WILD SWAN AND ST HUGH by Margaret Crompton & John Crompton
GERALD of Wales tells the story, reading from a book he has written. Children mime action to illustrate each scene. They may make sounds – eg. MUTE SWANS hiss, MANOR SERVANTS chatter with one another, call out, greet HUGH.
THE STORY focusses on communication between people and other creatures. It takes place between 1186, when HUGH became Bishop of Lincoln, and a few years after his death in 1200, when WILD SWAN died. HUGH sometimes lived at the manor of Stow Park, his country retreat. The moat there was home to many MUTE SWANS. But one day, a large stranger arrived. WILD SWAN was a Whooper Swan, and had probably migrated from the far north (eg. Siberia). However, it didn’t leave Stow Park to return home in the Spring.
MANOR SERVANTS brought WILD SWAN to HUGH because they knew he loved all birds and animals. WILD SWAN could be fierce and they were afraid. But HUGH and WILD SWAN made instant contact. When HUGH had been away and was returning home, WILD SWAN would go to the GATE to greet him.
And when HUGH was ill, and died, WILD SWAN expressed great sorrow, and became – well – depressed.