Sword of Dawnbreaker - Chapter 58
Chapter 58: Norris’ Story
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Gawain’s sudden question put Norris in a moment of stupefaction.
He was ready to be reprimanded, but he did not expect to be asked such a question.
Should he answer yes or no? Had he broken the law? After thinking about it for a long time, the old farmer decided to be honest.
Because there was more than one person who knew that he could read and write.
If the Lord were to seek out others to learn about the truth, he would then be really breaking the law.
“Yes… Lord,” Norris said nervously, clutching the buttons at his chest, “I learned… to read and write.
” Gawain raised his eyebrows and thought that it was just as he had suspected.
Although Norris had not written a word just now and only drew a sketch, from his form while holding the pen, it was easy to make some inferences.
There was a huge difference between how a literate person and an illiterate person held a pen.
In a world that was mostly filled with illiterates, he had already seen how illiterate people held pens and drew lines on paper in a clumsy way.
The way that the farmer held the pen was obviously of a proper form.
Even Herti looked at Norris a little surprised.
It seemed that she had only just noticed that.
Being able to write isn’t a violation of the law.
Teaching others to read and write isn’t against the law either.
” Gawain realized that his sudden questioning might have scared the docile farmer.
Thus he said in a gentler tone, “Who taught you to read and write?” With the Lord’s word, Norris felt a little more at ease.
He rubbed his hands and gave a slightly embarrassed smile.
“Lord, you might laugh… but I almost entered a church and became a priest to serve the Goddess of Harvest.
I learned to read and write from a teacher back then…” The son of a farmer almost entered a church and became a priest? .
Gawain was immediately interested in such a peculiar story, so upon his inquiry, Norris’ story was finally made known.
Norris did come from a peasant household.
They were a family of freemen who lived in Cecil territory for generations.
Although they had some plots of poor land, but like most commoners of this era, he lived a life with just enough food and warm clothes.
Originally, like most commoners, he would be tied to the land all his life to work on the planting and irrigation, and the only way he would come into contact with the priests and churches, of the higher classes, was to go to church in town every so often to pray, or to listen to priests who came to the countryside to preach.
But at the age of eight, an opportunity came knocking before Norris and his parents.
A harvest goddess priest on a missionary trip from the Plains of the Holy Spirits came to Cecil territory and temporarily resided in the village where Norris lived.
To the farmers, it was very rare and lucky to see the priests of the three goddesses of fertility come by.
So everyone in the village immediately gathered their money, and in accordance with the rules of the three goddesses of fertility, the village elder took a few children to offer as a “gift” to the priest, so that the priest would bless the village’s arable land.
Then the priest looked at Norris, who was eight years old, and said, “This child can bring blessings to the land.
He is favored by the goddess of harvest.
” Just because of what the priest said, after the priest left, Norris’ parents almost sold all the valuables in the house, and the old people in the village were also finding ways to gather money.
They also went to the old knight in the manor and asked for a travel pass.
Finally, they sent Norris to the Goddess of Nature’s church in Tanzan Town, making him a “slave apprentice”.
Although the three goddesses of fertility were of three independent sects, they had close ties.
The Goddess of Nature, as the highest goddess among the three goddesses, her shrine usually also enshrined the Goddess of Harvest and the Goddess of Spring.
And the candidates to become priests of the three goddesses would generally receive the same teachings before their formal blessings.
After completing the education, they would choose, according to their “spiritual gifts”, which goddess to worship.
Thus, when there was no church of the Goddess of Harvest around, sending Norris to the church of Goddess of Nature was the only option for his parents at that time.
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COM Norris studied in the shrine for five years.
After that, he obtained the appraisal results from a higher-level church.
“The apprentice does not have the spiritual gift for the goddesses of fertility.
” To this day, Norris still remembered how joyful the people in the village were when this result was sent to the village, because they were totally illiterate, and the messenger who sent the message was dead drunk and did not tell the villagers and Norris’ parents what the letter said.
It was not until Norris returned to the village with his own luggage that everyone knew that the letter was not good news from the church.
Norris told his story quietly.
The wrinkle-filled face did not show joy nor sorrow, but there was only calmness in his deeply set eyes, as if those things were indeed things of the past and no longer mattered to him.
“The few years after were very difficult to get by.
We had not repaid our debts.
We had no more money at home.
My father did not survive that winter, but our lives still had to go on.
We still had to repay the debts owed to everyone.
