Kids Say the Darndest Things

I found this story on Futility Closet's blog here. The original source was Caroline Bigelow Le Row's English as She is Taught: Genuine Answer to Examination Questions in Our Pulbic Schools (1887).

The below are genuine answers to questions about English history that  American school children wrote on exams, as reported to Ms. Le Row.

  • “England was named by the Angels.”
  • “The Celts were driven out of England into Whales.”
  • “Julius Caesar invaded England 400 years B.C. The English condition was in a rude state.”
  • “The Brittains were the Saxons who entered England in 1492 under Julius Caesar.”
  • “The Britains conquered Julius Caesar and drove him ignominiously from his dominions.”
  • “The Britons founded the Druids. They ust to hold religious services out of doors.”
  • “The Druids were supposed to be Roman Catholicks.”
  • “The Crusaders were fanatics who fought in tournaments.”
  • “The Habeas Corpus Act said that a body whether alive or dead could be produced in court.”
  • Alfred the Great reigned 872 years. He was distinguished for letting some buckwheat cakes burn and the lady scolded him.”
  • “Rufus was named William on account of his red hair. He established the curfew fire bell.”
  • William the Conqueror was the first of the Mormons.”
  • “Edward the black Prince was famous for founding chivalry.”
  • “Chivalry is a fight on horseback between two horsemen in an open plain.”
  • “A night errant is a man who goes around in the night in search of adventures.”
  • “The Middle Ages come in between antiquity and posterity.”
  • “The War of the Roses was between the white and the red.”
  • Henry Eight was famous for being a great widower having lost several wives.”
  • “Lady Jane Grey studied Greek and Latin and was beheaded after a few days.”
  • Queen Mary married the Dolphin.”
  • “Elizabeth was called the Virgin queen because of her many accomplishments and she had a great many fine dresses.”
  • “The unfortunate Charles First was executed and after he was beheaded he held it up exclaiming Behold the head of a trater!”
  • “Cromwell was only a parallel with Bonaparte.”
  • Queen Victoria was the 4th son of George Third the Duke of Kent.”
  • “John Bright is noted for an incurable disease.”
  • “Lord James Gordon Bennett instigated the Gordon Riots.”
This is absolutely adorable.
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2 Responses to Kids Say the Darndest Things

  1. ggreig says:

    Ahem… Might want to check your intro just in case there are any embarrassing howlers there too 😉


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