Surprising what can be found lurking in a twelve-year old’s worn leather bag…
I have pondered the poignant content several times since its discovery and wonder if it will have the same impact on you as it did me…
To whom may be reading this,
Hello, I’m Timothy. I hope you’re reading this many years after the time in which I write this. And that my letter finds you well. I am hoping that whatever this awful disease is, it has found a cure.
Today it is the 25th of June 1340, I am writing this at the age of 12 years and today is also my birthday. It has been two years and 2 days since this horrible disease has become upon us.
My mother explained to me that the cats and dogs are carrying it and it’s there fault. But due to this terrifying thing, now whenever I walk through what used to be our lovely village all I see now is animals, like cats and dogs being blamed and killed. I see crosses on doors of houses telling us not to go in, everyone holding bunches of flowers and flowers sat in lonely windowsills. I see strange men wearing long black coats and an oddly looking pointy like mask although Mama tells me that there the doctors helping the poorly people, but she won’t tell me why they wear those strange masks. On the odd occassion I overhear conversations from people saying that it’s Mars and Saturn that have moved closer together and made the air bad. Sometimes when I go up to the local shop I see men whipping themselves, apparently it’s because God has been punishing us all because he’s angry, although I think Mama’s right, and God is better than that and wouldn’t punish in such a horrid way, instead would forgive our sins and give us another chance.
My birthday’s been different this year, by that I mean worse. Last year we didn’t celebrate like usual. I still had Mama and Grandmama but no other family or friends, but now I know why. But this year we didn’t even celebrate. I mean, Mama was here, obviously, but no one else, though I guess that doesn’t matter because now I just pray that this will all go away, and everything can go back to how it used to be, when the village was lovely and there weren’t any doctors, if that’s what they even are.
Right now, I’m a bit worried about Mama, the other morning I heard her being sick, and then yesterday one of the creepy looking men knocked on the door. with his long cloak and black pointy mask, and he was asking for Mama and ever since he came we have a cross on our door, flowers all around, the living room, my room, though I don’t know about Mama. She won’t let me in to see her now, and I haven’t seen her since yesterday and it’s now 8:00pm. I just want to hug her and make sure she’s ok. The supposedly doctor comes in the mornings with a jug of water and 3 meals, I’m guessing breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just closed my blinds ready to sleep and the streets are filled with quick, crawling, black coloured rats.
I really must go to bed.
It wasn’t really found in the crevice of the wall of an ancient cottage…(although, to my mind, it could have been) and the punctuation, spelling and grammar are as delightfully un-honed as the written narrative of any child of that age…
It was actually a piece of school homework about the Bubonic Plague written by one of my grandaughters whose twelfth birthday happens later this Summer…
I was so touched by the empathic part of her imagination that I asked her permission to reproduce it on here now that it’s been handed in for marking at school…
(…and if it doesn’t get an A+, I’m off to see the teacher…. 😉 xx)