HISTORY TALKS...

To tend geese or go to school

GEESE can be seen in many of the old postcards published in this History Talks feature, usually in countryside scenes. Geese were usually grazed during the warmer times of the year, from spring to autumn. Small numbers of geese usually grazed close to their owner’s dwelling, but larger numbers had their own geese tender.

GEESE can be seen in many of the old postcards published in this History Talks feature, usually in countryside scenes. Geese were usually grazed during the warmer times of the year, from spring to autumn. Small numbers of geese usually grazed close to their owner’s dwelling, but larger numbers had their own geese tender.

Usually, children or elderly family members were given the task. For some children it was their first job – beginning even in pre-school ages. Sometimes these children had problems with schoolwork because grazing the geese was often preferred to attending school.

Children from poorer families were hired to tend the large number of geese in big manors. Sometimes, the children worked only for food and clothing or occasionally for small sums of money. Young Roma girls worked as geese tenders as well.

Today, most geese are no longer taken somewhere to graze but are allowed to roam freely and the village football pitch is often used as a grazing spot.

This postcard from 1913 shows several young girls tending a flock of geese enjoying a brook in Veľká Slatina in central Slovakia.

Pavol Socháň, a well-known Slovak photographer and ethnographer, took the picture and published the postcard.

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