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I’m having great fun reading “Noth- und Hülfs-Büchlein für Bauersleute” from 1788, only a 1980 Taschenbuch at the moment but I think I’ll have to get an original copy.
I became aware of it’s existence after reading Pfarrer Köhler’s account of meeting the author in 1813/14 (Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen), apparently in the late 18th Century it was second only to The Bible in popularity in Germany. It’s easy to see why.
Little anecdotes such as the Hauptmann’s wife’s grisly fate and the vicar keeping the elders out of the pub after Church by reading the book aloud (to the disgust of the landlord and delight of their families) are quite wonderful to read a couple of hundred years later by a foreigner like me, they must have seemed amazing at the time.
I wonder if the fate of the Hauptmann’s poor wife, buried alive in the crypt, inspired von der Marwitz’s fear of being buried alive? The book would no doubt have been known to him, or perhaps it was just a common fear before modern medicine got better at detecting these things? Much better I hope.
On a slightly lighter note, I loved the little poem about Beer and Wine, together with it’s charming illustration, particularly appropriate to me after the pubs here opened again last weekend.