Chapter 9.5- The Winnower and Pietro the Apprentice
The people worthy of respect are surprisingly the ones close to you.
For Tanya these were: her grandmother who was at the same time the tribal chief, Jane – the manager in charge of this village’s girls, and her husband who kept bringing forth new things.
Recently, that husband of hers had been wholeheartedly making something.
Fuu- as Tanya breathes a sigh.
At her feet there was a wild boar piglet rubbing against her with its nose.
That was one of the few animals raised in their own livestock chamber.
Besides it, there was 1 more female boar feeding a piglet with its breast milk.
From this chamber, Tanya’s workshop could be seen.
There were plentiful amounts of wheat tied up in bundles, a senbagoki, and a sieve (screen)
Inside the dark room, Eiji was fiddling with a wood-constructed device.
Today marks the third day.
Tanya wasn’t particularly worried about the device that was being made.
Since the senbagoki was made, her labor drastically bettered.
However, for her own sake, under no circumstances could she neglect her labor.
– Yes. What’s the matter?
– Recently, you’ve been staying a lot in the house; will your job be fine?
– I’m having Philip-san making me firewood, that’s why I’m waiting. Since the watermill was made, I can produce the items far quicker. Also, I was able to acquire a subordinate kid to help me with the whetstone.
Once asked by Tanya if it’s fine to cease his work, Eiji smiled, saying that it’s fine.
Because the firewood consumption was extraordinary big, it’s necessary to take a break once in a while – is what he justified.
The first time Tanya saw the watermill mentioned by Eiji, she was surprised at the sound produced by it.
In addition to the enormous cog-wheel, both of them made a gon gon noise.
Just as Eiji said, it seemed that there were lots of gadgets inside the watermill.
Strings could be seen in the blacksmith workshop, circulating midair. Once these strings were pulled, you could decide whether to stop or activate the watermill.
You could also control the pair of bellows, the electric hammer, and three grinding machines at own your discretion, once there are two water mills operating.
Tanya couldn’t understand just from seeing its construction.
Even if it were to be put in practice, or explained in details, she probably wouldn’t understand.
Such moments made Tanya think that her husband is a genius.
– What do you intend to make with that, Eiji-san?
– A winnower.
– A winnower?
– After you finish threshing using the senbagoki, aren’t there are tiny stones and straw scraps still attaching to the seeds, no matter what you try? How do you deal with them?
– I put them on the screen, and select the wheat seeds only.
– Isn’t it troublesome?
– It’s time consuming. You have to repeat that numerous times.
Because the screen has a different eye-hole pattern, one would have to shake it many times with their hands, in order to make scraps fall.
At the same time, so as to not miss any crop seeds, there was a need to sift them thoroughly on the screen 2-3 times.
But Tanya, who obtained the status of having a husband, could be exempted from doing this, given that she helps with field work.
The reason why she continued to do her rigorous work was because she could work skillfully for the villagers unaware of Tanya’s work reduction, which was due to her possessing the only senbagoki in this place, and therefore, increasing the share of wheat.
Previously, it seemed that Tanya let her tongue slip about the senbagoki; nevertheless, other people probably hadn’t expected it to be 7-8 times more efficient than normal labor.
Once they gladly accepted, Eiji and Tanya could enjoy a little bit more luxurious meals.
– How is putting them on the screener related to this device?
– Once you rotate it using this handle, the seeds will drop while being blew away by the wind power, separating the seeds which are different in mass. Such is this device’s function. It properly uses the rotation part made from iron, which effectively suppresses the loss of power. Furthermore, once it slightly settles, it will easily rotate, and ….
Tanya could neither understand what Eiji said, nor his fixation with the use of iron.
However, it was clear that what he does makes her labor more enjoyable.
Despite her not understanding, she thought desirably of Eiji, who continued to give an explanation while trying to make it easy with a troubled face.
Once she finished taking care of piglet, she stood next to Eiji.
Eiji, who thought it would be easier to show in practice, inserted the wheat grains from the upper part of the winnower.
With his left hand, he operates the board. Then he adjusts the amount of flowing wheat grains, and rotates them using the handle with his right hand.
In front of the handle, there was a thin iron plate, which was fan-shaped, connected to it. Its role was to send wind inside.
The wheat grains, which were falling in drops, moved a little while falling into a jute bag.
The light grains, on the other hand, were absorbed into the jug bag, which was placed far away from the widower.
Then the chaff itself and the wheat straw, both of them being scraps, were blown away by the wind.
Ahh, it’s indeed incredible.
Finally she understood. Tanya could predict just how enjoyable her work would be.
Tanya covered her opening mouth with her hands, as she wondered how much the winnower will help, as well as, how much time will she be able to save for other things.
– Yes, as expected, the amount of streamed wheat and the adjustment width of the wind are hard to operate. Tanya-san, it might be difficult to get used to, for the time being. Nevertheless, when you get used to it, your labor will certainly be much more of fun, so can I have you use this?
Indeed, Tanya could remember the troubled face of that amiable and kind husband of hers, who was bowing down in her direction.
——- I wonder how long this will last.
How long will she be able to live? How long she be able to stay by this person’s side? – she thought.
Even if it’s just a little, Tanya wanted for him to feel this happiness of hers as much as it could last.
The feeling of bliss, the feeling of rejoice, and then, the feeling which made her fall in love, she wanted him to feel the same way, as much as possible.
