Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com


November 18
William Tell & Day of the Triffids

John Wyndham, the author of Day of the Triffids (one of my favorite sci-fi stories), was born November 18, 1903. He was a diverse creative genius whose life was not without controversy. The internet is teeming with articles about him, one of which describes his work as being in the genre of "speculative fiction," rather than sci-fi, the difference being that there is little science involved--Wyndham merely sets new conditions on earth. It's a nice term. Another interesting fact is that Wyndham began to go blind in 1949 and Day of the Triffids, published in 1951, begins with a catastrophic blast of light that blinds almost the entire population of the earth.

The Stupid Story of William Tell

November 18, 1307, is supposedly the date that William Tell shot the apple off his son's head at the command of the evil Austrian governor of his province in Switzerland. Though the incident, and Tell himself, may both have been completely fictitious, the legend appears to have contributed to Switzerland's winning independence from Austria.

The story goes that William Tell refused to salute the Governor's cap and was told to shoot the apple off his own little son as punishment. The only way this makes the least sense is if he were told that he, Tell, would be killed outright if he disobeyed. Anyway, he succeeded without killing the kid and then informed the Governor that, had he missed, he would have turned the crossbow on the Governor himself. For that outburst, he was imprisoned.

Saints celebrating feast days today include Odo of Cluny (invoked for rain), Mandez, Romanus, and Barulus.
Celebrating birthdays today are Brenda Vaccaro (1939, Brooklyn), Linda Evans (1942, Hartford, Connecticut), and Margaret Atwood (1939, Ottawa).
Mickey Mouse made his debut on this day in 1928, appearing on the silver screen of the Colony Theater in New York City in the first animated talking cartoon, "Steamboat Willie."

Now there are more holes in this story than in the apple. First, a really good daddy would have just said, "OK then kill me," when first given the choice of risking his child or dying. Second, assuming he was a good daddy but didn't think real fast, once they gave him the crossbow, and since he was such a terrific archer, why didn't he quickly swing it over and shoot the Governor? It doesn't make sense. It is a stupid story and I am not surprised that I forgot it, assuming I ever knew it in the first place. I must be in the minority on this assessment of the legend, though, since it spawned an opera, a movie, several songs, and lots of artwork.

Onward to November 19

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