve, wanted a large stock pot so as to make large portions for her husband’s meals.
It was not the sort of relationship in which their mutual feelings would be conveyed just by coming into contact; however, saying that he didn’t know about those people would be false.
There was no doubt he would hold an impression about them, such as ‘What a pretty person’ or ‘This person is truly cute.’
It wasn’t something for which he felt guilty; nonetheless, if said, it would probably hurt the others’ feelings.
– I believe you.
– Thank you.
Hearing that coming from Tanya, Eiji felt a sigh of relief while answering with a calm voice.
However much his eyes would be stolen for a moment by other women, it was nothing more than just being attracted by their charm. Living together and having a child is something he could only do with his wife.
And even the men, who are now being punished, are probably no different. – is what he thought.
Translator and reference notes:
: Ace suggested it would be better to use the word ‘wife’ instead of ‘mommy’, like in case of Mike and Jane. The reason is because couples in other English speaking countries don’t usually refer to themselves like this.