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Bertha, or Bertrada II of Laon, is known for two things: She was the mother of Charlemagne, and she had a misshapen foot. Exactly how it looked, we do not know, but from her nicknames Greatfoot and Goosefoot we might take a guess.

The Frankish queen married Pepin the Short in 740 and died in 783. She was the only one to offer their children any education, thus perhaps raising them from "barbarism". She tried and failed to reconcile Charlemagne with his brother Carloman. Apart from that she figures in Carolingian legend as a special patron of children.

Her name and her connection to children has led many to associate her with Old Mother Goose of the nursery rhymes. Scholars, as scholars will, disagree on this theory. Bertrada, if we could ask her, probably would answer with a rhyme or a riddle.

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