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Carrying the Kill Home

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  • Carrying the Kill Home

    From John Rutherford's captivity narrative:

    The men think it beneath them to do anything but fish or hunt for the support of their family, and in this they take no more trouble than is absolutely necessary. They frequently kill the game and leave it till they can send their squaws to carry it home, directing them how to find it by breaking off branches and marking the trees for miles from where the game was killed. Having found it, she brings home the choicest pieces and dresses them for her Lord and Master, who generally sleeps till he is called to get up and eat. When he has finished his repast he regales himself with a pipe of tobacco mixed with the leaves of the sumac shrub.

    I was put in mind of this recently when reading a comment on this site about how hunters "lift things", it being assumed they lift and carry game. Sometimes they do, but not necessarily. Why carry anything, if you can get the women to do it? It's well to remember that people in other cultures don't always do as we would expect them to do given our cultural assumptions. Not everyone knows about Frauendienst.

    People living by the chase did, of course, lead active lives, but whether they actually "lifted things" that much ...

    And what they didn't do is go indoors, lift a specialized piece of exercise equipment, move it in a stylized and limited pattern, put it down, pick it up again, and repeat the same stereotyped movement a set number of times. What people in our society have done is to industrialize our leisure. Nor, one should add, are most people in societies other than ours likely to go out "for a run". They might run from A to B, if they're at A and want to get to B fast; they probably don't run for the sake of running. I doubt most people throughout most of time have actually had a concept of "exercise" - abstract activities performed apart from the normal functions of life with remedial intention (if not always result).

    I really have to wonder if a hunter's life would be more physically demanding than a farmworker's, anyway. The latter can be demanding enough even nowadays; imagine what it was like before mechanization.

    There's an interesting piece of reconstruction archaeology where three people farmed a piece of land in Wales using only the equipment and techniques available in Stuart times. If you're inclined to underestimate just how physically demanding that life was it's a real eye-opener:

  • #2
    I wouldn't expect my "woman" to go find my kill and drag it home, HOWEVER, I recall an episode nearly 8 years ago where I had shot a buck off our deck and before I could change out of my pajamas she was out tracking the deer in the snow. Later that night her water broke and our daughter was born the next morning, god bless her!
    You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes


    • #3
      A steak a day keeps the doctor away


      • #4
        Bushrat - love it!!


        • #5
          Heheh, somehow I'm not surprised, Lewis. I have no doubt that any Grok-era human being would dodge physical effort if given the opportunity to do so (and still get fed, survive, etc.) Our inherent laziness is a survival characteristic that helps us conserve calories... but of course it's easy to overdo the lazy nowadays when _everything_ is convenient! Wheras, back then there was only so much work that could be dodged. Having willing or unwilling subordinates surely helped.
          "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."


          • #6
            It's interesting how this notion of only men as hunters and lifting the meat back home seems to support the American gym/diet culture meme that women shouldn't lift because they'd get bulky and that's just unnatural.