The Forest Guard

“I began to keep more company with the farmer’s [peasant’s] boys, and I was seldom at home, for I always went with them to pick berries in the summer and mushrooms and nuts in the autumn. But these companions of mine always elected me their elder, and when we went nut gathering I had to stand guard while they gathered the nuts, for the forest keeper did dot allow it.  They had to give me half of what they gathered, and as I was not lazy I gathered as many as I could myself. Once about ten of us went for nuts as usual and I acted as their chief for half the nuts hey should gather… When everyone had a lot of nuts in his shirt (I had the most because I went farther into the thicket) I saw the forest keeper. He had his back turned toward me and his gun on his shoulder. I turned and whistled loudly. It was the signal for the flight. But he heard my whistle also, left the gun in the thicket and began to chase us. The boys, seeing the terror behind them, threw all their nuts away. I also ran a few steps, and then I hid myself in a hole. He ran past without noticing me, for he was very angry. He did not pursue my companions for very long and came back without having caught anybody. When he returned to the forest I left my hiding place and went slowly along the tracks of my companions, gathering the nuts on the way…”


The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, William I Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, VOL II, Dover Publications, NY, NY, 1958 page 1933.