Now here is something you don’t see every day. Or do you?
This is “Chłopiec niosący snop” – “Boy Carrying a Sheaf.”
A snop is a sheaf, of wheat or barley originally, in Europe. At harvest, the peasants glebae adscripti walked along in a line, each with a scythe, cutting the stalks and binding them into sheaves. If they were smaller ones they would be stacked three or four together, upright, so that the rain would mostly drain off.
Below are stooks of barley sheaves in Somerset, England. (Thanks, Bdk, for the upload to Wiki.)
After a few good drying days they would be brought into the barn. In the quaint and far-off times, this was done by taking the biggest snop each child could carry, and sticking it on his head.
Aleksander Gierymski painted “Chłopiec niosący snop” in 1893 in a Polish village called Bronowic. Looks like a good dry day, doesn’t it? By the shadow I would say it is late morning, which it would have to be for the dew to have burned off. The field is otherwise empty as much as we can see, so maybe they have been doing this for a few days, planning their harvest festival all the while.
Leszek Lubicki maintains a fascinating blog, Obrazowo rzecz ujmując,(“Figuratively Speaking”) for his discussions of Polish paintings of late C19 and early C20. Lubicki includes in what I call his Snopek post, his essay on this one painting of Gierymski, a photo of the painting as displayed at the National Museum in Wrocław.
I hope they all got their harvest in on time. Around here we have gotten our corn into the silos for another year without any human injuries due to accidents. Those do occur from time to time, as people work long hours with powerful machines.
Americans continue this activity for decorative purposes, and use American cornstalks, as they would. These sheaves turn up this time of year in the oddest places:
It is good to have things snug before fall hits. I just learned a new jingle about that:
“From St. Edward’s Day [October 13th]
the fall is hard.”
After working it out with both hands, I construe that at the mid northern lattitudes, about 120 days after the summer solstice, the atmosphere has cooled down enough to notice, especially when the wind picks up. Why does it happen so suddenly?
As Mr. Bennet says in Pride and Prejudice, “I leave that for you to determine.” Stay snug.