Chapter 45 Ranch Life
As soon as Nonna’s fever subsided, I bought the smallest and cheapest wagon.
On the day Nonna properly recovered from her cold, I wrapped Nonna in a blanket, placed her on the wagon, and traveled only when the sun was up. By the time we passed through the border checkpoint with Randal Kingdom, Nonna was relaxing in the wagon with fruits and sweets.
My current identity was Maria with black hair. Nonna was my black-haired son Lyle.
I previously found Maria’s identity when I was investigating the real Victoria. Maria was also a missing person. She entered the Ashbury Kingdom from the Randal Kingdom eight years ago, and she never returned. She was two years older than me and she had no children at the time.
Since Maria had black hair, I thought that information would be difficult to use. That’s why I was so happy when I found long black hair in the Free Market.
I explained my situation to Nonna as accurately as possible while moving around the Kingdom of Randal.
“Did Vicky run away?”
“Yeah. It was a job that I couldn’t quit even if I wanted to. That’s why I needed a wig, I had to change my name, and I had to move. I ran away on my own, so people at work might get angry and chase after me. Nonna, I’m sorry we can’t live peacefully.”
“It’s okay. We can go to many places like this.”
“…Thank you. So from now on, can you call me Maria instead of Vicky?”
Nonna thought for a while before replying.
“Can I call you Mommy? I’ll call you Vicky by mistake.”
Surprised and happy at the unexpected reply, I hugged Nonna and nodded many times. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her to call me mother.
“Yes. Yes. Of course, you can. Please call me Mommy. Thank you.”
“Okayy. Why are you crying?”
We have been living in the Kingdom of Randal since then. Three months have passed since we started living in the autumn season of roasted chestnuts, and now it was winter with the cold north wind.
We lived on a sheep ranch in a rural town called Egnir, located in the south of the Kingdom of Randal. It was recruiting servants. Wages were not very high, but the offer of live-in accommodation was very helpful. The servant’s room was warm enough and clean. They often shared lamb meat with us too.
The servant’s room had a large wood-burning stove with a chimney that could also be used for cooking. The straw-stuffed bed smelled of the sun. The comforter was luxuriously filled with wool, and it was cozy and warm.
At the ranch, I learned how to take care of sheep and how to spin and dye wool, which is a winter job, and was praised by the owner’s wife, Mina.
“You’re a fast learner and you work hard.”
“Thank you. I like work that uses my body and hands.”
Nonna helped me with my work during the day, changing the sheep’s water and cleaning the sheep’s barn. When she gets tired she plays with the lambs. And every night she would knit bobbin lace with wool. She planned to connect the slew of completed motifs she created into bedcovers and sofa covers.
“Mommy, can I sell this?”
“Are you going to sell it?”
“Yeah. I want to make money.”
“If it’s money, we can manage with my earnings.”
“But I want to sell.”
“Is that so? I hope it sells for a high price.”
The rancher’s wife, Mrs. Mina, was in her late fifties. He hired us to live there while understanding we have special circumstances.
“There are many men in the world who beat their wives.”
He said. They seemed to think we were running away from a bad husband.
“I’ll teach you how to shave the sheep when spring comes.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Mina. But I’m planning to move at the end of spring. I’m sorry to leave right after you’ve taught me so much.”
“Oh, that’s right. I’m going to miss you.”
“I appreciate you saying that. I’m really indebted to you.”
I like to do detailed work, so I spun wool from the wool Mrs. Mina sold to me at the wholesale price. As I was taught, I dyed the yarn with juice from plants and knitted it into a sweater. I hadn’t knitted since I learned how to when I was a cadet from a girl in the same room.
“Mom, that pattern is so pretty!”
“Is it? Thank you.”
“Mom always says thank you.”
“Is that so? It’s because I really appreciate it.”
The sweater was woven with white patterns on a dark blue background. I personally think that a sweater with white knitted patterns like snowflakes around the collar and on cuffs was quite stylish.
Dark red with white patterns, dark green with white patterns. For women, men and children. Before I knew it, I had made ten sweaters in three months. After all, when living on a ranch, there’s a lot of time after the sun sets in winter.
The bedcover made by Nonna was also finished. Woolen bobbin lace has a lot of gaps for air to pass through but placed on shoulders or knees, it felt strangely soft and warm.
“Shall we go to a big town to sell? I’m certain Nonna’s bedcover will sell too.”
“Can we go to a big town? Are you sure?”
“I’ll wear a hat in addition to my wig and cover my mouth with a muffler, so it’s okay. Nonna only talks to me every day, right? Children need to interact with other people once in a while.”
I asked the rancher’s wife if the price was right for the items before I sold them in town. With a stern expression, Mrs. Mina inspected the mesh, neck, cuffs, and seamed parts.
“I’m thinking three small silver coins for the men’s sweater, two small silver coins and five large copper coins for the women’s sweater, and two small silver coins for the children’s sweater, what do you think?”
“At that price, it will definitely sell. I think it can go a little higher, but if Maria decides to on that, go for it.”
After receiving approval from Mrs. Mina, we boarded a carriage and headed for a large town about two hours away. I had to buy a coat for Nonna and seasonings. I make all the sweets by hand, but sometimes I want Nonna to eat the sweets I bought, and I want to eat them myself.
While doing some shopping in the big town, I searched for a store that might buy my sweaters. I went into a store that sold sweaters and other everyday clothes and bought some clothes for Nonna. After I paid the shopkeeper,
“Are you open to buying some hand-knitted sweaters?”
I asked. The woman who seemed to be the store manager had a cheerful smile.
“Depending on the item, I guess. If it doesn’t fit my assortment, it will be difficult. Do you have it now?”
She asked me.
“Yes. Could you take a look?”
“Okay, with pleasure.”
And the female store manager bought all ten sweaters at the asking price.
“This will sell well. If you plan to continue knitting, would you be willing to sell it at my place? Also, how about eight small silver coins for this bedcover?”
“Yes! I’ll sell it!”
The excited Nonna replied before me.
“Huh? Did this child knit it?”
“Yes, this child made the motifs. We joined them together and made it bigger.”
“It’s an application of bobbin lace, isn’t it? You’ve done well to reach this size.”
“Yes, I did my best!”
Nonna could speak better Randalian than Ashburian.
Ten sweaters were sold for twenty-four small silver coins and five large copper coins. In addition, Nonna’s bed cover was eight small silver coins.
I was so happy that the two of us entered a fancy sweets shop and ordered cake and tea. There were tables, chairs, and even a small wood-burning stove in front of the shop.
“Would you like an apple pie?”
“No. I would like a cake with a lot of cream. I like the apple pie mommy makes!”
The two of us enjoyed the cake in a shop for the first time in a while. While eating the cake, Nonna asked with a smile, “Where are we going next?”
Nonna must know that I felt sorry for continuing to move.
I know she’s a smart kid. But I wish she would complain more.