Friday, October 28, 2011

When Myths Evidently Aren't Myths

I picked up The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse at the library this week. The cover had a girl swimming with dolphins, and I'm a sucker for girl and dolphin stories, L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light being a perfect example and Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins being the major exception to the rule. Anyway, I tried to skim through the synopsis, but it was hard to concentrate because I had Little Man with me and he was trying to do sprints between the stacks, so I just grabbed the book and checked it out.

It turns out that the book is about a girl who has been raised by dolphins from the age of four (she's in her teens when she's found and "rescued"). It's written in first person as she, Mila, tries to adapt to human life under the guidance of a group of scientists. Hesse does a fascinating job tracking Mila's discovery of language and emotional arc as she tries to understand what it means to be human. It's a quick, unchallenging read. What fascinated me was the idea of feral children, and that sent me into a flurry of internet research.

Most of us have grown up hearing the myth of Romulus and Remus, the twins who were raised by wolves and later grow up to found Rome. And of course, we've all watched (and hopefully all read) Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book where Mowgli is raised by a whole host of jungle animals. What I didn't realize is that there are actual documented cases of feral children being raised by animals and then attempting (and rarely succeeding) to acclimate into human community. Sure, some of them were hoaxes, but I was surprised by how many cases were genuine. Anyway, it peaked my interest. Hence, the blog. But now I'm going to go to sleep and have nightmares about what would happen if L.M. got raised by Trigger and Oswald. Great...


  1. I remember Ashley watching a documentary about feral children in college, which got me researching it as well. Fascinating, definitely. And can I say a little creepy?

    And I'm so glad Island of the Blue Dolphins was an exception to the dolphin rule. I wasn't a fan in 7th grade, and I still doubt I would be today.

  2. So that statement about Island meant you didn't like it? And I agree children being raised by animals is very creepy and highly unlikely I do believe! Alex is raising Oswald and Trigger,not the other way around. :-) Love you!

  3. That is really interesting. We watched Tarzan the other day (well parts of it) and I was wondering the same thing (about if it actually works...).