The Real <i>Lord of the Flies</i>: What Happened when Six Boys were Shipwrecked for 15 Months

William Golding wrote the novel Lord of the Flies in 1951. In it, a group of middle-school-age boys became stranded on an island without adult supervision, and their community descends into chaos. In 1966, here is the real world, Captain Peter Warner was sailing by a small uninhabited island named ‘Ata. At least it was supposed to be uninhabited.

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But Peter noticed something odd. Peering through his binoculars, he saw burned patches on the green cliffs. “In the tropics it’s unusual for fires to start spontaneously,” he told us, a half century later. Then he saw a boy. Naked. Hair down to his shoulders. This wild creature leaped from the cliffside and plunged into the water. Suddenly more boys followed, screaming at the top of their lungs. It didn’t take long for the first boy to reach the boat. “My name is Stephen,” he cried in perfect English. “There are six of us and we reckon we’ve been here 15 months.”

The boys, once aboard, claimed they were students at a boarding school in Nuku‘alofa, the Tongan capital. Sick of school meals, they had decided to take a fishing boat out one day, only to get caught in a storm. Likely story, Peter thought. Using his two-way radio, he called in to Nuku‘alofa. “I’ve got six kids here,” he told the operator. “Stand by,” came the response. Twenty minutes ticked by. (As Peter tells this part of the story, he gets a little misty-eyed.) Finally, a very tearful operator came on the radio, and said: “You found them! These boys have been given up for dead. Funerals have been held. If it’s them, this is a miracle!”   

The boys’ story was quite different than the one in Lord of the Flies. You can read it at The Guardian. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Miyasige Tosikazu)

Source: neatorama

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