Farmer Caspar Heinrich: Dear mother, sit down. It’s time we sorted some things out.
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: Can’t wait to grab the farmhouse, right? You can`t show me the door. That would perhaps be convenient for you. Barely has it been four weeks since your father was interred. God rest his soul. And all you can think of is settling the aged and widow living arrangements.
Farmer Caspar Heinrich: The farm needs to continue functioning. You know that yourself only too well. So let us settle the manner of farm handover.
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: For years I`ve put everything on hold, gone on with the drudgery day and night and then I get pushed away just like that. I`ve become a proper burden. But just you wait, one day the same will happen to you. It will come sooner than you think.
Do you know the parable of the child? A young farmer whittles a wooden feeding trough for his father so that the old man’s food doesn`t spill from his trembling hands. The young farmer notices, that even his own son is making such a feeding trough. When he asks his son what he`s doing, the lad says he is making one for his parents to
feed from, when in future that child has grown-up and needs to sort out the parent’s old age arrangements.
Farmer Caspar Heinrich: Alright mother, don’t get so soppy. We will look after you. You won’t starve. That may be the case at other farms but not here, not at our place.
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: Let’s hope so!
Farmer Caspar Heinrich: Look, mother. Everything will be just the same for you. Just in case there is no other alternative left, you will be entitled to your own parlour and a room and also free meals and firewood. It`s meant mainly as a precautionary measure for you! If something should happen to me or my wife, God knows who will take over. That is why we should register the contract at all cost with the provincial and city court. That is the reason I already made a visit to the Magistrate for Farming Matters. He thinks, we should appear together and settle everything before the court in Herford.
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: I know at least what I am entitled to. I have read the laws and policy on property ownership which say: “In cases where there is no specific provision by tradition for old age and widow living arrangements, the same shall be stipulated at the time of transfer. This includes for the old widow a house equipped with all necessities and enough land to support maintenance befitting the old person’s social
standing. As a rule, this comprises a land ratio amounting to one-sixth of the total estate.”
Farmer Caspar Heinrich: Oh mother, you know that does`t make any sense. One-sixth of the land?! Committed to you?! The farm needs the land you know that only too well. And it is not an acreage that you could farm all by yourself. If anything, the moot point here is whether you would remotely want all of this at your age.
Look. Here’s my proposal: you will get the chamber to the right, behind in the parlour. You will additionally get a bed and bedstead, a chest, your clothes along with your underwear and bed linen. I, in turn, will assume all the debts accrued to the farm. Food and health care are of course included and, over and above that you will get 50 Thaler annually. Can you see nobody wants to throw you out of the house. Right are we? So, agreed?
Old farmer’s wife Katharina: Agreed.
Foto: Bielefelder BauernhausMuseum