- Opinion

  • Change for the better


    It’s the eleventh century. The medieval period.  The Polish society is divided into 3 main groups: the upper class, the middle class and the lower class. The lower class mainly consisted of peasants. They were the most hardworking, but also the poorest group of all. They were the property of a person from the upper class, for example a knight.  Peasants had the most demanding job in the entire kingdom- they had to work nearly 60 days in the year to pay for their accommodation and taxes. Conditions in which they lived were terrible- their place of living was a small, one- roomed house made of wood, mud and straw- it was not exactly your imaginary house. There was almost no furniture, maybe except a rough bed and other basic things. Now imagine you are a son of a peasant.

    You wake up early in the morning, before dawn, as always. The sun isn’t even shining yet. You get dressed and so does your family. You quickly eat some food and go with your father to work in the field (you’re only a peasant, so you don’t go to school). It is not harvest time so your mother stays at home to take care of your younger siblings and the whole household including farm animals.  Now, you start helping your dad at work- you are not old enough, so you only clear stones of the land and chase birds away, leaving all the hard work for your father. Normally the guys would work until dawn, but today something happens.

    Suddenly you hear someone screaming. Your father looks around nervously and notices a man which lost control over a horse. He quickly takes a horse standing nearby and starts to chase the man in need. He finally stops the horse.  The rider turns out to be the king…  He thanks his rescuer and goes away.

    The day after someone knocks to your house- it’s the king’s messenger with a huge amount of money for your family for saving the ruler’s life. It’s a dream coming true, isn’t it?  Now your whole life changes- you have a bigger house, proper food, better clothes.  The number of work hours doesn’t change, but your life has definitely improved. You even start to go to school.

    This is a perfect scenario for a typical peasant from the eleventh century. These situations in which people like him would have the chance to change their life were definitely rare, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.  All in all the lower class people had a hard time, but sometimes fortune could smile to them. The same thing can happen to us in our times, in  the twenty- first century.


                                                                                                                           Agata Wolak