Un paysan sans couteau n’est pas un paysan

When you’re a paysan, a French rural farmer dude, you keep a knife at hand. You see them at village meals when a farmer wants to cut bread or when the meat course comes out. They pull out their Opinel and get cutting.

Not only do they all carry a knife, they have a saying “Un paysan sans couteau n’est pas un paysan” that translates to “A paysan without a knife is not a paysan.”

Jean wouldn’t let me be the only paysan without a knife so she went down to Decathlon and bought me one for Christmas. Since we are Americans, she didn’t buy me an Opinel. She bought me an American knife one made by Buck Knives. Looking at the site I’d say it was a Bantam [mumble].


Here it is sitting on the old and dusty IBM clicky keyboard. It gets used for all sorts of tasks – prising open metal tabs on vine posts so I can use them as a place to hang fence reels, hacking through blackberries and morning glory that have wound around the bar of my chopper rotor, cutting off polywire that’s been wrecked from too many cow horns and fence post windings and so on.

It is always there in my pocket and it gets used every day. It is doubtless illegal by some French regulation, yet we all carry them in public places, into banks, cafes and supermarkets. I am yet to cut bread with it.

[This post was inspired by Neanderpundit’s Whip It Out post via Random Acts of Patriotism.]

4 thoughts on “Un paysan sans couteau n’est pas un paysan

  1. Mads stub Jorgensen says:

    Hi love your blog, I’m danish living in Iceland, I to have a knife, using it for anything and everything.
    Thoug sometimes it seems I use it for to many things, ex. cutting the umbelian cord (is it speled right) and 10 min. later I and a quick wipe in my trousers cut bread with it….

  2. bc says:

    Mads, that’s wild! What else is pretty extreme is farming in Iceland. Do you have any photos online? That has to be totally different from our situation here.

  3. SIlent700 says:

    Not just an clicky keyboard but the rare Putty Grey “industrial” version of the IBM Model M. Truly a man who appreciates a good round of typing!

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