"It was indeed Autumn, the mother of Winter...
The fair was to take place on the feast day of St. Kordula (Cornelia) (October 22) the last one before Christmas, so everyone was preparing for it properly...They had set out from Lipka at early dawn…Some went to buy, and some to sell, and some just to enjoy the fair.
Women from Orawa (Zakopane region) on the way to market 1930.
"One man led a cow or a big calf by rope; one drove a flock of shorn sheep in front of him; another walked behind a sow with her little ones, or a lot of white geese, with their wings tied; another trotted by, riding a sorry nag; while from under many an apron the red comb of a cock peered forth. The wagons and carts, too, were well laden. Often, from the baskets and straw within one of them, a hog’s snout would appear, squealing clamorously, till the geese gaggled in consternation, and the dogs that ran to market by their master’s side, barked in chorus.
Hucul's leading their goat to market c.1919-1939.
"(There were) tables sheltered under canvas roofs, displaying enormous coils of russet-hued sausages as thick as a ship’s mooring-rope; and piles of yellow fat and grease, brown flitches of smoked bacon, whole sides of fat salt pork and hams by scores, rose in multitudinous tiers..."
Olkusz. Southern Poland. 1931.
"while at other stalls, entire carcasses of hogs were hooked up, wide opened, gaping, and so dripping with blood that the dogs gathered round, and had to be driven away."
Lemko man selling lamb carcasses at market in Gorlica . 1936
"Close by the butchers were their brethren of the baking-oven; and on thick layers of straw, on wagons, upon tables and in baskets, and wheresoever they could be placed, lay monstrous piles of loaves, each as large as a small cartwheel. Cakes, too, were there, glazed over with yellow egg-yolks; and little rolls, and great ones as well."
Women selling obwarzanki, a ring shaped soft bread that is boiled. They are still being sold on streets of Poland today.
"Nor were stalls for play things wanting. Some were made of gingerbread in the shape of many a kind of beast, of soldiers and hearts – and strange forms, whose meaning no one could make out."
Gingerbread stand. Wilno.1938.
"Now, in every place – upon the carts, along the walls, and, in short, wherever they found room – saleswomen were sitting: with onions in strings, or in baskets; with cloth fabrics and petticoats of their own making; with eggs, cheeses, mushrooms, pats of butter of oblong shape and wrapped in linen cloth. Some had potatoes to sell, some a couple of geese, or a fowl already plucked and drawn; other, flax fibers finely combed out, or skeins of spun flaxen thread. Each of them sat by her wares and chatted pleasantly with her neighbor, as folk are wont to do at the fair."
Women selling herbs. Wilno. 1938.
"And before evening it grew gloomy in the world, the clouds dragged on low...and a light rain began to fall... and everyone was rushing home to get there before the night and more foulness."
The Peasants: Autumn Volume 1. Translated by Michael Dziewicki and published by Alfred Knoph 1924 from the original Polish book titled Chłopi:Jesien written by Władysław Reymont
10/29/2021 09:10:46 am
Very interesting fusion of Polish literature and photos. Thanks so much for taking the time to pull all this together. I recently read Sienkiewicz’ “Of Fire and Sword” written in this era, but was of course about the Chemyleski (so?) rebellion of the 17th Century.
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One of the biggest moments in my life was being able to sign for my very own library card. When I'm not reading, researching and writing I'm riding my bike, sewing or gardening. I love flea markets, folk art, and traveling to Poland.