40 years ago today - Aug 4, 1981-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]

I have learned today the true story of the cricket and seagull episode in Mormon history in 1848. It is well known that birds eat seeds-grain seeds, flower seeds, millet seeds, wheat and so on. The seagulls had been over Salt Lake City for perhaps millennia. At any rate they circled over the fields of grain of the Saints, descended and began to eat the maturing grain, as they still do today. The Saints began to despair that the seagulls were eating up all their grain. Fearfully, they worried about their future. Nevertheless, they didn't want to shoot the seagulls. They many times sang the song, "Don't Kill the Little Birds." [["Don't Kill the Little Birds" was, for instance, in the church's 1909 Deseret Sunday School Songs.]] The crickets realized the position the Saints were in and so decided to be a sacrifice for a good purpose. So the crickets came in and lay down, playing dead, which attracted the seagulls away from the grain. The seagulls ate the crickets instead. Thus it was really, in essence, the crickets that saved the Saints' grain crop. This suggests that we ought to put up a new monument on Temple Square to the Mormon cricket. [[Arrington meant this as a joke, although a member of the division, William Hart- ley, found that the story of seagulls rescuing settlers by devouring crickets had grown more miraculous over time. See "Mormons, Crickets, and Gulls," 137-48.]]

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Enter your Comment: