These words struck me deeply. “We were born into labor and responsibility. And it has followed us our entire lives. It’s in our blood.”
It was 2017, and I was listening to recordings in the sound archive of Sweden’s Dalarnas museum. The voice belonged to Karin Saros, a Swedish woman from Mora, Dalarna, born April 20, 1887.
At the age of 13, she was sent to work for the first time on a Swedish fäbod, or summer farm, to herd the family’s cattle and make sustainable milk products for the coming winter. In this way, village women spent every summer without the company of men. Karin wrote letters to her sister describing every detail of life on the fäbod. She was 86 when she read these childhood letters for the microphone. In her voice, I hear that she speaks without most of her teeth. Her voice is low and