Chapter 5 – The Wheelbarrow and Fernando the Carpenter
Dried lumber, which was made using cut down trees, were lying against each other.
In the north-east corner of the village, a big storehouse was present. One could understand that it was a carpenter’s workshop.
On top of the big work station, the processed wood lay. It was supposed to be made into something, as uneven spots were made using a small hatchet.
Once the man in charge of the work stopped, he faced toward Eiji. He was a handsome man with a finely chiseled face.
– Huh, so you are the newly accepted villager?
– Nice to meet you, my name is Eiji.
– Fernando. I’m the so-called carpenter. That person over there is my subordinate, Thomas. As you can see, most of the houses in this village were newly built and repaired by us.
– That’s amazing. By the way, with some small effort, wouldn’t this building be able to house around eighty people?
– Well, if you include the storage, the barn, and the work station, then this much should do.
There were lots of things included in carpentry work, even though they don’t seem so at first, such as a warding fence used against wild animals, or in pasture land, for livestock and fields.
For someone like Fernando, taking charge of everything would be quite a feat.
Seeing how the bronze tools are tidied up, one could understand that they were often used for fixing requests.
Fernando was short and his eyes gave a sharp expression. He seemed to be polite in words, but didn’t look like someone who was just gentle – is what Eiji felt.
To complement that, Thomas was a tall person, and his body also gave the impression of being tough.
– Then, what kind of business do you have?
– I’d like to have you build this…
– Hm? This is the first time for me seeing a blueprint like this. Was this drawn by you?
– That’s right.
– Huh? I’ve never seen such a wonderful picture.
The wood-block printing, which Eiji took out, was in fact a detailed blueprint drawn using a piece of coal. Fernando, who fixedly stared at it, gave a sigh of astonishment. That was a rare sight coming from him.
– A one plus two wheeled cart?
– It’s not intended for bulls, but for hand pushing.
– Huh? You mean pushing it by yourself? Speaking of which, there are handles attached as well. If used skillfully, transportation of things will become much easier.
– I do plan to give each household 1 of these.
– It Seems like I can use this too.
While Fernando was pondering the fastest way to make this, he murmured – …and the wheels, if we do it like this…
Once he nodded several times, he raised his head up.
– It’s a great idea, looks doable for me.
– Can you make this request?
– Will you agree for a fee of one week’s portion of wheat?
– One week’s portion…?
Considering there’s not much in reserves for daily life, judging from Eiji’s standard cost criteria, it was a very high price. On top of that, wheat is the main source food, unlike wild oats, barley, and vegetables.
Fernando smiled mischievously, as he knew that he had overcharged Eiji.
– Can’t you make it cheaper?
– I can.
– In that case…
– If you make me carpenter tools in exchange, that should do.
– Oh, so this is what you want? Then we shall trade with items. However, I’ll need to have you make me the items I need first.
– Having a blacksmith really saves my day. I cannot even buy a single nail from other neighboring villages.
– First, I’ll make you a saw, a plane, and a file.
– A plane…what’s that?
– Well, you will know once it’s done. You will take a liking to it, surely.
For a while, Fernando became silent. He seemed to be unable to evaluate the unknown items which were yet to be made.
But in the end, he accepted. As he nodded, Fernando reached out his hand.
A firm hand shake, which was quite tough, followed.
It was a hand of a man whose daily work based on holding a hatchet.
– By the way, can I have this woodblock print?
– I don’t mind, use it as you wish.
– Just leave the work to me. On the contrary, in case that thing called a plane won’t suit my taste, I’ll ask for something else, and I won’t be moderate in my request.
– That’s some scary thing you said there. Fine by me.
Eiji smiled. The invention of saw dates back to the 15th century B.C, however, iron-made ones were not known until the Roman times. Seeing the wood’s cross-section, it was not done using a saw, as lots of uneven places could be seen.
There is no doubt that it was shaved and chamfered using a scythe-looking blade, similar to a yariganna. Certainly, Fernando was content with its sharpness.
Eiji saw a flame. The crimson red burning flame telling him everything he needed to know: the moment the wood turns into charcoal, the temperature at which the bricks gets fired, and the time in which iron oxide has to be tossed in.
The white charcoal, which has been burned for three days, is finally burning crimson red. The smoke coming from the chimney was black at first, but now it’s turned into a white vapor. The heat-resistant brick was finally made. However, for that, another week passed.
Due to the preparations, every day was tiring. In order to make bricks, you have to search for the right earth. If it’s not a white colored earth like diatomite, making a heat-resistant brick won’t be possible; instead, the usual brick will melt.
Thanks to Philip, searching for the right earth took around two days. If it hadn’t been for him, who knows this mountain like his own pocket, Eiji would’ve long abandon his hope for making the fire-resistant brick.
But once he Eiji manages to obtain the desired brick, he will be able to make the furnace. And once the furnace is completed, he can start forging. And the village’s productivity power will rapidly increase. For the sake of the bright future, Eiji was ready to resist his tiredness.
But more than just for the sake of this village, Eiji was willing to throw himself away in order to become more useful to Tanya.
He still hasn’t laid a finger on her. Every time the both of them went to sleep, sometimes the thought about whether or not he was tempted by Tanya crossed Eiji’s mind.
Even during meal times, whenever their hands happened to touch each other, Eiji felt like he was driven by the temptation of her alluring and flirting glance. And when the time to go bed came, the whisper saying “good night” could be heard coming from Tanya, which gave his body an additional impact. At such times, Eiji couldn’t help but to restrain himself firmly as he went to sleep.
Now, being indebted to many people, Eiji felt quite nervous, as he was not able to make anything yet. Faster, faster – is what he felt, the sensation of something rushing him. If only I could make at least one item…, then… – he thought.
As the sun started to set, the fire in the stove was slowly extinguished.
Translator and reference notes:
: type of Japanese plane. For more details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_plane