This week, the challenge comes from the incredible A.S. Fenichel:
When doing research for a book, what fun facts have you discovered that have no place in your book but they are too fun or awesome to not share? Give us one or two and if you can remember what you were trying to learn, that would be great too. :)
While researching medieval times, I came across some very strange facts about babies. First, most were swaddled tightly to keep their limbs from growing crooked. It also kept them out of trouble, since it kept them from moving. Claustrophobia anyone? And, in some instances, they were hung on a hook by their swaddled clothing while their parents were otherwise engaged. This was to keep them safe. Now, does that sound like a good time? Does give new meaning to 'hanging out'.
Potty training was to be accomplished before the babies were six months old in some cultures long ago. Their clothes were designed with an opening at the bottom and they were taught to sit on a small hole in the ground.
As children got older, they were literally tied to their mother's apron strings so she always knew where they were.
And then, of course, when boys of the nobility were at the ripe old age of seven or eight, off they went to be fostered with someone who could teach them the knightly arts.
Another fun fact was the origin of the royal name Plantagenet. It came from a sprig of broom with yellow flowers, a little plant that the Count of Anjou liked to stick in his hat.
From Wikipedia: Henry II, 1154-1189, is considered by some to be the first Plantagenet king of England. Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, adopted Plantagenet as his family name in the 15th century. "Plantegenest" (or "Plante Genest") had been a 12th-century nickname for his ancestor Geoffrey, count of Anjou and duke of Normandy.
I found this out when I was looking for Old English names. And led to discovering where other surnames came from. Fascinating.
I love research and finding tidbits that inspire. I was Googling (what did we do before Google?) facts about the Civil War when I found out about Smokey Row. Which was the beginning of the plot for "Hannah's War".
Sometimes the story demands the research and sometimes it is the other way around. But learning about the people who lived before us is always an adventure.