Stew (see scurvy)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Dec 16 06:49:22 EST 2003


Charlie wrote:

>All this has reminded me of an interiew with a children's author I heard
>once where he talked about the inevitability of making mistakes when writing
>historical fiction, and gave as an example a book he wrote (set in Britain
>some time before the Norman invasion) where one of his characters caught,
>stewed and ate an anachronistic rabbit - a mistake that had to be pointed
>out to him by a ten-year-old boy (ten-year-old boys are always willing to
>make time to point out this kind of error). Can't remember who the author or
>the book was, though - does it ring any bells here?

Nope, but he may not have been as badly wrong as he and the ten-year-old
thought, depending when exactly the story was set.

Believe it or not, and I didn't when I was given this information, rabbits
were apparently not very well able to adapt to the climate here at first,
and when the Romans introduced them (I haven't seen the documentation but I
can accept that the people who told me this had, and had checked: they were
that sort of people), quite failed to become the amazing success story they
are today both here and in Australia.  They seem to have survived for a
while, and then gradually died out, to be *re*-introduced by the Normans --
who for quite a while kept them indoors and *cherished* the little
blighters lest they die out again.  Or so my muddy evil experts tell me.
It's silly enough to be true.

>That reminds me in turn... I very much enjoyed Geraldine McCaughrean's *The
>Stones Are Hatching* (set just after WWI) when it came out, and sent it to a
>friend of mine, whose hobby is numismatics. His one comment on the book:
>'The threepenny bits are the wrong shape.' Sigh...

Wot, multi-sided?  Tsk tsk?

>Charlie (who just tried writing historically for the first time and found it
>harder than he ever imagined)

People have written potatoes as part of banquets set at the time of Richard
II, and nylon stockings in books set in London in the 1920s, so nothing
would really surprise me.

And Tom Holt has a rat being sick in the corner of a dungeon, in one of his
books.

Minnow


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