Chapter 51: Second Period – Hygiene –
「I wish to tell everyone beforehand, I will not teach you how to cure wounds」
At my words, Vice-captain Victor raised his voice.
His face was quite grim. It seemed I had been completely hated.
「What is it, Vice-captain Victor? 」
「We are here today to be taught on how to cure wounds and diseases」
「If it were possible to teach everything in half a day’s lecture and learn it then, do you not think everyone here can become a doctor? 」
Vice-captain Victor nodded as he understood.
Of course, I would not know how to cure every disease. There were also many of those called incurable diseases. If everything was to be cured, then only God could do it.
「So, I will first give a lecture on how to avoid aggravating wounds and the steps to take to avoid getting sick. Well then, let us move on to the second page of document」
The second document was basic hygiene.
「I will read aloud first, so if there are any questions on the subject, please ask once I finished reading the document」
And so, I read aloud what I had written.
While it was not really that impressive, it was fundamental.
「Most importantly, what is essential for hygiene is washing your hands clean. Before doing anything, please wash your hands first. Be sure to do so especially well when treating wounds or providing food」
I explained as I went through the motion of washing hands.
The human hand is a primary source of infection. A wound touched with a dirty hand would cause the contacted part to fester. Therefore, it was very important to wash one’s hands.
And this tied to the first question from the first document.
「In the first question, everyone thinks a clean cloth should be used on a wound. In other words, it is common sense for everyone that hands must be clean when touching a wound. And washing your hands makes your hands clean above all else」
Somehow, it seemed everyone was not convinced.
I had intended to explain it as easily as possible, but was it difficult to understand?
「And then, in the second question earlier, everyone thinks it is not good to have insects on the things you put in your mouth. The same goes for the third question, I think there are a few people who would willingly drink foul water」
It was natural anyone would want to drink clean water rather than a contaminated one. I did not want to drink water with insects in it.
「In other words, ingestion of unboiled water should be avoided as much as possible. While I do believe water is always a concern on the battlefield, whenever you use water from a river or pond for drinking, please boil it first. While the water may look clean, there may be invisible toxins and insects in it」
Rivers were still acceptable, but there were many cases where places like ponds were contaminated.
Some people might wonder if water would go bad. Water is naturally inorganic, so it would not spoil. However, decomposition of substances contained in water might result to a foul odor.
And anyone knew what would happen if you drank something like that.
「These are the two principles of hygiene. Cleanliness and heating. It has been generally proven that water containing toxins can be safe to drink if heated and boiled」
Next, I shall demonstrate the last half of the document.
「Eight years ago, a civil war occurred in a neighboring country……do you know of the Battle of El-Giland? It was a battle which remains in the military history. The rebel’s army of ninety-thousand was defeated by the regular army of sixty-thousand. Everyone may not have been involved, but perhaps you may have heard of it? 」
Vice-captain Victor and the rest of the officers nodded.
The Battle of El-Giland was such a large-scale civil war where even I learned of it in history class. It was only to be expected for everyone in the Order to know about it.
「Though it was a battle within El-Giland, everyone probably knows about the strategic siege laid by the small army. But did you know an epidemic had spread to the rebels? 」
「The rebels had few supplies to begin with, and their water resources were also scarce. Thus, according to records, the river flowing nearby was their basic source of water. But most of the soldiers who drank the river’s water complained of abdominal pain, exhaustion, and were unable to fight well」
This was what I was told as a digression by the palace doctor, the one who taught me when I was still receiving education.
I never thought there were times when such digressions were useful.
「The reason is because there were many unseen insects inhabiting the river. There is an autopsy result of the insect ingested from the mouth and attached to the liver, which led to death. There was also the fact that the river’s water was boiled and used in a nearby village. It was indeed a tactical victory, but it was not strategy alone which overturned the difference in forces. There was also their knowledge on hygiene」
The second document ended here.
It seemed talking about actual military history really drew everyone’s attention.
Even those who had been sullen a while ago listened after hearing the words “Battle of El-Giland”.
「With this, do you understand that there exists a history of defeat by drinking unboiled water? Cleanliness and heating can prevent this kind of situation. So far……are there any questions?」
「……Did that kind of thing really happen during the Battle of El-Giland? 」
「Yes, Captain Alexander. This is a fact which remains in the military history. I do not know what the insect was though」
Alexander-sama had long looked sullen, but it seemed he was slightly hooked.
As I thought, he got interested because military history was brought up.
「Then, I have a question」
「Yes. Let’s see……Officer Kruger. Please」
Officer Kruger seemed to be the youngest, but he was probably around forty.
This might be a pretty narrow impression, but he somehow exuded an intellectual air. Was his role to perhaps give instructions from the rear?
「You have said we have to wash our hands……but is it not fine if it is not dirty? 」
「No, there are a lot of invisible toxins in a hand. Even if it looks clean, there is a huge possibility of it being dirty」
「However……while Ojou-sama may not know, water is precious on the battlefield. We cannot waste water just like that」
Office Kruger’s words certainly made sense.
I would not know for I had never been on the battlefield, but water was definitely precious. I would not think something like a water source would conveniently be nearby.
Moreover, water is heavy. It would be inconvenient to carry something arduous just to wash your hands.
「Also, we have to prepare firewood in order to boil, and a pot would be needed. Boiling would result to an emergence of smoke, which would then signal the enemy. Above all, gathering firewood would increase a soldier’s job」
「Indeed, it is as Kruger said. Not all unboiled water is hazardous. To increase a soldier’s job for such a pointless chore……」
I felt irritated.
I had in mind a hope for everyone of the Order to survive as much as possible.
I associated with military history how dangerous it was to drink unboiled water as it is and even explained in a way which cleared up those questions earlier. But it seemed they still do not understand. They even called it a pointless chore.
In that case, I shall strike back.
「Then, I would like to ask everyone a question」
「Let us say the soldiers drank unboiled water and complained of abdominal pain, or even passed away. Would you prefer to regret and be left to think, 『I should have boiled it at that time』? 」
To my question.
Everybody, as one, glared at me.
 かちん is a Japanese sfx used to express when a character feels annoyed or offended, like a vein popping in anime. ↩