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A Day in the Life of a Peasant
This peasant did not know how to write.
Just kidding! My work starts on the next page…
Writing Assignment: Peasant Life
Today the Baron had a grand feast for the many knights and ladies under his rule. It makes me sick to think about how they can sit up there in their big, fancy castle, eating their fine food, and laughing at each others jokes, while we sit, huddled in our cottage around a fire with barely enough food to survive each day. The Baron robs us blind with his terrible taxes. I hate him. The knight who owns our fief, Sir Bercilak, is very good to us, and tries to lower our taxes, but there is only so much he can do.
Father had to chop more wood today. It looks as though it will be an unusually cold winter this year. We were lucky to have gotten the harvest in as quickly as we did, as there is already a thin wisp of snow in the air today.
Sir Bercilak’s fief is not very large. There are six (extended) families that live and work on it. Our houses are all quite small, barely big enough to be called huts. They all have thatched roofs, and some have only dirt floors. They may not be much, but this place is the only home I have ever known. The fief itself is roughly 200 rods by about 150, besides the fields. Sir Bercilak owns about 50 sheep and 20 cows, as well as a number of pigs.
I can hear the hounds baying with hunger all the way from the castle. They have not eaten anything today, in preparation for the Baron’s big boar hunt tomorrow. I hope that none of Sir Bercilak’s serfs get hurt during it. My best friend, Anthony, is supposed to be there, to assist Sir Bercilak in case he may need something.
It is time to feed the chickens now. This is my sister’s job, but she is sick now, and I am well. I am praying continuously that she will not die. My poor mother has lost three children in the last four years. But anyway, I will be back soon.
I am back now. I hate chickens. Oh, the things I would give to be a noble, if only just for a day. When I go outside, I have to wear my woolen coat to protect me from the cold, while the nobles can wear fine fur capes – when they wish to go out in the cold at all. On the other hand, I take pride in knowing that my father is the one who sheared the sheep, and that my mother is the one who spun the wool and made my coat.
In January, the Danes conquered East Anglia. This worries me, as I live in Kent. I wish we could be sure that King Ethelred could protect us from those barbarians, but he seems completely unready and incapable. I fear that we will be conquered, and utterly destroyed, even though nearly one third of the men on Sir Bercilak’s fief were conscripted during the summer.
It is late, and I will need to get up well before the sun does tomorrow, so now I will say goodnight.