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  • In Finland people drink lot of fresh milk. It is adviced by child health centres that children should drink three glasses of milk per day. Habit sticks with many adults, too.

    Nowadays we get our milk from shops in cartons with pictures of happy cows & smiling ducks & big balloons & blue sky & green grass. My Grandma got his milk differently when she was a girl. Her mother sent her walking some miles to a nearby farm with a cylindrical container made out of sheet metal.

    There was a large cowhouse built of big boulders in that farm. Over fifty cows were living there. People from nearby region fetched their milk straight from that farm.

    It was easy to walk up to the farm through thick forest like little Red Riding Hood, but back home the trail was much heavier and took much more time with a full container in hand.

    One morning when my Grandma was 10 years old she walked through the thick spruce forest once more to get milk to family. The farmyard was unusually silent, she saw nobody outside. She walked to the cowhouse.

    When she stepped in from bright sunlight she couldn’t first see nothing inside dark cowhouse. She blinked her eyes. Then she smelled. Everything reeked of smoke. And of something else.

    When she at last began to see something she saw that cowhouse had burned inside. All the cows were still standing. They stood fastened in their tethers burned black. My Grandma walked slowly the long passage through the cowhouse in the smell of burned flesh and smoke. She looked for somebody living but there were just those burned, charred, standing cows with black horns looking intensely at him with their hollow eye sockets. They mooed at her.

    War had reached the neighbourhood.

    My Grandma ran back home. Her mother slapped her face because she had lost the container on her way back.

    She never drank milk after that. When we, her grandchildren drank milk with crepes and strawberries, she smelled burned flesh and smoke hovering up from our glasses.
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