Tanya smiled. It was a smiling face from deep within her heart.
The brimming delight which she didn’t hide at times like this.
Even though she didn’t possess any skills, nor knowledge or wisdom, like Eiji, at least she wanted to make an effort, so as to have him spend his time pleasantly.
Preparing delicious meals, making his tired husband feel at ease after work, these were the things she wanted to endeavor.
Then, Tanya wanted a baby which could receive this happiness.
While thinking so, she decided.
There’s no way to realize them, just by smiling.
Still, it would be bound to happen, if she follows her heart at her own convenience.
Tanya thanked god for letting her meet, by chance, such a soft-hearted husband whom she could respect.
Gon, gon – a low continuous sound was heard reverberating.
It was the sound of the watermill rotating the cog-wheel.
The workshop was usually warm thanks to the furnace, but could also be cool if the fire ceased to work.
The watermill, which is normally used for the pair of bellows and power hammer, was now powering the grinding machine.
The big, round-shaped whetstone was revolving.
The one who was using the whetstone carefully to hit the hoe’s tip and sharpen the blade was a 12-13 years old boy.
Despite this boy still growing, he had a slim physique.
The boy was called Pietro.
While being free from any obstructive thought, he continued his grinding work.
Because the whetstone was moving by itself, it should be fine to continue with hitting, so as not to deviate along the edge and to adjust the angle of the blade.
The one which was now used to shape the hoe’s tip was a naka-to
When it was finished, Pietro moved the hoe away and checked its blade.
The blade’s edge was thinly sharp and glittering.
Once he ascertained the right thickness, he placed it to the side.
Pietro, who had been in his care for one month, was the right person whom Eiji had searched for.
– Master, I finished it.
– Good work. Did you become more familiar with grasping the angle?
– Yes, it’s fine.
– Well, then next, you will work using ara-to one
– Eh! Is it right for me to do the blade edge scraping?
– You can’t?
– …..No, it’s just that…
– It’s ok not to brood over whether it’s hard or not.
For Pietro, Eiji was an adult on whom he could rely on.
Always being in good mood, he trusted Pietro, and would teach him new skills one after another.
Pietro would go to the mine with a pickaxe to gather some ores, or run around to get firewood, but these were only natural tasks for a subordinate.
Learning how to use a whetstone, how to polish and scrap were indispensable skills.
However, he hadn’t thought he would be told of them that quickly.
And not just telling the new skills, he was also given new tasks every time.
Pietro was able to feel the trust behind those words, which made it seem like he could give his best under this person’s guidance.
– Having Pietro remember things rapidly, I want you to learn as fast as possible, so that you could be in charge of this workshop when I’m away.
– But are you not too hasty…?
– I wonder. If I teach you the skills without any stint, then you should be able to become a maker within 5 years, but…
– Will I be able to reach Master’s skills?
– ….Dozens of years, no, perhaps 15 years. Even for simple tasks, it’s about experience, you see.
After 5 years, Pietro would be still only 17 or 18.
Assuming he doesn’t incur any serious injury or illness, he could make large quantities of items.
– Furthermore, I’d like focus on other jobs to make different things. This village still doesn’t have too many convenient tools.
-Is that so?
Pietro couldn’t understand what he feels.
Perhaps, it was due to him not knowing the possibility of creating a more pleasant environment.
No matter its difficulty, as long as it’s what’s natural to do, he could only accept that without any complaint.
– When we talk about transport, it would usually be walking by feet or riding on a horse, I think. Nevertheless, there’s a device called a bicycle. It’s slower than horse, however, it can let people move with the same speed as running.
– Does something like that exist?
– Yeah. If I were to imagine… it would probably seem like that. You have seen the wheelbarrow, right? The wheels would be attached in front and back, and you would get on a platform. Like that, you rotate the lever with your leg power, making the cog-wheels bite each other. And the wheels moves, just like how the whetstone works using the watermill’s power.
– (Sigh of astonishment)
Pietro could somewhat imagine it. However, for some strange reason he didn’t understand why it was still too early to make that.
Eiji, who didn’t seem that keen on continuing the explanation, began to draw a picture on the wooden block using the charcoal.
Perhaps he was thinking about inventing the next item. One could tell how serious his face was.
– What do you plan to make next?
– Uh, this is very important for our household.
– It’s called a bra.
– Yeah. Pietro, I’ll entrust you with its sharpening once it’s made. You have already done lots of sharpening, including scythes, hoes, nata, and kitchen knives, haven’t you? I don’t mind if you finish your work at your own convenience, but don’t forget to turn off the watermill.
– Y-Yes. How about Eiji-san?
– For now, I’ll focus on completing this bra. First, I’ve got to take measurements.
While having a stern expression, Eiji left the workshop.
Certainly, he will once again craft something of great magnitude.
Because, whenever he made something, it would surprise and please the villagers.
Fernando was impressed about the plane, and Jane boasted the splendor of the iron pot, inside the village. Whereas, Mike could set the foothold traps to hunt animals.
Every tool was made using iron.
There was no doubt that the bra was a convenient tool made from iron as well.
Pietro silently bowed down toward the inventor whom he revered.
P.S. (from the author)
Due to some people’s misunderstanding, I’ll postscript. The Bra is cotton-made (laugh)