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A Swabian Cobbler-Farmer Survives the Thirty Years War – Hans Heberle (1597-1677)

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Small coins have practically disappeared, except for the Reichsthaler, which everyone wants to get. Whoever is selling or buying anything whatsoever, even if it costs only one florin, wants to get Reichsthaler from the other. Nobody will sell the poor anything unless they can pay in Reichsthaler, which the poor cannot get their hands on. Thus, they starve, along with their wives and children, all because of the money, for everything that is needed to nourish and support people has become horribly expensive. And because there is such misery and need because of the money, some estates and cities in the Roman Empire have made an agreement about how they might forestall this situation and establish some defense against it. They have struck coins they call "coin of the realm" or "parting money," a poor and despised coinage, which no one will accept outside of the land in which they are made. The [coin called the] "stag" in Württemberg has held its value the longest. Produce became very expensive, for example, an Ulm measure of fruit costs up to 50 florins; of rye, 46 florin; of barley, 26 florins; of oats, 15 florin; of flax, 24 florin; of peas, 25 florin – all figure in Reichsthaler. When, however, the Reichsthaler climbs to 6 florins each, an Ulm measure of fruit costs 5 thaler, that is, 30 florins. Fruit sometimes climbs to 8 half-dollars, which makes it 45 florins per measure; and occasionally it rises to a level at which the thaler equals 10 florins. [ . . . ]

Portents (1623)

When the grain is cut, drops of blood have been found on the stalks; yes, even the heads themselves are full of blood, which, alas, refers to bloody war. [ . . . ]

This summer around Tübingen and Schorndorf in Württemberg, fiery balls fell from heaven around St. James' Day [July 25]. They fell 3 times on a Sunday, in the morning, at midday, and in the evening. The event was described in a public announcement, which I read myself. [ . . . ]

Family Events and Refugees (1628 and 1635)

On August 25 [1628], between one and two o'clock in the afternoon, my dear wife brought into this world for me my daughter Catherine, her first child, who was baptized that very evening during the preaching service. On that day, the sun rose at about 5:22 in the morning, and the moon stood in the sign of Scorpio. [ . . . ]

On April 2 [1635], my dearest father blessedly left this vale of tears and fell asleep in the Lord. His age was 67 years, 8 weeks, and 3 days, and he died between seven and eight o'clock in the morning. Thanks, honor, and praise be to God for this act of grace, that in this age of great danger, He protected [my father] against so many robbers and murderers and allowed him to die a natural death in these terrible times, when many thousands have been shot down and killed. [ . . . ]

Note: In the countryside during these times, because of the great war no funeral sermon was preached. For there were no pastors in the countryside for nearly a whole year. If a peasant died in the city of Ulm, for him, too, no funeral sermon was preached because of the great expense, which an ordinary man could not cover. Once again, the honorable council of the city of Ulm declared that no funeral should be preached for those who died of plague, whether in the city or on the land, whether rich or poor. During this year the plague raged unchecked. [ . . . ]

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