In one of the two legends of the Children's Crusades, quite possibly true, thousands of young children followed a charismatic twelve year old shepherd, Stephen of Cloyes
, south through France to Marseilles, where he promised his followers the waters would divide and lead them to the Holy Land.
A contemporary observer, the Laon Anonymous, records that its leader, a shepherd boy named Stephen of Cloyes
, met Jesus Christ himself by a dusty roadside.
According to the History Learning Site, maintained by teacher Christopher Trueman of Sackville School in East Grinstead, England, 12-year-old Stephen of Cloyes
traveled through France and gathered an army of some 30,000 children to retake Jerusalem, as the adult Crusades had failed to do.