Station: [18] Village School ca. 1900

Quiet! Silence! I won’t tell you again!

Or is anyone up for a caning? Today, we'll be learning our multiplication tables – just up to 10, mind you. Pick up your slates and slate pencils. Here we go: one times seven is seven. Two times seven is fourteen. Three times seven is twenty-one; four times seven is twenty-eight... 

Honoured visitors, perhaps you ought to moderate your behaviour, before the village schoolmaster becomes irritated. He is extremely strict, one might even say, he is not to be trifled with.

Who was that clattering.... uh, chattering? Kliemt? Was that you?

No, sir, I assure you...

Kliemt, this is your final warning! The next time I hear clat--chattering, it’ll be a good belting on the bare buttocks for you!

Nine times seven is sixty-three....

You know, I've been standing here for a long time, one might even say, I'm part of the furniture. Over here, on your left, on the writing desk, the stork. Female stork, actually. But male or female, the locals can't tell the difference anyway. In any case, the practices here at the village school are pretty harsh. Anyone who doesn’t pay attention, or even talks back, soon finds themselves bent over the spanking stand. And if you come to school with dirty fingernails, you’re asking to be caned across your fingers.

And yet these are all poor peasant children who have to help out at home on the farm, and sometimes fall asleep at their desks, because they’re so worn out. Of course their fingernails aren’t clean.

Six times nine is fifty-four, seven times nine is sixty-three, eight times nine is seventy-two....

And – between you and me – the teaching skills of our village schoolmaster are really quite limited. Sometimes – if I may venture to say so – I would rather take a nap, too.


Yes, sir!

What’s three times nine?

Three times nine is … three times nine...

Come on, don’t take all day!

Three times nine...

Kliemt! Detention! And sit down.

Yes, Richard's a dreamer. And he's not good with numbers. Now, on top of everything else, the poor lad has detention. Immediately behind you, that's the village schoolmaster's room. And children who don’t keep up in the morning have to sit in there in the afternoon and write out their times tables. And getting home late means trouble with their parents.

Believe me, it’s not always fun being a chick – a child.

Who was that clattering... uh... chattering? Müller?

No, it wasn't me, sir! I swear!

All right, then. Now, where were we? Oh yes: seven times two is fourteen, eight times two is sixteen, nine times two is eighteen...

All depictions: © Schlesisch-Oberlausitzer Museumsverbund gGmbH