Old farmer’s wife Katharina: There it is the precious thing! Look Marie this is my bridal bonnet. I wore it for my wedding.
Granddaughter Marie: Oh how beautifully it shines, like gold!
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: When you grow up and get married you too will wear a bonnet like this.
Granddaughter Marie: Yes but that’s a long way off. Oh what a beautiful necklace you have there! Grandma, are those gemstones?
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: No, they are not gems! Only kings and queens wear such things. This is just amber. Go ahead, put it around your neck, but be careful. These amber necklaces are quite typical for our region, you know.
Granddaughter Marie: Shh, tell me from where did you get this? Stole it perhaps?
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: No! My mother gave it to me as a wedding present. And when the time comes, your mother too will give you a necklace like this. My God, it’s as if it were only yesterday that my parents were sitting in the parlour with the Möllerings negotiating the dowry. What a haggle it was! My parents had to pay 70 Reichsthaler, 30 on the spot and 40 later.
Granddaughter Marie: Oh, that is a lot of money, isn’t it?
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: For my parents it really was a lot of money. My siblings had to able to get their share of money too. But on other big farms, a lot more money is paid. And that is not all. A bride also has to get a wedding carriage to her new home. Let me see if I remember it all: I brought a wardrobe along, a butter churn of course, a salt box, my dress for special occasions, duvet and pillow covers hand-stitched by me and oh yes table cloths …
Granddaughter Marie: And were you and grandpa then well and truly in love?
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: Oh Marie … of course, we liked each other a lot. But there is one thing you`d better know: the farm always comes first. The farm is the only
thing that matters. One wants to maintain it and works towards that. That is life for us country folks. There is not much room for emotions here. Keep this in mind: love fades, the dowry lasts.
Foto: Bielefelder BauernhausMuseum