Grace O’Mally, the Pirate Queen, and the Lost Story

In some African and Native American cultures, it is believed that events never happened if the story is never told. 

Grace O'Mally Meeting Queen Elizabeth I

Grace O'Mally Meeting Queen Elizabeth I

Grace O’Mally, the pirate queen of the Sixteenth Century, lived as exciting a life as anyone could ever hope, but she kept switching sides. That was a good survival tactic at the time, but not good in a story sense. Neither the British nor the Irish trusted her. Therefore, neither included her in their histories. Her story was handed down as folktale and nearly lost.

Here’s the question: if modern historians hadn’t rediscovered her, would that be the same as having never existed?

Turn it around. Modern totalitarian governments seem to believe that rewriting history is the same as changing events–a way to make to make their version real, even if based on lies. Same idea? Another proof of the power of story?

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Filed under History, Legend, stories, Uncategorized, Why Stories?

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