However, because this event receives virtually little attention at the time it supposedly happened, some students of Mormon history have concluded that this account may be nothing more than folklore. Unless, of course, you are a demagogue who commissions your own statue—a clear sign that you expect to become a myth. Kimball described the devastation to his son William: When the crickets swarmed it is reported that flocks of the California Gulls arrived and settled in the area and "gorged themselves" on the attacking crickets. The town of Springfield is gearing up for its own bicentennial celebration. A historical myth is an idealized version of someone, or something, that once existed. See this page in the original publication. However, that is not what it means to us historians.
Thankfully, their prayers had been heard: Nearly 2, made the journey that year, with another 2, emigrants arriving in His father, renowned Utah historian Brigham Madsen, was enjoying the outset of a fairly energetic retirement at this point in his life, still immersed in research and various writing projects. Sadler Weber State compliments author Eugene E. There are 15 variations of this joke included in the collection, but it basically goes like this: Still, it took years for the story to transform into "The Miracle of the Gulls. Unfortunately, swarms of insects appeared in late May. Actually, a cricket harvest would be especially facile and plentiful compared to just about any other food source in the West. Eventually they resorted to a "three-day fast and prayer," which yielded miraculous results. Behold, a Seagull Folklore! Mormons often cast this disaster in Biblical terms like the 8th plague of locusts. Pioneer diarists reported the invaders in the fields as early as May Given all this evidence, the Madsens had discovered an alternate seagull story—one so firmly entrenched in history and science that they were beyond the point of believing the classic tale. Updated August 13, at 6: They lighted on ponds and pools and in a week all larvae and mosquitoes were gone, and the gulls left—for where? City than there is in all the rest of the counties; still there is a great many of the gardens in the city entirely ruined. If you live in Utah, crucial elements of the more sensational accounts are evident in our lives today. It's a fascinating collection of journal entries, oral histories and other such items of folk record, with each piece presenting its own unique deviations. Accordingly, Lisa Simpson embarks on a research project focusing on the town's "cromulent" founder Jebediah Springfield, who reportedly led a "fiercely determined band of pioneers" out of Maryland in "after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible. Over time, the "cricket war," now called "the miracle of the gulls," became a prominent part of the Saints' collective memory. In the Salt Lake Valley, crickets, frost, and lack of water played havoc on the harvest of , and crop losses were severe. It is said that these birds, native to the Great Salt Lake , ate mass quantities of crickets, drank some water, regurgitated , and continued eating more crickets over a two-week period. It doesn't happen with much regularity, but these swarms are known to recur every year or so. This is a great story. Although little was said about the role of the gulls in saving the crops at the time, the inspirational aspects of the episode were emphasized over time until it came to be regarded as a unique incident in Mormon history. A mild winter and thaw permitted plowing in early , making it possible to plant more wheat and another 3, to 4, acres in corn and garden vegetables by spring. I felt reassured for my ignorance after David admitted he'd experienced a similar deference to the traditional narrative.
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