I don't remember the exact stat progression, but that actually is normal, for this game at least. Ys I only has a maximum level of 10, believe it or not (Ys II is 55, and thus doesn't increase STR nearly as much per level). But even with so few levels to gain, it's still plenty difficult (well, maybe not so much on Easy =p).
Oh man, reading this talk on Ys 1 makes me want to play it all over again, another version in particular, like this Complete version (played 1 & 2 for PSP, and 1 only for PCE). Sigh, but I still have yet to complete LoH: TitS for PSP, playing two different games at the same is out of the question, and man, is TitS ever long & massive! Had I have known it was gonna take this long to complete, I would of took Red Hairdo's advice to play another Ys game next instead of taking a break with another Falcom game. ... But I'm almost done TitS, as I'm on the last chapter finally (got over 70 hours in the game right now. And I never put this much time into an RPG in my entire life).
Not that I'm not enjoying TitS, in fact I'm enjoying it very much (if not, I would of stopped long ago). Just that man, I can't shake this Ys kick I'm on at all. I need my Ys fix soon, cause I've been way too long without it!... Now 'm in the middle of a move too. So more delays.