Date of Performance/Collection: March 13, 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish
My informant told me the story of the Rice children’s kidnapping in the town of Westborough, Massachusetts:
“Back in the 1700s when Westborough was young, the three Rice children were playing in a field. Indians came and killed one son, and kidnapped the other two. The children were raised by the Indians, and when they had grown one son returned to Westborough and his family while the other stayed and lived out his life with his new tribe. Today there is a large rock that sits on the spot of land next to the High School where the incident occurred. There is a plaque on the rock that tells the story. Sometimes, late at night, there is an eerie fog that can be seen around the rock.”
My informant first heard this legend from her mother, and then read it again on the rock. She tells it to people when they pass the rock on their way to school. She heard the part about the fog from her friend who lives near the rock and can see it from her bedroom window.
I found this to be an interesting piece of folklore because it is widely known in the town. I grew up in Westborough and the rock with the plaque keeps the legend alive because it is where kids hang out after school. You can’t help but read it as you sit on the boulder so the legend keeps getting revived. It is supposedly true since the town made an official marking to display the story, but the exact spot of the kidnapping is approximated. I also found it interesting that there was no apparent reason for the kidnapping. It represents the Native Americans in a negative light in that they seemingly randomly abducted/killed the children. It reflects upon the tension between the two ethnic groups at the time.