” “Thus my mother took my brother and sister to visit the castle of the viscount.
Oh, the Viscount Cecil then was Lady Rebecca’s father.
We went to kowtow to the viscount, told him that we could not get by any longer.
The viscount was very kind and waived off the field tax that we had to pay and lent us seeds and a half-pocket of foodstuff.
We relied on those seeds and food.
With also the exceptionally good crop yield for the vegetables that year, we managed to survive.
” “After that, I worked the land honestly and helped people with odd jobs.
I did work that would take two or three people by myself.
I also knew how to read.
Whenever merchants came to the village, I would help to calculate the weight.
In that way, I could also exchange it for a few loaves of bread.
After a few years, we repaid the debt, and also the seeds and food that the viscount had given us…” Norris slowly looked up, with a face filled with pride.
“During the year when my mother died, our family had a feast of meat.
” Norris’ story came to an end.
Gawain only frowned, but Herti could not help but hold her chest.
“I… I never knew this happened in our territory… We have been doing our best to give alms…” “Alms can’t save anyone, because it doesn’t solve the problem at its root.
Moreover, this kind of thing happens every day.
It’s just that you can’t see it in the castle.
” Gawain shook his head.
Then he looked curiously at Norris.
“I noticed your hand gesture… You still believe in the Goddess of Harvest even now?” “I do.
Why shouldn’t I?” The wrinkles on Norris’ face piled up.
“The Goddess of Harvest protects.
A good or bad harvest would determine the lives and deaths of the family.
Which farmer doesn’t believe in the Goddess of Harvest?” Gawain looked at him quietly.
“Even after you suffered so much because of this belief?” Norris was silent for a moment.
Then his head drooped.
“Lord, it’s just my lousy life.
How can I blame it on the gods? And compared to others, I have at least learned some things and know how to read even though knowing how to read is not very useful for people like us.
” “Knowing how to read will not be useless.
” Gawain looked at the farmer seriously.
“Norris, you have good farming skills, right?” At the mention of this, Norris was even more proud.
“Lord, I dare not claim any other achievements, but when it comes to farming, my craftsmanship is excellent.
If not, how could I have survived those arduous days?” Gawain asked again, “You are also literate in language and in numbers and have received education from the church, so the new rules that I asked Herti to read to all of you and the forms I designed to record the workload should be easy to understand for you, right? If I were to ask you to fill out forms and calculate the land and yield, can you do it?” This time, Norris first nodded, and then hesitantly asked, “Lord, are you going to let me be… a supervisor?” Up to this point, due to Gawain’s implementation of a labor system that required counting and evaluation, those supervisors who used to brandish their whips but were illiterate were already irrelevant.
The supervisors in the territory were all warriors of the clan that Herti personally took charge of (part of the clan’s warriors were knight’s chamberlains, whom at least were a little numerically literate and could write some simple words).
Thus Norris could not help thinking about this upon hearing Gawain’s question.
“No, not just a supervisor.
In fact, if you can do it, I plan to let you manage the whole process of opening up the land for agriculture and even the food production in the later stages,” Gawain said, “Of course, I cannot give you so much authority at once, nor can I allow you to do it however you please.
I will have Herti ‘assess’ you and tell you what you need to do.
” Norris’ expression suddenly changed.
“Lor… Lord! I don’t quite understand… Are you making me your butler? But butlers don’t just manage food…” “This is a job, but it’s not a butler,” Gawain laughed.
“If you need a title, you can call it… Agricultural Manager.
And I have to tell you this first.
This position is different from all the positions in the past.
You cannot pass it on as a title from generation to generation unless your child has enough talent.
It is not permanent either.
If you do not perform well, or if you violate Cecil law using your position, you will be removed and punished.
From now on, this will be the same for the many positions I will establish.
Do you understand?” If Gawain did not warn them about the many conditions, perhaps Norris might still be afraid to accept this “good fortune” because this good fortune seemed very much like the priest, whom when he was eight years old, came to the village and said that he could “receive god’s favor”.
But with Gawain’s warning, he instead gave it serious thought and determined that it should be real.
An ordinary poor man would not think like him, but Norris would, because he had been educated, and even if this education was nearly the death of him, he also learned “logic” from this experience.
So after thinking for some time, the old farmer nodded vigorously.
“Lord, if you trust me… Norris will take care of every field you assign to me, and every food that grow on this land!”