Digging for Potatoes
It’s about six o’clock in the morning, the day after Allen announced that he would take care of the house. It was about six o’clock when Allen got up and went to the living room.
“Good morning, Mother.”
“Good morning, Allen.”
Since yesterday, I’ve stopped calling them Mom and Dad and started calling them Mother and Father. I walked to the living room, grabbed two wooden buckets with handles, and went outside. It was already late October. It was very cold in the morning.
I headed for the communal water area. There is a well that has been dug in the village for farmers to use for drinking water. It’s not that far away.
“Oh, Rodan’s son, good morning.”
There were already about four or five people in line. I got in line behind them. I watched the man in front of me and understood how to draw water from the well. I had seen it from afar before, but this was the first time I had been here up close.
The adults looked at me like I was a child.
When my turn came, I pulled the rope to scoop water from the bucket attached to the well.
I filled up the two wooden buckets as if it was nothing. The adults were watching, as if they were curious about the situation.
“Hey, kid, you can’t take that much water home with you.”
“Why? Thank you for your concern.”
Then I went home with a wooden bucket in each hand, each holding about 30 liters of water. The adults looked on in amazement.
(I knew my father was powerful. The buckets are bigger than most people’s, too.)
Thinking about this, I went home and poured the old water from the water jar into the narrow canal that ran by the house. I returned the water jar to its original place, and started to transfer the water from the wooden bucket, dribbling it in from a height higher than my chest.
Theresia was watching, but she couldn’t say anything.
“Mother, Gelda is going to teach me how to harvest potatoes this afternoon, so is there anything I should prepare?”
“Yes, of course.”
Mother Theresia, whose stomach was beginning to swell, had to nurse Rodan and take care of Mash, so Gelda was going to teach me how to harvest potatoes.
Yesterday, I declared that I would take care of the house. This means that in addition to the household chores that I already used to help with, I will also work in the fields. This includes changing the water in the water jar every morning.
Yesterday, Rodan and Theresia even joined Gelda to tell Allen that he was only six years old. However, Allen’s will was very firm, and they came to the conclusion that it would be better if they actually let him do it and let him see how hard and impossible it was, rather than just telling him.
Theresia brought breakfast to Rodan’s room. It was a very small house, but she could not come from the bedroom next door to the living room.
After finishing the meal, I cleaned up and did the laundry. These days, laundry has become part of my routine, and I’ve given up throwing rocks, which I did for three years since I was three.
Gelda came over after lunch. He had to work on his own farm in the morning, so he came in the afternoon.
“Allen, we are going to harvest some potatoes, so hold this basket.”
He was a bit stern, as if he wanted me to give up immediately.
I listened to his instructions seriously as if to convey my intentions. We headed straight for the field.
The field adjacent to my house is basically Rodan’s field.
(There are four or five fields divided by a ravine. I think there are wheat, potatoes, beans, and leafy vegetables.)
It’s a large field for one person to manage.
(After all, I guess Rodan’s level is quite high, as a result of hunting a lot of boars.)
Even before I was born, Rodan has been hunting a C-ranked magical beast called the Great Boar. I’m sure his level has increased and he is more powerful than a mere villager.
Naturally, the fields are not as large as those managed by tractor-like things in the real world. However, in this civilization where we use hoes and plows to cultivate the land, it is quite large for a family to manage.
I entered one of the fields that my father had taken care of on a daily basis. The shriveled stalks were already stretched out on the ground.
“This is how you pull the potatoes out.”
As Allen entered the field with deep emotion, Gelda explained the work. Gelda, a strong and muscular man, pulled out the wilted stalks with one hand. A variety of potatoes, large and small, come out. Gelda, like Rodan, is very strong due to his boar hunting.
This sweet potato that has just been dug out tastes and looks similar to a sweet potato. It is also sweet and a favorite of Mash.
“This is it?”
“Oh, it’s got a lot of roots. Do it with all your might.”
Like Gelda, I grabbed it with one hand and tried to pull it out
“Oh, come on, you can’t pull it out with just one hand…”
Before Gelda could complete what he was saying I pulled out the potato.
“Am I going to put all the potatoes in the basket?”
“Oh, yes, and then go home and sort them. The small ones will be the seed potatoes for next year.”
I held a separate stalk in each hand and pulled it out. I shake off the soil and put them in a basket. The basket was getting fuller and fuller.
(I won’t be able to dig all the potatoes today.)
“Am I to take this to the garden?”
