Bows, Arrows, & Zombie Rats

Castles, Kings, and Other Things

“There’s more than one way to kill a zombie rat!” shouted Colin. “Shoot it in the toe! It’s the most precious part of its body!”

No, Colin was not playing some violent video game. He and his classmates were learning about the devastating bubonic plague, by way of archery. Colin explained that the black silhouette of a long-nosed rat on the archery targets represented the plague.

“Fleas carried the black plague and they can easily spread illnesses,” Colin learned. “The disease got to the rats, so now we’re trying to kill the rats.”

The rats transmitted the disease through their fleas and by scratching or biting people, Colin continued. Infected humans usually died. “They tried to get help from doctors, but back then they didn’t have very good doctors,” Colin said. “Doctors were more interested in cutting off limbs.”