[Winter month accompanied by squeaking snow.
The Nagato family ushered in a new life. It was a girl named Chizuko. Chizuko Nagato was the child of Saburo Nagato and Haru Narukami.
The newly born Chizuko Nagato had a pair of beautiful big eyes. She inherited Haru Narukami’s strong point because Haru Narukami had a pair of stunning big eyes too. Later, Chizuko Nagato heard that her father Saburo had said that Haru Narukami’s eyes attracted him.
Haru Narukami was originally a trainee witch of the mountain shrine. She should take over as the shrine witch, but she needed to preserve her virginity. However, she had made a family with Saburo Nagato. Hence, when she was five years old, Chizuko Nagato felt her parent’s marriage must be a beautiful story.
But Chizuko Nagato heard people mention it occasionally, only to realize that this beautiful story was through difficulty.
As spring passed and autumn came, father came to stand quietly in front of the shrine every day to see mother.
She heard from Axiu that sometimes she saw Sir Saburo returning on a rainy day and sometimes on a snowy day. Axiu also said that she liked the early summer because Sir Saburo would bring back some freshly picked fruits when he came back late. At that time, Axiu was as old as Chizuko Nagato now.
As time flew by, Chizuko Nagato was now five years old. She grew more and more beautiful, like a porcelain doll. Everyone in the house liked her.
One day this summer, Haru Narukami was making clothes in the room, saying that it was winter clothes for Saburo Nagato. Axiu was waiting on the side. Chizuko Nagato was also here, holding the book “Kojiki,” which her uncle Nagato Munechika gave her. Nagato Munechika was the patriarch of the Nagato family. He became samurai when he was young. Nagato Munechika said that women could only read and study, so he sent some books over.
Nagato Munechika also said that Chizuko Nagato could also follow Shinji Nagato to sit in the teacher’s class in two years.
“Axiu, how do you pronounce this sentence?” Chizuko Nagato held the book in front of Axiu.
Axiu glanced twice, then shook her head quickly. Oh my! How could she understand it!? When studying with Master Shinji, Axiu always dozed off, and Master Shinji often teased her for being stupid. Axiu looked at Haru Narukami pitifully. She knew that Mrs. Narukami was born in a shrine, she was knowledgeable, and she would be able to understand.
“I’m not free.” Haru Narukami just pursed her lips. “Isn’t assisting Chizuko your responsibility?”
“Madam, I don’t understand.” Axiu still appeared pitiful. Those words were difficult to memorize. They were not as good-looking as Master Shinji. Of course, Axiu didn’t intend to say it.
Haru Narukami shook her head and stopped her tasks. She asked Axiu and Chizuko Nagato to sit, then picked up the “Kojiki” and slowly read it. What she read was the story of two gods, Izanagi and Izanami created the world.
Later, Izanami ate the food of Yellow Springs by mistake and finally faced off with Izanagi on the massive boulder .
“Hey! How could Izanagi be like this!? Isn’t Izanami his wife!?” Axiu became angry.
Haru Narukami just smiled and did not speak. Unexpectedly, Chizuko Nagato suddenly pounced on Haru Narukami, but she raised her head cheerfully and asked, “Mother, you should never go to a massive boulder with father in the future!”
Haru Narukami gently touched Chizuko Nagato’s head and comforted, “When your father returns from the battlefield, we will go to the shrine for worship.”
Chizuko Nagato stopped crying and smiled.
Saburo Nagato will be back this year. I hope he is doing well on the battlefield now. Is he full? Does he wear enough clothes? Haru Narukami hugged Chizuko Nagato while remembering the little things she had with her husband.
“Mother, go to the shrine New Year. Master Witch asked Chizuko if I wanted to learn from her.” Chizuko Nagato asked with blinking beautiful eyes.
Haru Narukami asked curiously, “Then, how did you answer her?”
Chizuko Nagato shook her head, “I didn’t promise anything!”
