The closest comparison to our time and Crispin's would have to go back to the time of slavery. The peasants were owned by their feudal lord in the sense that they could not leave town, baptize their children, or even marry without the lord's permission. In return, the lord was to provide protection to his people. Where people live is not dictated by a lord, but by the economy;where someone lives depends on their income and what they can afford. Crispin and his mother would be entitled to social security benefits if the father is dead before the child reaches 18 (21 if in college). Their diet was very unhealthy. Crispin would have been in school, not laboring in the fields. There he would qualify for free or reduced lunch prices (and breakfast) and a more balanced diet. The laboreres would be paid in money, not protection! The tax burden would not be solely on the peasants. Crispin would have been placed in a foster home when his mother died until he reached 18. Bear would have to have a business license to perform in public, and he might even be arrested because he was loitering in a public place and possibly creating a public nuisance. Crispin would have had a birth certificate and know exactly how old he was. His mother would have been buried in a casket in the cemetery, not a shroud. The boy could not have been declared a wolf's head and been hunted down, marked for death at anyone's hand. There would be a detention facility with sanitary conditions and nutritious food with a jury trial later on. I doubt a case could be made against him for theft or murder, and since he's a child, he wouldn't be executed. Historical fiction like this novel really is an eye-opener. People complain about things in their lives that aren't fair. Picture living in the past!