A long time ago when life was much simpler than it is today, lived a young girl of 18, named Pamela. She lived in a small cottage just off the edge of the wooded forest, on a belt known as Tickerton Glade, just north of Scotland. The year was 1371 AD. Pamela was the older sister of 3 other children, Thomas who was 12 years of age, Benson 9 years old and Silvia who had just turned 6 years last March. Their parents James, and Lila both worked very hard for the King of Scotland as a wood chopper and a hand maiden. Times were very hard for the family. The winters were cold and brutal, and the summers were hot and unbearably humid. Like all subjects of the royal family it was required that James and Lila work at the castle from sun up to sun down all week long, except for Sunday. On Sunday there was rest and family communion. During this period of time, King Leavenhoff, and her majesty QueenArla were dedicated to the church and for the most part ruled with a just and gentle manner. Life in general was very difficult. There were no modern conveniences like running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, modern medicine or any other items we take for granted. The average life expectancy even for Nobles was 27 years old. What little food that could be harvested in bleak years could not be preserved long enough to make it through the cold winters., but still for the most part people were generally happy with what they had. Pamela was a kind and mild mannered girl who often would day dream about how life would be if she could only meet a nice boy and fall in love. Her passion for life was strong, even while she labored for hours each day to keep the children clean and the house chores done. Their house was only 12’ by 18’ in size but had a dug out cellar area where they kept what little food they managed to grow stored. When ever the rains came, the cellar would flood and everyone had to scramble to get the food to a higher location. They lived by a small stream that Thomas the oldest boy would fish and get fresh water for the family from. Benson the younger brother spent most of this time hunting in the forest. Sometimes he would come back with a fox or raccoon, but many times the best he could get would be a couple of muskrats or other small animals. Silvia the youngest girl was very quiet. She just played with her little rag doll that Pamela had sewn for her out of some old rags that were too raggedy to serve as parts for any clothing anymore. This period of time became the most important period of time in history and it all began with this meekly family. After returning from the castle where she delivered her mother and father’s noon meal, Pamela stopped along the stream to watch the fish in a small pool area where the water was crystal clear and very deep. As she gazed into the pool she noticed she was being watched by a young lad of 19.She was at first startled but as the lad approached she could see he was smiling and gestured for her acceptance to allow him to come closer. My, what a beautiful day it is he exclaimed. My name is Eric, might I ask you the favor of allowing me to join you? She smiled and bid him welcome. Where hence do you live? She said in a timid voice. I live just over the hill beyond the rivers bend, he replied. I’ve never seen you before, he said. You are such a catch! Have you a lass that courts? No she said quietly. What be your name?, he inquired. I was born as Pamela of Tickerton Glade. My family are servants of the royal. My father chops wood and my mother a hand maiden. How is it that you are not married might I ask?, for you are near my age he exclaimed. With an embarrassing reply she retorted, I would ask you the same, but not in that fashion. Seeing his mistake he bowed his head with apology. My lady I have offended you and with this I bid you well and take my leave. No, do not go, it is I who have caused you stress. Please sit down and let’s visit. Pamela and Eric stayed by the pool for at least an hour, then Pamela said she had to get back to her home, as it was nearing the time her siblings would return and would want dinner. May I see you again?, Eric inquired. Yes, she replied and then they parted. The next day Pamela was very excited to take the mid day meal for her parents to the castle, as she was sure Eric might be near the pool. When she approached, to her delight he was waiting patiently near the same area. How are you today Miss Pamela of Tickerton Glade?, Eric said in a confident voice. I am very happy and pleased to see you again Sir Eric, as she cried with a giggle. I have heard talk at the castle that Queen Arla has become ill and one of the knights has also befallen the same, exclaimed Eric. Something about the wine that she drinks, it may be poisoned. They suspect the cellar keeper. If she gets worse they are sure to blame him, and he will be executed. Oh my, I wouldn’t want this fate said Pamela. Just then a horseman riding very fast went right by them shouting the queen is dead, the queen is dead. Eric jumped up and started to weep. Pamela didn’t know what to think? Why are you so upset? Eric turned very pale and said in a voice very broken and soft, the queen is my mother. I’m Prince Eric of Tickerton Glade…
