Reality Tweaks Fiction

Old North Church
 From Wikipedia
I hate it when reality interferes with art.
For example, during my visit to Boston, I toured the Old North Church- the church where Paul Revere, et al, hung the lanterns to alert the colonists of the British invasion.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetic depiction? Totally cool. 
Only one problem. Historic purists insist on pointing out the errors to the poem.
Don't they understand that reality often lacks the symbolic flair of fiction?

 Paul Revere's Ride
From Wikipedia
So, quick run-down on the Old North Church. During the 1700’s it was the tallest building in Boston. Because it could be seen for miles, the patriots in their rebellion against the crown hung the lanterns in its bell tower to alert other colonial towns of the British advance. 
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it, the troops would be coming one if by land, two if by sea.
Okay, so 'by sea' was a stretch. It was more like one if by land two if by boat across the river, but that doesn’t rhyme as well as sea.
There is also the problem of Paul Revere possibly not even being at the church that night. 
However, he was a bell ringer as a young man, so he knew the floor plan and was undoubtedly the brains behind the plan. It was his instructions that got the lanterns hung by William Dawes and Samuel Prescott who then made a hasty exit out a back window of the church to escape arrest for “treason”.
What is engraved on each bell 
They did hang two lanterns, but only briefly. Then they and the other riders were off on horseback and via boat to carry the message. Oh, and they probably didn't yell, "The British are coming!" because they were also still technically British. Some historians speculate that they yelled, "The Redcoats" perhaps "Lobster Backs are coming!" 

But who knows for sure. Personally, I'm all for sticking with Longfellow. I like the flair of fiction.

Another place where a creative mind could have made a better story? During a bell restoration, someone wrote down the words engraved on each bell. 
The bells can't be seen during use. The cords hang down from the tower into an enclosed bell room. 
How exciting, right? Messages from the past shared forever on historic bells. 
Not wanting to slow the tour down, I snapped a picture of the bell inscriptions to read later. When I opened the picture on my laptop, there was no message. Not a single one. It's simply the names of the patrons who chipped in money for the bells.

Total bummer. Someone should have called Longfellow for an edit.

Before you go...
Remember to nominate the Insecure Writer’s Support Group over at The Write Life. All you need to do is tell them the IWSG rocks in the comments. 
Thank you, for you fine support 
*Bartles and James did not sponsor this post
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...