From the English language all the way to the Incas

For some, research is either the necessary evil or the to-be-avoided nuisance when it comes to writing. I love it. I love the random connections as I fly from one question to the next, one fascinating story to another. More often than not it takes me down to hilarious paths.

Let me show you how it got from the English language all the way to the Incas in about half an hour: I read a post on how some English words, expressions originated in stories, like the name of characters. Super interesting. Eg. scrooge, grinch, lothario and goody-two-shoes.

“goody two-shoes – an excessively virtuous person or do-gooder. Published in 1765 by John Newbery (of Newbery Medal fame), The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was a variation of a Cinderella story by an anonymous author, in which the virtue of a poor orphan girl is rewarded. For over a hundred years it was one of the most widely circulated books for children in both Britain and America.”

Now that’s interesting, I’ve never heard of this tale, must be a good read! Cue to searching the story online…

Finding a version from 1900 (already claiming to be a “modern text” which is funny to read a 123 years later) and an easier, shorter read here that includes beautiful pictures from 1874.

(I recommend reading them, quite a reflection of historical society and norms.)

Loved the expression “In the reign of good Queen Bess” that the modernised version starts with, referring to Elizabeth I – never heard her being called that before so naturally I had to do some research into this. The first results were actually articles trying to debunk the myth of “good Queen Bess”, who was not as good as her fame. But she did reign for 45 years, that is at least interesting, so I asked myself, is she the longest reigning monarch in England after Elizabeth II?

No, she isn’t, according to this list Queen Victoria was queen for 63 years, and 3 other kings of UK/England/Scotland ruled for more than 50 years.

Interesting that James VI is referred to as king of Scotland, where does that come from?

Apparently he was King of Scotland first, and became King of England only after Elizabeth I’s death. (Fun fact: he enjoyed being King of England much more than King of Scotland. The fool. 🙂 )

I also see on the above list a king of Mexico, Itzamnaaj Bahlam III. Never knew Mexico was a kingdom. And alas, he was a Mayan king. Kinda strange that the list refers to it as Mexico, but maybe it’s my skewed European point of view, let’s check that as well.

And look, it says “Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico” – wow, 1. I was right, Mexico is not quite correct term for Itzamnaaj Bahlam III and 2. I never knew Mayan still existed. How strange that must be with all that history, all that loss behind them!

Cue to me thinking of going back to an old story of mine where I was writing about Incas (completely fictional of course, I’m no historian.) There are some good parts there about crimes, private detectives, and a mystical other dimension but it would take a lot to pull that together…

Maybe it’s time for a break 🙂

Yep, the internet is dangerous people, it never stops making you think!

Part of the Weekend Coffee Share linkup from Natalie the Explorer to “come together as a community and check in about what’s been happening with us lately”. Join here and check out some of the posts.

8 thoughts on “From the English language all the way to the Incas

  1. Hi Andi (or do you go by Mia?)

    I’m with you on this question. I almost regret doing research for my stories because I know full well that I’ll trip over a number of interesting but unhelpful factoids that feel like mental candy – distracting me from the mission of getting a story done, edited and out the blogging door.

    I like to think it’s a characteristic of having an active mind – but I worry that it is more likely for me, it just proves my lack of discipline.

    It’s good to meet you. If you like to read others stories, I invite you to stop by my sight and wander. I don’t charge for anything because I just like sharing them. Hope to see you back here too.

    You could get to know me and my stories by clicking the link below.


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