Haru Narukami thought for a while before asking why.
Chizuko Nagato grabbed Haru Narukami’s hand seriously and said that she only wanted to be with her mother.
There was the sound of cicadas chirping outside and the sound of rippling pool water. Axiu retracted her gaze from the window, stuck her tongue out, and said, “Where is the frog!”
Chizuko Nagato often hid from her mother Haru Narukami and then sneaked out of Nagato’s house while Axiu was relaxing. Maybe she inherited her father, Saburo’s character. Although the young Chizuko Nagato looked as beautiful as a porcelain doll, she fought with children of the same age in Unripe Rice Village.
Once, a child from a family in the village caught an earthworm and slipped it into her clothes while Chizuko Nagato was not paying attention. Chizuko Nagato was scared. Miss Chizuko Nagato is scared into a crybaby because of an earthworm. The children were not expecting it. Unexpectedly, when Chizuko Nagato was weak, they were all busy comforting her. But Chizuko Nagato couldn’t let it go, saying that the earthworm was crawling around her body. It was so uncomfortable and dirty.
The instigator only said, “Why don’t you go to the shrine on the mountain? I know there is a pond behind the shrine. I heard my grandfather say that the pool can wash away unclean things. Isn’t your mother a witch before? You should be able to wash it too.”
A group of children discussed how to go up the mountain and then bypassed the witch.
“I can’t climb any further.” The instigator was the first one who couldn’t stand it. He crouched directly on the stone steps and couldn’t help groaning as he looked into the distance. He was merely halfway through the stairs.
“I want to drink water…”
Chizuko Nagato was in the worse state right now. She was soaked with sweat with her legs numb. She even wanted to cry, but she was not willing to give up like this. It was no longer the problem of getting clean, but whether she could make it to the top or not. Axiu said that her father climbed the stairs every day, no matter the seasons. She didn’t want to put shame on her father.
Mother said that her father sent letters back home. He would be back during the winter month. Chizuko Nagato thought about the first thing she wanted to tell in her father’s return; to tell him that she climbed up the shrine by herself. But the journey was too long. The other children finally gave up and went down the mountain in despair. Going down the mountain was much easier. Chizuko Nagato was still persisting. In the blink of an eye, her companions were gone with only her left. She immediately burst into tears.
In the evening, the Nagato household was in chaos. They were still searching for her. It wasn’t until Chizuko Nagato ran back pitifully and sweaty that the household calmed down a little. Nagato Munechika said that the people of the Nagato family should observe etiquette and know the rules, so he punished Chizuko Nagato by not letting her eat at night. As a handmaid, Axiu did not take care of the lady, so she could not eat as well. Worse still, she was punished for chopping one hundred catties worthed of wood.
When it was later at night, the hungry Chizuko Nagato and Axiu planned to secretly go to the kitchen to get something to eat, but they were caught by Nagato Munechika, who was guarding here.
Nagato Munechika said, “I knew you would come to the kitchen secretly.”
Axiu was quite scared and dared not speak. Chizuko Nagato blinked her eyes directly, and pounced on Nagato Munechika without saying a word, and said with a childish voice, “Uncle, I am so hungry.”
Nagato Munechika was not at all soft-hearted and said with a stern face, “Axiu, have you done your firewood task?”
How can it be done!? That is one hundred catties! Axiu didn’t dare to say it directly. She could only show an apologetic expression. Nagato Munechika suddenly said, “If you chop up twenty catties worthed of firewood before 11 p.m., I can allow you both to eat.”
Axiu took Chizuko Nagato away without saying anything and told Chizuko Nagato, “Miss, the madam made up her mind not to help us this time. We can only rely on ourselves. You don’t want to be hungry, right? But wait. I’ll chop up the firewood. You just need to pretend. I’m afraid the old man will hide next to us and watch us!”
 There’s a particular name to the boulder in Japanese mythology. Chibiki no iwa: A boulder so large it would take a thousand men to pull it.
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