Good housekeeping tips.

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?

More:

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

Works Cited

Lönnrot, Elias. The Kalevala. Trans. Keith Bosley. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

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