29 January 2013

Dick Whittington: London Living

It strikes me that even though this folktale might be a bit hazy in truth, it does make the point that seemingly insignificant actions, reactions and decisions can take you places you never thought you would end up.

Tales abound of Dick Whittington and his cat, but seem to basically follow the below pattern;

Fortnum & Mason's Christmas Windows 2012
He was a poor orphan boy, seeking his fortune in London town, whose streets were reputedly paved with gold. Disappointed once arriving, he falls asleep in from of the Fitzwarren family home, who take him in as a scullery boy. As a good luck measure, all the servants used to send items on the Merchant ships owned by the family to garner luck and maybe their fortune. As he owned almost nothing, Dick sends his cat. Running away from the nasty cook who was cruel to him, Dick turns back after hearing the Bow bells ring "Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London."


Meanwhile, the Sultan of a far off country is besieged by Rats. The Captain of the Merchant ships sells the Cat to the very grateful Sultan, making a very tidy sum for Dick. Retracing his steps after hearing the Bow Bells, he eventually invests his tidy sum, falls in love and marries the daughter of Fitzwarren, and becomes the Mayor of London. 

 
Isn't that a fab folktale? It's not quite true historians don't think, but it is true that there was a Gloucester lad called Richard Whittington who made a fortune in London very young, marrying a local London girl, becoming Mayor of London.

Completely random post, I know, but interesting nonetheless! We definitely have plans to check out the Whittington Stone pub in North London soon.

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