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In 1212 a French shepherd boy by the name of Steven claimed that Jesus had appeared to him disguised as a pilgrim. Supposedly, Jesus instructed him to take a letter to the king of France. This poor, misguided boy told everyone he saw about what he thought he had encountered. Before long he had gathered a large following of more than thirty thousand children who accompanied him on his pilgrimage. As Philip Schaff records it, when asked where they were going, they replied, “We go to God, and seek for the holy cross beyond the sea.” They reached Marseilles, but the waves did not part and let them go through dry-shod as they expected.

It was at Marseilles that tragedy occurred. The children met two men, Hugo Ferreus and William Porcus. The men claimed to be so impressed with the calling of the children that they offered to transport them across the Mediterranean in seven ships without charge. What the children didn’t know was that the two men were slave traders. The children boarded the ships and the journey began, but instead of setting sail for the Holy Land they set course for North Africa, “where they were sold as slaves in the Muslim markets that did a large business in the buying and selling of human being. Few if any returned. None ever reached the Holy Land.” Two cunning men enjoyed enormous financial profits simply because they were willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of children.

Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, Page 60-61

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