CHAPTER 10
THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE

"Come tell me how you live," I cried,
"'And what it is you do!"

LEWIS CARROLL

ECONOMIC slumps and booms make unsatisfactory reading. When all the trends have been followed, all the statistics scanned, the reader must be left in almost complete ignorance of the life of the people that they purport to describe. How do the Finnish people live? It may be well to avoid generalization for the moment and take actual examples.

In the late summer of 1937 the present writer visited three Finnish farms. Let us call them Rautala, Simola and Toivala, and hope that they are not untypical of the small, the medium-sized and the large farm respectively.

Rautala lies in a clearing in the birch woods in the hill- and lake-country of central Finland. There are nearly twenty acres of cultivated land under oats, rye, fodder crops and potatoes and four times as many of forest. The farm buildings look like a miniature village. The newest and most carefully tended is the bath-house, a trim wooden hut with paved floor and a new iron stove covered with small stones on which water is sprinkled to make steam for the bath when the stove is heated. The largest is the shippen. It too has stone floors, strewn with broken birch-bark in the cow stalls, with straw in the pigsties, with hay in the horse's box. All these, sties, stalls and stable, are in one room, as

-186-

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