It was almost my fourth birthday when I said to my parents at the dinner table.
“Can I have blank books for my birthday this year? The thicker the better.”
I asked the parents for something for the first time. Both of them looked surprised for a moment, and only Luke changed to a slightly troubled look.
“Yuri, what are you going to do with something like that?”
“Should I say a diary …… I want to write down my thoughts.”
“So. Has he learned to read and write already?”
Luke asked, looking to Suzuya.
“Of course he has, I don’t even have anything left to teach him.”
In fact, my language teacher, Suzuya, had almost nothing left to teach me.
Having said that, that doesn’t mean at all that I have learned the language perfectly.
Suzuya was a woman of peasant origin who, surprisingly, was romantically married to Luke, a member of the aristocratic class of sorts. Suzuya’s family is not a wealthy farmer, let alone a family of local celebrities, but a very common and ordinary farming family, so Suzuya is 100% born and raised as a farmer.
It seems that farmers in this country do not go to school and there is no such system as private schools. At least in the land where Suzuya grew up, there was no institution like this educational institution even in its infancy. Suzuya learned to read and write after her marriage to Luke, probably in the midst of their newlywed lovemaking, but not very seriously.
She could write her own name and easily read the signposts inserted in the road or the occasional circulating board that was passed around.
Luke was at least a nobleman, so he had a few books at home that were somewhat related to the law or explained simple history, but Suzuya couldn’t read those books written in difficult words, and, leaving that aside.
The reason why I wanted the books was because I wanted to write down all the knowledge I had gained in Japan before it disappeared into oblivion.
“Please, I don’t need a birthday present next year or the year after, so please buy it for me.”
I bowed my head deeply.
“But, as Yuri should not know, books are very expensive things.”
I felt Luke’s tone shift into his father’s characteristic preachy mode.
It’s times like this when you can only assume a praiseworthy attitude and say yes to anything.
“I could buy it for you, but, that’s not the same as those toys, so if you’re going to use it as a doodle book, it’s not worth buying for you.”
Luke was indeed right. The paper in this country is not what Japan calls Japanese paper or Western paper, but parchment. Parchment, as it is called, is made by de-hairing the skins of wild domestic animals. It is made by removing the hair from the skins of animals that can be sold as hides and skins, and then cutting them down to a thin layer and cutting them into quarters.
Needless to say, this is a very laborious commodity, and the books assembled from these high-priced papers are certainly not cheap.
I am not sure of the actual price, but it must have been made from ten large sheets of fur, and in Japanese currency it would not be surprising that it was worth 400,000 to 500,000 yen. Of course, because it saves the effort of writing the text of the book, it should be cheaper if it’s white paper, but it’s still expensive.
It was on a completely different level from asking him to buy me a video game console.
I don’t think any parent would buy something that is so expensive and so useless when they hear a four year old asking for it.
Although I said it was for my diary, they would of course imagine it as a kindergarten child’s scribble diary, so they would probably say in that case, write on a wooden board.
However, I really wanted that.
“Darling, just buy it for him. Yuri is always helping with the housework too, and this is the first time he’s asked for something he wants. ”
Suzuya, my mother made a strong assist.
Tell him more!
“That’s true, but the book costs four or five thousand lugas.”
“Huh …… so expensive?”
Suzuya said in surprise.
To say she was surprised was perhaps too restrained a description. It would be better to describe her expression as stunned and jaw-dropping.
I’ve lived in the country up to this moment and haven’t bought anything, so I don’t know the monetary value of four thousand Luga. How much does a loaf of bread cost?
“Yes. So, if you spend the same few thousand lugas, you can buy heaps of toys. Why bother buying books ……”
“That’s what I got after thinking about it for a long time, and I don’t need toys either.”
I really don’t need toys, it must be blocks or something like that anyway.
“I’ll help out around the house, I’ll do anything, please, I’m definitely not going to waste this gift.”
I was determined not to give up.
I made up my mind and put on a serious look.
That said, this face is a child’s, so I don’t think it has much gumption.
“Well …… first of all, you’re going to have to help your mother. And, next time, help with the ranch work too. If you say yes, I’ll buy it for you.”
“Really? I promise you!
I promised immediately. I had now roughly learned the language and had nothing to do at home.
“Can you really do it? It’s a promise between men.”
Dad was still worried.
“Darling, you’re worrying too much. Yuri is a good boy who can keep his promises.”
Mum helped me out.
Her tone didn’t sound worried about me at all, and it even made me uneasy.
I’m closer to being rotten, if you must say so.
“Well, that’s true.”
“Then again, the book is to be bought in the capital, right? How about you take him to the capital next time you’re there?”
“Huh? Take him to the Sibyak?
“After all, this is the first time Yuri has asked us to buy something, so it must be something he really wants. In that case, it would be better to let him choose it himself. It would be sad if you bought something strange and let him down.”
Well said, this mum knows very well.
I obviously want a systematic notebook, but he’s likely to come back with a freehand notebook with cartoons.
“That’s true, this might also be a good opportunity to get Yuri to visit the capital …… you have a King Eagle to deliver next week, so why not go then?”
The word that just appeared slightly “Sibyak” is, if my memory is correct, the name of the royal capital of this country.
Can we go to the royal capital? I would love to.
” …… I’m very happy, thank you.”
I couldn’t help but smile happily.
The two parents smiled softly at the expression on their own child’s face.