Did you know it was unwise to keep a lion in your bedroom? Do you know if riding a horse of your bridge is a good choice or not? Where do you think hot air balloons belong: the sky or the sea? If you are unsure of any of the answers to these questions, you are in luck! There is a book from 1801 that will help teach you and your children exactly why it is important to make good choices in life. The book that used to be sold for six pence is now worth £2,000, so these lessons will not come cheap.
The author of this book, William Darton, wrote this book and two companion volumes for children, thinking that shocking them was the best way to teach them. You have to admit, that is a pretty clear reason why you should not keep a lion in your bedroom. The book was a collection of short stories each with their own moral. The image above is from a story about a man who kept a lion in his room but his servant kept hitting him so in the night the lion killed the servant while the man watched.
"The terror of the gentleman may be easily conceived," - William Darton - The Third Chapter of Accidents and Remarkable Events: Containing Caution and Instruction for Children
Other stories included one about the dangers of riding a horse off a bridge, another had some potentially potentially bad advice on how to handle a Bengal tiger.
"...with amazing presence of mind, laid hold of an umbrella and unfurling it directly in the animal's face, it instantly retired" - William Darton - The Third Chapter of Accidents and Remarkable Events: Containing Caution and Instruction for Children
The book also warned about the dangers of air balloons, and how you might end up trapped at sea for hours before anyone will rescue you.
These books were written for children based on newspaper stories and things he heard from travellers. His family joined him in the publishing business until his death in 1819. But at least his legacy lives on. This book is going to be added to the antiquarian book fair Ink Ldn next weekend.