Pupils digest new perspective in Medieval feast Novel provides menu, atmosphere ANNE ARUNDEL EDUCATION

For a few moments in Millersville on Friday, it was 1450 A.D.

The lords and ladies, princes and princesses, were busy munching on meat pies, roast chicken, potatoes and fruit tarts. And merriment reigned as they sipped ale.


Of course, the meat pies were really pot pies, the "ale" was ginger ale, and the lords and ladies, princes and princesses were really fifth-graders in "Lady" Linda Kirk's class at Millersville Elementary.

"To 10- and 11-year-olds, the concept of time is really tenuous," said Ms. Kirk. "They think World War II came right after the Civil War. This kind of activity really makes it come alive for them."


Her class has been reading "The Whipping Boy," by Sid Fleischman, a book about a friendship between a prince and the young lad who was to be punished in the prince's place when the prince misbehaved.

One day, when the prince was bored, the prince and his whipping boy, Jemmy, went into the forest to have an adventure and got more than they bargained for when ruffians kidnapped them.

That's the half-way point in the novel, as far as the children have read, so don't ask about the ending. But the Millersville feast Friday, prepared by six Queen mums, better known as room mothers, gave the children a chance to sample the same meal the prince and Jemmy packed before going into the forest.

While they were impressed by the fare, the students had a hard time relating to medieval life.

"If I lived back in that time, I'd be pretty bored," said 10-year-old Kristan Bosch.

"They didn't have television, or electricity," said Jacob Greer, who also is 10. "That's pretty bad, but then, they didn't know about it."

Brian Sheppard, 11, said he learned that they didn't have skateboards in the Middle Ages and that he was surprised it wasn't safe to walk in the woods.

As part of the day's activities, the students turned in their homemade crowns for ransom for the kidnapped prince.


"I liked giving up my crown so we can get the prince back, even though I don't like him very much. He's rude. But me and the king, we're like this," said Jacob, crossing his fingers tightly.

While they've been having fun, the children have been learning vocabulary, improving their reading, and studying character traits, said Ms. Kirk. "It's important to learn how the people lived, and to see that people from different parts of society can become close friends, there doesn't have to be a difference."