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18 June 2014
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Myths and Legends
Bristol’s Princess Caraboo

Island Princess

The Worralls sent the girl, in the company of two of their servants, to stay the night in the village. At the inn she noticed a print of a pineapple on the wall and pointed to it excitedly, pronouncing "Anana", and demonstrating that it was a fruit of her homeland.

When the landlady offered to cook her supper, the girl indicated that she would rather have tea, which she drank only after repeating a prayer while holding one hand over her eyes.
Knole Park, the home of the Worralls
The Princess was a great fascination to all who came to Knole Park
© Jennifer Raison & Michael Goldie - The Windrush Press
When shown her bed for the night the stranger appeared not to understand its function, instead she just slept on the floor.

The landlady's young daughter demonstrated how comfortable it was, so after kneeling to say her prayers, she lay down on the bed. Determined to find out something about this exotic young woman, Mrs. Worrall brought her back to Knole Park to stay. She soon learned that her name was 'Caraboo', and that she had come to England in a ship, but nothing else.

Various travellers and language experts were brought to see her without result, until a Portuguese sailor named Manuel Eynesso arrived in the locality and claimed to understand Caraboo’s language. He spoke with the girl and then told Mr. Worrall her story. He said she was a princess from an island called Javasu, and she had been abducted from her homeland by pirates and taken on a long, difficult journey that had ended in her escaping by jumping overboard in the Bristol Channel and swimming to the shore.

The mention of slavery immediately struck a chord with Mrs Worrall and her blue-stocking friends. It was a subject they, in reality, knew little about, but it conjured up the romantic image of an exotic princess imprisoned in a remote part of the world, who was brave and exciting enough to escape her chains.

Words: Brian Haughton

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