We were recently looking through our archive of recorded PBS shows (since World on Fire has finished for now) and came across an assortment of Lark Rise to Candleford episodes. This series was based on the novel by Flora Thompson, recounting her childhood in Oxfordshire, England. It remains one of our favorite PBS series to date, and we still quote it often.
Anyhow, I pressed play on one of those old recorded episodes, and quite coincidentally, the story that week was about an epidemic. Instead of being hard to watch, it ended up being the most beautiful and encouraging message about overcoming illness and getting on with the work that had to be done.
Here's a brief summary...
In the poor village of Lark Rise, harvest is the very most important time of year. Everyone gathers in the fields to help bring in the wheat. Men scythe, young boys assemble the sheaves, women and children glean or "leaze" any ears of wheat that are missed. To set the pace for their work, they sing...
Jackie boy! (Master!) Sing ye well! (Very well!)
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green, O
After the first days of harvesting, several children fall ill of measles. Their mothers are faced with a dilemma, as staying home to tend the children would mean sacrificing the family's annual allotment of wheat. Finally, they come up with a solution to quarantine all of the sick children at Queenie's cottage (the oldest, wisest woman of the village and unofficial apothecary of sorts.) There, they will be well cared for, while the harvest work can continue. Even the people of nearby Candleford pitch in to help, some in the fields and some tending to patients.
It is such an inspiring story about overcoming tragedy and facing challenges - a message we can certainly learn from today.
If you'd like to catch up on the Larkrise series, here are a few streaming options. Or check your local library for the DVD. (This particular episode is Season 3, Episode 4.)
Thank you for stopping by,