Chapter 76 – The preparations for childbirth
As soon as he left the remaining work to Pietro, Eiji called together Katharina and Dante to come near the shelves.
Both of them, who wouldn’t normally touch any made goods, had mostly no experience besides from entering this place.
Because of that, they looked around restlessly with their curious eyes.
Eiji took out arrowheads from the inside of the box placed on the shelves, and showed to those two people.
One of them was made by Eiji himself.
On the other side, there were as many as 10 individual arrowheads.
Those were a collection of items made not by Eiji, but by Pietro, which showed his struggles from the beginning til now.
Eiji lined up the total of 11 arrowheads on the desk.
Well then, quite a time has passed since these were done, but I wonder if they can tell the difference.
Feeling a bit expectant, Eiji began to ask a question.
– I’ll have both of you make arrowheads from now on. Still, before that, I’ll show you the ones made by me and by Pietro. Can you tell which is mine?
– Well, I wonder if it’s this one.
– I too, think it’s this one.
– Correct. What did you use to base your answer?
– The shape is beautiful.
– For some reason, it looks firmer.
The good and bad points of an item are generally things that can be guessed from their appearance.
A tool, which pursues utility, is especially, strongly inclined toward that.
Eiji grabbed the arrowhead and touched it.
A nice and cold feeling passed through his hand.
The arrowheads made by him were as thin as their heads, smooth and slender, and had pointed tips with an acute angle.
In comparison with this, the ones made by Pietro gave a somewhat dull impression.
If one follows the arrowhead with a finger while avoiding its edge, they can tell that there’s even a subtly clear difference in its smooth surface.
It wasn’t just the difference coming from the satisfaction with a thing’s appearance but also from small observations of the touch and hue.
– This arrowhead was made at the beginning by Pietro. And then, can you notice him gradually becoming more proficient as he continued to make them?
– Haha. This one looks so poor.
– Dante, since you will also leave some of your items behind, you better do your best so as not to be laughed at by your future kouhai, just like you’re doing now.
– Ugh. Are you serious…?
Good grief. Laughing at other’s works won’t convert into one’s own growth.
Eiji and Katharina laughed as they watched Dante bending his face bitterly.
After assigning his pupils to their job, Eiji left the workshop temporarily.
His next destination was Fernando’s working area.
As usual, the strong smell of wood shavings permeated the air, making Eiji’s heart feel naturally at ease.
Once he saw a neatly cut off and evened lumber, he could understand that Fernando had certainly improved his skills as a carpenter.
I too, can’t leave everything to my pupils. – he thought.
As soon as Eiji stood near the entrance, Thomas greeted him.
Unlike Fernando, who was short, Thomas was tall, to the extent of Eiji looking up at him a little bit.
His height was probably next after Philip’s and Dante’s.
– Long time no see, Eiji-san.
– Thomas-kun too, have you been doing well?
– Yes. With my nagging master being absent, I was able to do my job in peace. Ah, but please keep this a secret from him.
Opposite to his height, Thomas’s manner of speech was still child-like.
Eiji was taken and guided to Fernando’s place.
As soon as Fernando noticed Eiji, he welcomed him pleasantly.
With his whole body being fully covered with wood dust and shavings, Eiji understood how occupied he must have been with his work.
-How’s your job progressing?
– Thomas did well, but, as one would expect, there are still tasks that only I can do. How about you?
– It’s a quite similar case to yours. For the time being, I’m flooded with works due to this time’s trade.
– Looks like, we both have it tough.
Perhaps, the busiest people inside the village were Fernando and Eiji.
In addition to their original jobs, it was a condition similar to wearing two hats at the same time, with diplomacy being their second one.
Eiji wanted to raise a certain amount of funds before they go into hibernation during the winter. That, however, was a painful problem he had to deal with from now on.
– Would you mind if I entrust you with a job til the carpenter of Mostori arrives?
– Depends on its content. So what kind of job is it?
– I want to remodel our home. To be more precise, I want to completely divide the living space and the livestock room with a wall.
– To begin with, it was already divided.
– Yes. But, I want to convert that division into a wall.
– In that case, well, I’ll modify it a bit. Still, won’t it become cold during winter?
– Since the rooms are small, the heat insulation will be stronger to some extent, making the cold and warmth offset each other.
During the time of winter hibernation, the livestock’s warmth plays the role of heating.
Leaving out the hygienic aspect, this type of heating reduces the necessary amount of firewood, which is greatly economical.
However, in the case of Eiji’s household, the lack of hygienic conditions may pose a life-threatening danger.
– It’ll soon be time for her childbirth, right?
– What about it?
– There was something I forgot to mention…. Ah, that’s right.
Eiji made a simple explanation about puerperal fever.
About how immunization weakens during the time of birth, which results in the high risk of the mother’s and baby’s bodies falling into illness.
And especially, about the level of sanitation becoming a big problem due to the increased infection rate from living together with livestock.
Therefore, Eiji told Fernando that it’s better to build a place designed for childbirth, similar to a maternity hospital.
– Will that method truly prevent death from childbirth?
– I can’t say it for sure, but the situation will certainly be better than now. I can say it with confidence.
– If so, we ought to do it, I guess.
Presently, on average, out of 6 births, 2 children are expected to be able to grow into adults.
Childbirth is a big event that places a huge burden on the mother.
Provided the mother is able to deliver many children, as long her body isn’t strongly built, she will be troubled by various aches.
Now that the problem of food shortage is continuously being solved, if the problem of infancy is overcome, a considerable improvement of the birth rate should be anticipated.
Because the villagers have been struggling with that, Fernando listened attentively to Eiji’s proposal.
– It would be nice if we can build a facility for childbirth, but, even though we have just returned, do you have spare time?
– I wonder, when is the date for Tanya-chan’s childbirth?
– I think it will be before winter.
– Then, it’s not possible. There’s only few months left, right?
– I guess it would be so. That’s, I want to build the wall inside my house. Since the time for Tanya-san’s first childbirth takes longer than other women’s, I want her to deliver it in complete safeness.
– …..Understood. We still have some time, so once I finish my task now, I’ll figure out something for your house.
– Please treat me well.
– Still, at this rate, it won’t be just your household’s problem, you see. There should be some other women that got pregnant this year……
Fernando gave the names of the people.
They were names of people whom Eiji hadn’t met often.
– Is it possible for you to work on all the houses?
– Hm, I wonder whether or not I should try to increase my number of subordinates. Whichever case it is, if you say that more children are born, I guess carpenters will be indispensable in a long-term view.
Because a specific number of children dies every time, the number of a family remains fixed. When a household grows in size, perhaps it will even be necessary to extend the houses.
Assuming it does, they will have to build the houses whether they like it or not.
– I too, will negotiate with the tribal chief over that matter.
– I guess it has to be Eiji-kun whenever the amount of labor grows.
– It’s just like you say it is.
Being told so, Eiji could do nothing but admit it.
Eiji, who was in charge of planning the project, also felt troubled, but nevertheless, there seemed to be no end to Fernando’s pains as he was mostly following.
Being grateful, Eiji bowed down in front of the man to whom he had caused most of the hardships, apart from Tanya.