There is a UK television series I sometimes watch, "Who Do You Think You Are?" The premise is that a celebrity traces their roots back through history to discover more about their ancestory. Different episodes have encovered numerous revelations that have often moved the individual to greatly appreciate the hardships their grandparents, great grandparents and so on went through. It is programmes such as this that show us just how important the study of history really is. We should never be shackled by our past or get caught up in genetic determinism, but respecting our ancestors and understanding how our genes finally arrived where they are provides us with more motivation and to value the life we life today. These thoughts came to me when I was pondering my strong views on the importance of the past, the present and the future. They will probably end up in an article in the near future, but for now they surface to help me reply to two wonderful emails I received from two more people my book "The Legend of Salt and Sauce" has touched.
Those of you who read this blog in November 2008 will recall the fact that members of the Karim family independently contacted me regarding "The Legend of Salt and Sauce". Their thanks and some of their attendance at the launch of my book's second edition were a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Their family in the UK could trace a major turning point to the incident when Salt the elephant became stuck in Vauxhall Lake, Canterbury, and her subsequent death one week later. The episode resulted in Prince Abdul Karim, his wife and their seven children being made homeless and eventually settling in Canterbury thanks to the kindness of the residents. Now I have had emails from a close relative of Sauce's final keeper, Les "Steve" Stephens, and also a descendent of Harry Lockhart, brother of George Lockhart, the trainer who was killed by Sauce.
It is my hope that the information in my book can help and also that both individuals can use it to further their own researches and hopefully return with more data - be they corrections or additions. This sort of investigation keeps history living and justifies the reason for writing historical books. As I have said before, there are no absolutes. History is about sourcing and establishing facts in order that we can better paint a truthful picture of our pasts. I look forward to seeing how it all progresses and hopefully "The Legend of Salt and Sauce" will touch more people.
NOTE: The above picture depicts Sam and Harry Lockhart working on Ringlings circus in the USA. One brother apparently presented the "a" group of elephants and the other the "b" group.