Pamela was shocked and humbled to learn that Eric was of the royal family. She tried to comfort him as he wept from the news of his mother’s death. I must go to my father the king as he will have no one to comfort his grief. As Eric left Pamela standing there, she watched him with a silent sigh. She knew Eric was in great sorrow. Over the next two days people began to speculate what would become of the cellar keeper, as his fate of execution was surely sealed. Much to the surprise of everyone, the king did nothing. The royal funeral was announced throughout the kingdom. Great sadness seemed to linger for three more weeks as the rule began to emerge from its recluse manner. The king decreed that anyone who could discover the cause of the queen’s death shall be granted anything they wished that the royal could muster. Many scholars and learned teachers began to investigate the cause. One such investigator who was a playwright and mentor to many decided to study the queens habits. He felt that all things are physical, and by enough research he could determine the cause of death. This investigator went by the name of William Shakespeare. After looking at the wine in the cellar and serving it to several animals over and over, he decided the wine was not poisoned. His first question was why the queen and the knight who died a few days later were affected by the very same wine that others of lower stature were not befallen. After observing the glasses and cups the wine was served in he suddenly realized the cause was very simple. He said to the king, the royal drank from a pewter lead cup , as the lowly servants drank from wood carved cups. The lead pewter’s were poisoning the royals. With this information the king had all the pewter melted down and decreed that all utensils be of silver or wood. Shakespeare was so welcomed by the royals to have all that he wished that he wished to only be allowed to write and produce his writings to plays. He was so granted and funded by the king.
Two years passed and Pamela and Eric fell in love. The king was beside himself as Pamela was a servant without the benefit of royal blood. Eric on the other hand, did not care and resounded to his father he would give up his stature to be with Pamela. In time, the king accepted his son’s request and a royal wedding was announced. All the subjects of the kingdom were in attendance. It was a gala event that any other royal wedding could not match. Pamela now was a part of the royals and could provide a happy and rewarding life to her parents, and siblings. All seem so right for 3 years. One day, Pamela’s father and youngest brother Benson both became very ill. They both had fevers and both began to get dark red spots around their necks and chests. The royal medical sorcerer tried to cure them with special brews and incantations, but they only got worst. In just a short few days they developed white rings around the red spots that had began to spread to other parts of their bodies and they also began to grow in numbers and darken to almost a blacken blotch. A peculiar bitter odor also started to come from their blotches. After a few more weeks, both Pamela’s father and younger brother passed away. It was very sad around the family. As time continued, other people in the kingdom started to get sick with these same symptoms. First just a dozen or more people, and then after 6 months there must have been over 1,000 people infected with this strange disease. Even William Shakespeare’s son Hamlet had been befallen with this horrible disease.
The king finally decided to go to the clergymen and seek God’s help. The clergymen stated that this disease was a sign from God that the sins of the kingdom were the cause. It was decreed by the king anyone who did not attend church on a regular basis was deemed to be the cause of the disease, and shall be put to death. In his heart the king knew that his people were very devoted to the church and that there must be another reason. A few months had passed and the deaths continued. Shakespeare’s own son died. Shakespeare was so painfully sadden that he wrote a play in memory of his son. It was called “Hamlet”.
People began to get this disease so quickly that many walked around in the streets aimlessly. The odor that emanated from them was quite pronounced that everyone began to carry flowers in their pockets to mask the odor. People were dying so fast that they gave up on burying them. They simply piled them up in the street and burned the bodies. After 200 years, the disease began to take its toll, as more than 10 million people died.
A children’s nursery rhyme was written about the disease. It went like this: Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
The cause of the disease was finally discovered to be a virus strain in fleas that were carried by rats. When the rat died from the disease the fleas would jump off and take a new host such as people. The disease could also be spread by touching a person that had the virus. This disease still kills several hundred people each year throughout the world. Even in the United States 15 to 20 people die from it each year.
What is the disease? Bubonic plague , commonly called the black death.