Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! - Voices from a Mediaeval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd
He had brown hair. Not golden
like the knights in story,
and his eyes were dark as rivers.
The glory was his face –
The shape of it – I don’t have the words.
He wore a blue cloak,
bluer than the sky. And in the clasp
Was a sprig of white hawthorn –
he’d been a-Maying
and how I hated her,
the girl he might have kissed.
observations: Taggot is the blacksmith’s daughter, shy and thinking herself big and ugly. Hugo is the local lord’s son, and she shoes his horse for him, and then refuses payment. He leaves his sprig of hawthorn for her, and that makes her happy. And that’s it, that’s the whole of her story.
Yesterday’s entry dealt with children putting on a show. Today’s is a perfect script for one. The book, a Newbery Prize winner, is a collection of monologues, each from a different character in the village, and is designed to be performed by a group of children. The author, a librarian at a school, says: the children “were studying the Middle Ages… I wanted them to have something to perform, but no-one wanted a small part. So I decided… that for three minutes at least, every child could be a star.” The result is startlingly good, and all human life is there, and all grades of society. It makes a lovely read (and the book itself is a thing of beauty, gorgeous illustrations), but must be a complete wonder to see performed.
Links up with: children dressing up here and here. Modern village life here.
The picture dates from 1910, and we don't know why the children are in mediaeval costume. It comes from George Eastman House.