Life in the villages


      The English economist and agronomist, Arthur Young traveled around the world to study the economic status of some countries. He was in Spain in the Valley of Aran between 1787-1789.

    He saw flocks of sheep in Benasque, with four pastors and several dogs of the so-called Pyrenees, which had wide heads and two metal spiky collars. The pastors explained to him that these animals are necessary due to the abundance of wolves and bears. In the evening, when the dogs bark, the pastors come out with fire lit torches, because even if the dogs are protected by their spiky collars and are not afraid of the wolves, they would not dare to mess with the bear, invulnerable if it can lean against a rock.

    The first pastor wins one hundred and twenty pounds and the bread; the others, eighty pounds and the bread. Mr. Young continued along through the mountains towards Puebla de Segur, in the river Noguera Pallaresa. He found plentiful cattle everywhere, and well-cultivated soil with little wheat, much rye, potatoes, beans, and some hemp.

    The village people gave him a bad impression. The houses without glass were very rare; many did not have a fireplace and the smoke came out from small openings. In some of the villages, he had to rely on the hospitality of the priest, due to not finding another place where to stay or to flee from the parasites and mice of the lodges. The lighting came from torches. Women did not wear socks or shoes; instead they used pieces of cloth. In porches of the towns he would see a lot of people mutually picking on each others’ lice.

    The bread was excellent, but the wine very thick. The bread cost four pounds for twelve ounces, and the red wine, two pounds for the bottle. His view can be summed up as follows: much kindness and appalling filth.

    Collected by A. Ballarín Cornel. "El valle de Benasque". Zaragoza. 1974

Instructions: Select one of the buttons with letters a, b and c. The selected answer will appear in red.



1.- The economist Arthur Young was:   

a) Italian.

b) French. 

c) English.

2.- Mr. Young entered in Spain through:

a) The Valley of Aran.  

b) Irun.   

c) Girona.

3.- How many shepherds were with the herd of Benasque?

a) Three.

b) Four.

c) Five.

4.- Why did the dogs wear metal collars?  

a) Because there were a lot of wolves and bears.

b) Because it was fashionable.

c) Because it was the tradition.

5.- During dangerous times, pastors would go out with:  

a) Sticks.

b) Torches. 

c) Shotguns.

6.- How much would the first shepherd earn?

a) Eighty pounds and the bread.

b) One hundred pounds and the bread.

c) One hundred and twenty pounds and the bread.

 7.- What impression did Mr. Young have of the peoples?    

a) Good.

b) Bad. 

c) Regular.  

8.- Where would he stay at in the different towns?

a) At the lodges.

b) In the home of the mayor.  

c) In the home of the priest.

9.- What would they do in the porches of the different towns?

a) Remove lice.

b) Bathe in the sun.

c) Rest.

10.- What did Mr. Young note in his summary?   

a) Poverty and hunger.

b) A lot of work and little money.

c) Great kindness and dirt.


If you are registered, please enter your data:



Registration Information

| Educational applications | Reading |
In Spanish  | To print

®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL