The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, February 15, 1893, Page 9, Image 9

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Tho tortuous limestone roads, now dipping
now rising, tho abutting fields parcelled out
into long, narrow, stringy strips, planted
with hardy grain or hardier flax, now and
then brokon by patches of rod-headed pop
pies and luxuriously growing hemp have not
succeeded in attracting many strangers. Tho
villages and little towns hanging sleepily
on mountain slope or nestled in valley nook
seemingly have an abiding charm only for
him, who, when a child, trudged his sled up to
the one to have a magnificent slide down to
tho other; yes, clear down to tho old Rathaus.
Tho collection of large farm houses
largo, for tho Bauer shelters his stock and
his agricultural products under the same
roof that shelters him stands closely crowd
ed together, facing tho winding streets. Tho
latter usually make for some neighboring
hamlet or settlement. Tho houses, half
wood, half stone, usually graced on tho out
side with scriptural texts or image of saint,
perhaps oven of the trinity, and covered
with an ample projecting red-tile roof, are
ranged longitudinally along tho highway.
In winter there is the merry clatter of. tho
Hail from many a threshing floor. In sum
mer the tourist is almost overcome by the
deathlike stillness brooding over this Sleepy
Hollow. Man, woman and children, except
those in the kindergarten, aro then out in tho
fields bearing tho heat and tho burdens of
the day. Even the artisan, who at other
seasons stands at forge or work bench, at
turning lay or weaver's loom has been
pressed into service in tho JTomescL Their
wives and daughters, nimbly though they
wield the sickle, are unable to cope with tho
ln this region, as indeed in many other parts
of Germany ,the old custom of compulsory rota
tion of crops still obtains. By this arrangement
the lands lying around and belonging to the vil
lages, are divided into three approximately equal
parts, each called Esch. Thus there is the
Korn-Esch) where, for the season, grain or cereals
are grown. The Brach-Esch or fallow lands;
the Kartoffel-Esch, in which vegetable and other
small farming is carried on. The following sea
son the fallows are cultivated and another third
of the land is allowed to recuperate.
pressing work. Tho oarly matin boll (Bet
seit) had found many a group of harvesters
at their post, a mile or two from tho village.
Toward evening heavily loaded wagons,
decked with hemlock boughs, and drawn by
largo oxen, bring homo tho day's labor.
And no wonder the yield is bountiful: for
tho village priost has headed the solemn
procession and has borne tho blessed sacre
mont about tho growing fields to ward off
hail, flood and tempest. Tho quarrel
botweon neighbor and neighbor has been
settled, tho choir trained to altar-service
lent their voices and tho village maidens
carried consecrated tapers; hence tho plenti
ful harvest.
Much land is still hold in common. That
is, there is a system of communal land-holding
by which every member of a commune
cr parish has the usufruct of a certain por
tion of tho public domain. Those shares aro
apportioned periodically and by lot, tho
poorer and the . well-to-do classes partici
pating equally. Some pasture, some meadow
and, usually, enough firewood being included
in the uBuergerrecht' tho problem of exist
ence is materially lightened. The Black For
est people thus continue the system of joint
ownership of land, which thoy inherited
from their ancestors, the Alemanni or rather
tho Suovi.
Not only in their economical and social
arrangements do these people conserve the old
and protest against the new, but in their ap
parel and speech tho same tendencies are
manifest. The language of to-day is prac
tically that of the time of Walter von dor
Vogelweide or the Niebelungenbards. This,
despite the fact that in school, church and
courts of justice literary Gorman is used.
This conservatism is striking when it is re
membered that tho difference between tho
two idioms tho Middle High Gorman and
tho modern literary German is as great or
greater, than between tho English of Chaucer
and Tennyson. Occasionally an unlucky
innovator ventures to employ tho High Ger
man, but the sturdy mountaineers deprecate