From that reliable Finnish epic, the Kalevala:
Start wiping the boards
sweeping the plank floors:
toss water upon the floor —
don’t chuck it over a child!
Should you see a child upon the floor
even if ’tis a sister-in-law’s child
lift the child on to a bench
wash it’s eyes and smooth its hair
put some bread into its hand
spread some butter on the bread;
if there’s no bread in the house
put a wood-chip in its hand. (303)
Oh, sure, when you see it all written out like that it seems obvious. But the children are filthy! Don’t we get points for efficient multi-tasking?
When ’tis table-washing time
after a week at the most
wash the tables, remember
the sides, don’t forget the legs;
sluice the benches with water
wipe the walls with a duster
the benches and all their sides
along the walls and their chinks;
what dust is on the table
and what dirt is on the windows–
well, flick them with a duster
run a wet rag over them
so the dirt won’t fly about
nor the dust swirl to the roof;
shake the muck down from the roof
and sweep the soot off the hearth
and keep the doorpost in mind
and do not forget the beams
that it may seem a cabin
may be reckoned a dwelling!
These are epic tips. If only I’d read them when I was a maiden, I’d have a hulkingly lovely bridegroom already! But now slatternly undoor-washy habits have set in and I’m doomed to an interminable spinsterhood. If only I’d washed the lintels!
31 March 2012 ~ Hamilton
Lönnrot, Elias. The Kalevala. Trans. Keith Bosley. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.