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Professor Turnabout in the Irish Potato Famine,1846

Avigail Sharer

I'm not too sure where I am, but wherever it is, it doesn't look too pleasant. In front of me, I see a house—no, not a house, a shack. It's got a door, but no windows and instead of a roof, it's covered with earth. A raggedy looking girl sits outside on the earth, hugging her knees to her to try and keep her warm. I'll just jump back inside my time capsule to find out exactly where I am.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Whoosh! The door opens and I step inside. The Locometer tells me that I'm in Ireland and the year is 1846.

When I step out again, the girl notices me. She jumps up and runs into the hut. To my surprise, three chickens run out. Is this a home or a chicken coop? "Pa! Pa!" she shouts. "I think the rent man is here!"

A big, burly man comes marching out of the hut. He stops just inches away from me and starts waving his hands in the air. "Come for the rent, have you? Don't you know that we have none?!"

"No, no, that's not why—" I start to stutter.

"Not one potato! Not one potato from the whole crop! I sowed them, and weeded them and cared for them and what did I get for it? Nothing! Naught! The potatoes had the blight—that's right, ill potatoes! So now what are you going to do, seeing that I don't have two brass farthings to rub together."

"No money?" I ask. "No money at all?"

 

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