E Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children accused of ‘plagiarism’

The three children…witness a landslide on to the tracks, and bravely save a train from crashing into it by waving warning flags made from the girls’ red flannel petticoats…

But it has now emerged that the dramatic episode may not have been purely the result of Nesbit’s imagination. Another children’s book – published in 1896, nine years before The Railway Children appeared – includes an episode seemingly too similar for coincidence alone.

And what about the similarity to the song “Old Hiram’s Goat?”

“Old Hiram’s Goat
Was a feeling fine
Ate three red shirts
Right off of the line

Mrs Murphy the cook
She beat him black
and tied him to
the raidroad track

Singin’ “Au Revoir”
But not Good-Bye
Cause that old goat
Wasn’t doomed to die

He coughed and coughed
in Mortal Pain
Coughed up those shirts
And flagged the train”

Full story at link above.

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2 thoughts on “E Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children accused of ‘plagiarism’

  1. That kind of makes me wonder if both stories might be based on a real event.

    1. That’s an excellent point–and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.

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