Chapter 19: Weaving Silk Cloth
It’s been a year since Chana and Isabelle-san first visited us.
Hakeem is now fourteen, and Ethan is eight years old.
Chana and I are ten years old.
Many mulberry trees have grown in the backyard, which can no longer be hidden from the entrance.
The number of silkworms has significantly increased.
There is also a large collection of silk threads.
According to Isabelle-san, “The threads spun from cocoons must be gently washed with soap to remove the sticky substances on the threads; otherwise, the threads will lack luster.”
Growing, boiling, spinning, and washing are all part of the process.
“It must be expensive if it takes so much time and effort.”
“That’s right—the cost of silk is the cost of the individuals involved.”
After a year of growing mulberry trees and silkworms and steadily accumulating silk threads, Isabelle-san finally said to me, “Well.
If we have this much silk, shall we weave cloth?” and she gave me permission to make it into a cloth.
My father had bought the weaving supplies for me.
The loom is narrower than I had anticipated.
“How wide a piece of cloth can you make with this, Isabelle-san?”
“Around 40 centimeters.”
“Are you disappointed?”
“No! I expected it to be twice as wide as that…”
“It’s the first time a beginner weaves.
That’s how wide it should be at first.”
I strung several warp threads on the loom, set the weft threads, and we began weaving! But then there was Chana, an unexpected candidate who came in.
Chana gradually gained strength, and now, a year after our first meeting, she walks to my house with Hakeem almost every day.
Our house is about two and a half kilometers from the slums on the outskirts of the capital.
She can now walk five kilometers to and from work.
She also assists me in caring for my chickens and silkworms.
Of course, we compensate her for her efforts.
“I don’t have to pay for medicine anymore, and our income has increased,” says Hakeem’s Oka-san, who is relieved that life has become easier.
“Would you mind letting me do the weaving?”
“Chana? You know, it’s a lot of work…”
“I believe I am capable of completing this task! Please allow me to do it.
I can only do a little work on the farm, but I want to be of some help!”
A fairy-like girl stared at me, her eyes welling up.
If anyone can say “no” to this, that person must be a demon.
I’ll let you take care of it.”
Chana weaves on the loom exactly as she has been taught.
After a while of observing her, I realized that there is such a thing as the right person for the right job.
She weaves with the same force every time, tapping the weft yarn down and passing the weft to the left and right in a rhythmic motion.
The silk cloth is woven gradually.
The fabric is gleaming and lovely.
Even the movements of the lovely lady are lovely.
Meanwhile, Ethan looks at her with rapt attention, as if to say aloud, “I love this girl!”
By the way, Chana is unaware of Ethan’s passion.
Hang in there, Ethan!
I, on the other hand, am delighted to be able to pick mulberries all year.
You can eat them raw, make jam with them, or bake with them.
If you take them to market, fruit vendors will pay you a fair price for them.
My father has a contract with another fruit store for mulberries, and I have developed my own distribution channels.
Today, I received two small silver coins in exchange for a large colander full of them.
I’m taken aback.
It’s no different than Hakeem’s daily wage for working hard all day.
I was concerned that our pay was too low.
An oba-san fruit vendor said excitedly to me, “Your mulberries have an excellent reputation! They have a strong flavor, are sweet and fresh, and are insect-free.
Mulberries are scarce in this country.
A royal palace cook recently tasted them and requested all of them.
I’ll raise the price slightly, Alesia-chan, so you don’t sell them to other fruit vendors!”
I was overwhelmed by the momentum and forced to say, “Y-Yes.
Don’t worry, I will not sell to other stores!” which Hakeem later chastised me for.
“In such a case, Alesia, if they persist, we can raise the purchase price slightly more.
At first, don’t nod your head.”
“Really?! I messed up! I’ll work harder next time.
But I’m not sure why a deal with the royal palace would be beneficial.”
“I believe this is because the royal palace always pays in cash rather than on credit.
You buy on credit and pay at the end of the month at restaurants and street vendors, but you don’t get paid in the meantime, and if you don’t get a good deal, you can get ripped off.”
I’m gaining a lot of knowledge.”
Hakeem laughed as I expressed my admiration.
“Alesia is an Ojo-sama for teaching me how to write and do math despite her lack of knowledge in those areas.”
“I am not an Ojo-sama.
I’m the daughter of a wealthy farmer!”
For three weeks, Chana has been weaving silk.
She finished the silk cloth during her commute home.
It’s difficult to believe that a ten-year-old girl created it, or is it because a beautiful ten-year-old girl created it? A very lovely and gleaming silk cloth was created.
It appears to be cool, but it is quite the opposite.
It’s a little warm.
I brought it to Isabelle-san’s house and showed her.
Isabelle-san placed the cloth on her lap, put on her reading glasses, carefully examined it, and exclaimed, “Oh my!”
“Is it not good enough for an amateur, Isabelle-san?”
They’re of high quality.
This item could be sold to the nobility for two small gold coins.
What’s going on with kids nowadays? For the first time in their lives, they raised and wove silkworms, and the finished silk cloth is of the highest quality!”
I couldn’t believe how much money I made selling mulberries for two small silver coins, but a gold coin for a silk cloth?
“A trained young camel can be purchased for two small gold coins! While selling mulberries, I made a pittance, but two small gold coins for silk cloth?!”
“Alesia-san, please calm down.”
Because I was so excited, Chana-chan was a little scared.
“I’m sorry.” But I couldn’t stop laughing because I was so happy.
I only have a hunch that I’ll be able to make a lot of money out of silk.
That night, I went to bed with a smile on my face.
While I slept, the rain I had caused to fall slowly spread, and according to my father, it was about two kilometers in diameter.
I still don’t know how to control the rain, but my life is going well so far.
Isabelle-san said the silk cloth was worth two small gold coins, but it turned out to be even more incredible.
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