Fact or fiction?

20th June 2003 at 01:00
There are many stories about Dick Whittington. He was a real person who lived 600 years ago. Some of the stories about him are true but others are fiction. Which of the following statements do you think are true?

- He was a mercer, selling silk, velvet and cloth of gold.

- He kept a cat to kill the rats in the attic where he slept.

- He heard the bells of London ringing "Turn again, Whittington".

- King Richard owed him pound;1,000.

- His cat killed all the rats in the king's court.

- He left all his money to the poor.

- He married Alice Fitzwarren.

- He was mayor of London four times.

Use books or the internet to find the answers.



Children in Year 1 are asked to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction; Dick Whittington is a familiar tale inspired by reality. He was a real-life Mayor of London, and generous benefactor (his fund still supports poor and needy in the capital). People of his period, having no access to his real life story (he was in fact never poor, and indeed King Richard II died owing him a substantial amount of money) told stories about him that became folktales and these, in turn, led to the familiar pantomime plot. The popular legend of Dick Whittington's early life, that he was an orphan from a humble background who had only a cat for company, was first recorded in 1605, some 182 years after his death (in 1423, know one knows precisely when he was born).

The following points about his life on the worksheet are true: - He was a mercer, selling silk, velvet and gold cloth; - King Richard owed him pound;1,000; - He left all his money to the poor; - He married Alice Fitzwarren; - He was mayor of London four times.

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