“Oh? Oh, yeah. You are strong Allen, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I’m my father’s son.”
We put them in baskets, but there are still potatoes buried in the field. These potatoes are the staple food of Allen’s family throughout the year.
When all the potatoes are harvested, there is not enough room in the mud room. They are stored in a corner of the yard. The Allen’s yard is surrounded by a tattered wall, but it is not small. There is enough space to store the harvested crops and to play knights with Kurena.
I filled a basket with potatoes. The basket was so big that it weighed more than a six-year-old child. I grabbed it with both hands and lifted it up. Gelda’s eyes widened and he gulped.
Neither Rodan, Theresia, nor Gelda thought that Allen was completely weak. They thought he was stronger than a normal child. After all, he’s been playing knight with Kurena for three years, and they’ve seen him do it many times and his movements were clearly not the movements of a child. They’ve seen glimpses of his power in his everyday chores.
But what they had seen was only a glimpse of Allen’s power. Allen walked with his small feet sinking into the plowed ground, which was softer than the furrows.
(It’s light. It’s a good thing I raised my strength after all.)
I increased the number of cards in the holder, which was originally biased toward F-rank Grass to raise mana, to more beasts. I changed the card allocation to farming mode.
I decided to no longer suppress or hide my stats. I will do housework and farm work at full throttle. With my pregnant mother and younger brother, I could no longer hide any longer. There’s a Master Swordsman in the neighborhood, and even if I stand out a little, I am still a farmer with no talent.
(I can’t have many Grass cards as I need other beasts for field work . I have to adjust the distribution of the cards carefully. Besides…)
I was looking at a corner of the field.
“That field is also managed by my father?”
While carrying a basket full of potatoes, I looked at the field where the grass had grown to my height.
“Yes, that’s right. Next year he’ll pull the weeds and plow it.”
It was a fallow field that hadn’t been touched this year.
(It’s my father’s field. The weeds are useless, and it’s a good size.)
A farmer can’t own land, but he does have an allotment of land. Basically, it’s passed down from generation to generation.
Just as I was placing the potatoes in a corner of the garden, someone came to Allen’s house.
“Excuse me, is Rodan there?”
“Oh? Isn’t that the village mayor?”
It was the village mayor, Deboz. I recognized his face because I had seen him around several times at appraisal ceremony and banquets. Gelda reacted to the village mayor with a very angry voice.
“Oh, Gelda. I heard that Rodan has regained consciousness. You are here to visit him too.”
The village mayor was not alone; he had brought a young man with him. He was about fifteen years old. I had never seen him before.
He walked in through the gate. The way he entered without hesitation was like the difference in status between a village mayor and a serf.
As Allen and Gelda stared at him, the village headman approached the entrance.
“How can I help you, village mayor?”
Theresia came out of the living room. I noticed that her voice sounded different from usual. It was the first time I heard this tone of voice.
(Mother’s angry. Well, if the mayor hadn’t insisted on letting the commoners in, Dad wouldn’t have had to go through what he did.)
“I heard that Rodan had regained consciousness, and I came to see him after he was seriously injured.”
The mayor said, showing the young man who was holding a small barrel.
“He’s in the back.”
Apparently, she didn’t tell them to leave. She led him to the bedroom where Rodan was.
(What’s up with this young man? He’s shaking.)
The young man was trembling stiffly.
“The village mayor has come to see you.”
The young man left the gift in the living room and went to the bedroom, where Rodan was sitting up on the futon watching him.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, this is all my fault!”
The young man sitting on the floor bowed his head deeply and apologized. He seemed to be the young commoner who had caused the serious injury.
“Oh? That’s right. If you still want to do this, be careful next time. We’re all risking our lives.”
It was an unexpected answer from the young man. The young man’s face returned to normal for a moment.
The village mayor said, “Well, that’s it.” and left. It seems that he came because the young man, a commoner, alone couldn’t come here alone. Then they both left through the door.
Gelda and I had to dig potatoes, so I watched them and went back to the field.
“Gelda, is he the one?”
“Hmm? Yes, that’s him.”
He tells me more about the situation at that time. It was a Boar hunt that turned into a melee when a new commoner who had been put on the wall got scared. The Boar closed in on the frightened and cowed young man.
“Rodan was seriously injured defending that guy. Oh, don’t tell anyone, as you know. He doesn’t like it when people say that.”
As I walked through the fields, I passed several other serfs. They heard from somewhere that he had regained consciousness and were carrying something in their hands. They were people going to visit him.
Allen felt very proud of this scene.