Little Savage of the North – Marie Angelique
My latest poem ‘Little Savage of the North’ was inspired by a piece I read in ‘The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena’ by Bob Rickard and John Michell. In a chapter entitled ‘Wild People’ I came across the tale of a ‘formidable little girl’ (Marie Angelique) who in September 1731, covered in rags and animal skins, strode into a French village, killed a dog and mystified the locals. Some identified the little lass as an Eskimo but others said her features were ‘too soft.’
Anyway, I was fascinated by this little girl who went onto learn how to speak and behave like a civilized human being, and so decided to do some more research. What the internet spewed out was that she wasn’t, in fact, an Eskimo, but had been born in Wisconsin and was a Native American from the Fox Tribe. She was apparently given as a gift to a French lady and travelled to Marseille in France, where she lived for a year, before escaping into the forest during The Great Plague of Marseille. Another false fact was her age when she was found. The first claim I read was that she was 9 or 10. She was actually 19 and had survived in the forest for about ten years.
Anyway, I was about four pages into the poem when I discovered this new information, and had developed a strong connection with my little savage of the North, so decided to stick with her. I might decide to write another poem with all the correct facts installed, but for now, this is my dedication to Marie. I think she would have approved anyway, even if she never did pull on a pair of polar bear trousers.