Well, this is our house. I mean to say, this is the house owned by my master, where he lives with his family. I'm just the farmhand and have my own little room here. Aye, and the hallway, it needs to be that big, because I have to drive in there with the hay wagon, so I can store the hay up in the hayloft.
The whole family live and work here, all under one roof. Taking of work – there's plenty to do, believe me. From crack of dawn till late at night. The soil around Steinhude is really poor, so it doesn't yield that much – just enough for the bare necessities.
Fortunately, there's the lake for fishing. And we're all fishing families in Steinhude. Oh, and weavers, too.
Sss, I’m going to show you something, but don’t tell anyone. Look here, at the first room on the left: that’s the parlour! And in the back corner, there’s a writing desk made of old German bog oak. A magnificent piece of furniture, something to be proud of. Not everyone in Steinhude has a piece like that one.
Strictly speaking, being just the farmhand, I’ve got no business being in here, and neither do you. After all, the parlour is special. Reserved for the family, and even then, only on Sundays. It’s a room for Sunday best. And of course, for important visitors, like the reverend or the schoolmaster. That’s when it gets really cosy here. The lady of the house has the stove lit, and serves up a nice meal – and nobody leaves empty-handed.
Have you seen all the hams and sausages hanging from the ceiling in the hall? That stuff tastes so good, all cured and smoked by the lady of the house herself. Even the reverend liberally helps himself, and when he leaves, he’s given a little something to take home. Well, being on good terms with the Lord Above is an excellent plan, you never know what the future will bring.
But it's tricky. The moment I look up at the freshly hung sausages, oops! I’ve gone and done it again. Nights are the worst, when I’m on my way to the littlest room, if you know what I mean... there I am, thinking, "Hans, careful now, don’t put your foot in it" and crash! it all goes clattering across the floor and the entire household is bolt upright in bed! And the bowls put out to catch the drippings roll off in all directions.
Hans, lad, are you short of work today? And with the parlour door standing wide open! Just wait until your master sees that. There am I, slaving in the kitchen since 8 this morning, and you're gossiping about bowls of fat.
Like I said, those bowls are a menace. And this one doesn’t get to order me around – that's Martha, the neighbour, she's just helping out here for the day.
Neighbour or not makes no odds, Hans my lad. Enough loafing around, the stables need mucking out and the hay won't unload itself. As to the visitors – your arrival is actually quite convenient. There's plenty to do in the kitchen, and you’re welcome to lend a hand. Come along, it’s right here on the left, the room next to the parlour.
Photo: © Fischer- und Webermuseum