According to their rules the peasants belonged to the land, as the plantations, the cattle or the trees. They worked the land, but they had to surrender most of what they produced to their masters.
The peasants could not escape, had no possession or right, and suffered miserably from the harsh climate and cruelty of the feudal lords.
When the crops were better, and the cattle became fatter, their food improved and the abundance made the populations increase as well.
When hard times arrived, with plagues, floods or more severe winters, people would starve to death and despair was inevitable.
Despairing families used to sell their children, delivered the lazier, young or weak, in exchange for food, firewood or vodka. The elderly died of malnutrition, cold or illness.
The adults stood at the roadside, offering children to the passing riches.
The objective was to reduce the number of mouths to feed, it did not matter the fate of these rejected ones. Those who were chosen for sale were marginalized by the whole family. The rejested were the last to eat, slept in the worst places in the house, on the floor and in the cold. Some were expelled from the houses, poorly dressed and without any food, if they did not find who would shelter them or want them they would end up dying from malnutrition, from the cold and mistreatment.
It was one of the ways to face the misery and brutality of life.