This was told to me to be a true story, but obviously it can never be verified.
Back in the early 1900's a diagnosis of diabetes was fatal. An old farmer was dying of it, and knew he only had a few months left to live. He owned a pig farm with about 30 different gates on it. The pigs used to escape occasionally by digging under gates. A way to prevent this was to place a stacked row of about 3 locust logs between the gates but all of them at or slightly below ground level.
Now Congress had just passed an inheritance law. The farmer loudly complained about the new tax and that he was not going to have his heirs pay such a tax if he could figure out a way around it. He had a greedy-lazy relative that he hated who was brown-nosing the farmer towards the end. Later that week he called the hated relative to his bedside. Told the hated relative that the best place to bury hidden money was between 2 gates, nuff said. The greedy relative asked about which gate; however, the farmer was too weak to answer.
Well, the farmer passed on, and the Will was read, and it had a strange provision in it. It gave the hated greedy-lazy relative exclusive access to the farm for a period of 2 months. After that, the farm and all his other assets were to be given to his granddaughter. He also left a note to the granddaughter with the lawyer who made up his Will. The note was to be given to the granddaughter on the day that the property was transferred to her, and not one day sooner. He told the lawyer that he was not to tell anyone about the note, and the lawyer complied.
So the hated lazy-greedy relative was given access to the property. And sure enough, he dug up between all 30 the gates. He dug fairly deep in desperation, and towards the end he stayed up nights and dug deeper still. When the day arrived that the granddaughter gained access to the property, she found that all 30 gates had 3' ditches dug between them. The lawyer arrived, and handed her a note from the farmer. And this is what the note read: "Near every one of the gates on my farm you will find 3 locust logs cut to the right length to fit between the gates. Your uncle Juston has dug up the ground between the gates for you, so that the only thing you have to do is stack the logs between the gates then cover with dirt. Thhis way you will never have pigs escaping by digging out from under the gates."
I"ve heard a similar one. An old man in Tuscany had married late, had two sons that were strapping fellows but lazy. They'd rather party in town than work, and were fair of skin and soft smooth hands-the had disdain for their father's tan and calloused hands. He lay dying in the early spring and he called the sons to his bedside. He told them he'd buried his fortune in the Vineyard near one of the vines. He didn't remember where. Well this would mean easy street for these two so they started to dig. It got to fall, they looked at themselves, with suntans and calloused hands instead of the smooth soft white ones they had had. And at the Vinyard. With the attention the vines had put on and produced. And they understood what their father had meant. The fortune was the vines and the crop.
I did something similar to this. Returning to school in fall for 8th grade I had spent summer making hay. I had worn out two pairs of leather work gloves. I had a farmer tan (v neck front, arms to mid bicep, and back and sides between braband area and top of jeans (wore a cotton buttondown shirt with sleeves rolled up and tied in front center as a halter top. So the front of stomach was paler...). A classmate's older brother, sophomore, liked to tease/rag/bully me. We had just started classes and were in studyhall. He and his two buddies chose to sit across from me at the banquet table, and he said 'what did you do this summer?' in some pretty insulting tones. His father farmed but this kid was pale, he'd not sat on a tractor. I took his hands, his soft white hands, and put them on his notebook palm up. He was curious so he let me. I took mine and laid them on the table bracketing him. Tan is obvious as are the callouses. After giving him a moment to look "I WORKED all summer, what did you do?" He blushed SO dark, his two buddies laughed so hard they ended up on the floor, and he sat there and BURNED. The teacher supervising studyhall asked what was going on, they're all going 'nothing' as the two on the floor needed oxygen. Until he graduated, he never came near me again.
I know for a fact this is a true story. I gave it to Downeast Magazine but they said it was to crass for their publication. If anyone knows that publication, it is not exactly Permiculturally based...
Anyway my Great-Grandfather was a potato farmer and at the conclusion of the season when the potatoes were all in the potato house, a huge party commenced. Well in 1943 labor was a problem due to the war so he contacted the War Dept and got them to bring down German Prisoner's from Bangor. These guys actually liked to get out and work, amazed that the war had not affected America much. Anyway they did a really good job getting the potatoes in for the year and so my Grandfather rolled out the cider barrels and had a rip-roaring party as he had always done. Yes this included prisoners and guards. It was pretty early in the morning when the prisoners and the guards returned to the camp up in Bangor; all well lit, but to the hagrin of the commander of the camp.
The next day the commander of the camp came down and demanded to know why my Great-Grandfather allowed prisoners and guards to get drunk when they were the ones shooting at his sons who were fighting in the war?. My Great-Grandfather told him they worked hard, got the potatoes in the potatoes house and he had no issue with them. As they talked, the commander of the POW camp had to sample the cider in question and it was later said that he too was pretty well lit when he returned never saying anything to the War Dept about the breach in security.
It was also later said that one of the reasons German's were not bitter after the war was that POW's returned saying they were well treated. I would like to think my family had a tiny part of that.
(Note: I was talking to my Great-Aunt about this before she died, and she said that one of the German POW's was watching her work around the farm and was not watching where he was going and ran right into a tree. In her youth she was very pretty, and I assume it had been a bit since the man had seen a woman. My Aunt also admitted she was only 14! )
I found a beautiful pie. And a tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard