“A-chan, are you telling another story?”
My younger sister cried out as I burned letters into a piece of wood with a hot iron.
“Oh… I’m thinking about time to teach you more characters.”
Maybe if you lived in a capital or a big city, but in the countryside, there is no such thing as a schoolhouse. The literacy rate is to the point that maybe one in ten the letters.
Certainly, if you don’t know them, you can still make it, but if you do know letters, there is nothing to lose and you’ll live a better life. A life that allows you to read books will enrich your mind.
However, in this era with underdeveloped papermaking technology, books are expensive. It’s a rare item that you cannot buy unless you are a noble family, kind of like the special edition of certain books.
When I taught characters to the uncle at the pharmacy, I saved a little pocket money and was able to buy a book from the peddler for reading. My sister was interested and wanted me the teach. Although, I only remember about 17% of it.
I was studying at the time, and I still didn’t understand all the books I could buy like certain travel books, plant glossaries, and history books.
I leaned on fairy tales to teach characters by using their want to find out what happened.
I tried to make paper, but it turned out to be a lot of trouble, or so I thought. That’s when I realized that it didn’t really have to be paper.
There are so many trees that they just rot away. I have the power to cut down trees, and because I have Earth magic, I can create the irons to imprint letters.
Although a single story becomes a little bulky on an A3-sized plywood board, I made a basement with soil magic so there is room.
You can trace with it. You can read with it. I’ve made a multiplication table and teach arithmetic. It was as good to use for teaching material as leather.
Well, in my little sister’s case, she likes to study the alphabet while listening to the stories I tell. She is graded by being able to remember the letters and read them out loud.
“What is this story?”
“The Crane… No, I’ll tell you about the return of the Grateful Bird.”
“What a story!”
Her eye’s sparkled as she pressed forward.
It’s kind of like when a circus comes to town. In a world without much entertainment, this gave the feeling of bringing excitement to kids.
“I’ll tell it to you when I can. Mom’s coming back for breakfast.”
I pushed my sister back and moved to the breakfast table, lining up a bowl.
Today’s food was a stew of meat. Boiled egg. Pickles. Baked fish paste. There is no sense of unity, but it was normal for this village, it would be more luxurious at a lord’s table.
Breakfast gives you the energy you need to work, so the word in my house is to eat well and work well.
“Alright, let’s dig in.”
Even though I’m ten years old, as the patriarch I take the lead.
“Let’s dig in!”
Oh, that’s right, my brother came home.