Here is a story of gleaners in England 150 years ago:
How gracefully a good reaper handles his sickle, and clutches the wheat—one sweep, and the whole armful is down, and laid so neat and level, that when the band is put round the sheaf, the bottom of almost every straw touches the ground when it is reared up, and the ears look as level as they did when growing! What great gaps half-a-dozen reapers soon make in the standing wheat! Half-an-hour ago, where the eye dwelt on a broad furrow of upstanding ears, there is now a low road of stubble, where trails of the ground-convolvulus may be seen, and the cyanus of every hue, which the country children call corn-flowers. Pretty is it too, to see the little children gleaning, each with a rough bag or pocket before it, and a pair of old scissors dangling by its side, to cut off the straw, for only the ears are to be placed in the gleaner’s little bag. Then there is the large poke, under the hedge, into which their mother empties the tiny gleaning bags, and that by night will be filled, and a heavy load it is for the poor woman to carry home on her head, for a mile or two, while the little ones trot along by her side. Rare gleaning there is where the ‘stooks’ have stood, when the wagons come to ‘lead’ the wheat out of the field. The men stick the sheaths on their forks as fast as you can count them, throw them into the wagon, then move on to the next ‘stook’—each of which consists of eight or ten sheaves—then there is a rush and a scramble to the spot that is just cleared, for there the great ears of loose and fallen wheat lie thick and close together, and that is the richest gleaning that the harvest yields.
Chambers’ Popular Antiquities

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