Through a Cat’s Eyes – 2.2

Summer Growing, Stalker’s Day 6, Year of the Lion number 427

Day 2 working on the farm. Rather than working with Vidoria, I worked alongside one of the other girls. They found a wide-brimmed hat and a set of the loose-fitting, cotton clothing to wear. I left my things locked in the box back in the bunk room.

The day went well, and I filled my requisite basket of cotton and received two copper coins for my pay.

Summer Growing, Stalker’s Day 11, Year of the Lion number 427

Five more days of the same thing. I now have a sum total of 15 copper pieces to my name. My mastery of the human language is growing, but I’m baffled by the complex grammar. By comparison, Tabaxian is simple in its manner of expression: Object + Action. It’s very action-oriented but the number of words is somewhat limited. The human language seems to have many words that describe the same object or action, some are identical while others imply subtle differences. Then there are more words that provide additional description. I get the impression that most of the workers have little or no education. Certainly, none of them can read or write like I can, and they struggle with basic concepts of math.

This last thing became very apparent today, which is why I have chosen to end my relationship with Griffin, working on his farm. My formal pay for working is 5 copper pieces per basket. Since it takes a full day to fill a basket, it’s basically 5 per day. Take from that, I pay 1 copper piece for each meal, leaving me with 2 per day. Then, every seven days, an increment they refer to as a “week,” I must pay for the bed I’ve been using. This costs 10 copper pieces. Finally, the hat and clothing costs 5 copper pieces each week to clean. If it weren’t for the fact that I wasn’t charged for that first breakfast, I would now be in debt to Griffin, and my debt would increase by 1 copper each week. Imagine how it would work if I stayed with him for a year? These workers all are in debt to their master, but they say that during harvest season, when the beans and other vegetables are ready for picking, they can collect a lot more in one day. During this time they catch up on their accumulated debt.

This all seems like a scam or a con to me. I mentioned this to Vidoria, and she was quick to shush me. “We don’t speak of such things,” she said. I said to her that I can’t continue in this way. I have just enough to clear my account, but it’s time for me to move on. She gave me a big hug and said that she hoped to see me again someday. I said the same, collected my things and, as the sun set in the west, I headed on.

That was two hours ago. There were more farms that seemed to operate just like Griffin’s. The workers were slaves in all but name.

 

Previous: Through a Cat’s Eyes – 2.1

Next: Through a Cat’s Eyes – 2.3

 

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