San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 14, 2013
Author Christopher Mechling's new book, Peter: The Untold True Story offers new, unique historical perspective on the origin of Peter Pan, linking the fictional character with a famous, real-life feral child of the 18th century, named Peter the Wild Boy. Could the historical boy and fictional hero be two sides of the same coin?
Mysteriously, in the introduction to his published work, James Barrie suggested that he could not recall writing Peter Pan, his most famous character. Perhaps that is because before Peter became a fictional character, he was a real-life Wild Boy, who lived more than a century before Barrie wrote his fairy tale.
The legend of Peter Pan has been retold many times, in books, stageplays, movies and television shows, sometime mores faithfully than others. Most recently, ABC has recast the boy hero as a villain in their show Once Upon a Time. Peter Pan is also featured in Broadway shows such as Peter and the Starcatcher.
Peter: The Untold True Story is not a reimagining of the fairy tale; it is a tale drawn from true events, telling the life story of Peter the Wild Boy, one of 18th century England's most curious figures. In 1725, at the age of twelve, Peter was discovered living alone in the forest of Hamelin, Germany. He had apparently survived on his own for many years, perhaps with the help of some sympathetic forest animals. Word of his unique character reached the attention of King George I of England, who was visiting Hanover at the time. King George decided to invite the Wild Boy to Herrenhausen Palace and held a banquet in his honor. This banquet proved to be something of a disaster, but the King was nevertheless charmed by the Wild Boy, and decided to take responsibility for his care. When King George returned to London, he brought Peter with him. Once introduced to court society, Peter became so popular that Jonathan Swift wrote, "...there is scarcely talk of anything else."
Barrie wrote in the story of Peter Pan that before going to Neverland, Peter resided at Kensington Gardens amongst the fairies. The history of the fairies at Kensington Gardens traces back to an 18th century poem by Thomas Tickell called "Kensington Gardens." The epic poem featured an infant boy who was adopted and raised by fairies. Interestingly this poem was written in 1722, only a few years before Peter the Wild Boy came to London. As a guest of the Royal Family, Peter occasionally roamed Kensington Gardens' hundreds of acres.
When King George I died, the Royal Family did not cease their patronage of the Wild Boy. In fact, while he lived through the reigns of three Kings (all named George) Peter enjoyed the support of the Royal Family until his own passing in 1785. Certainly he was a beloved figure to several generations of the Royal family, and Christopher Mechling's engaging narrative makes it easy to appreciate why he was so loved.
Peter is a magical, poignant tale full of humor, love, and courage in the face of life's difficulties. It will make you laugh, cry, dream and remember what it means to be young. Available in hardcover from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and at the author’s website (where signed copies are currently offered). It is also available as an e-book through the Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle.