The Prince and the Pauper: A Tale for Young People of All Agesby Mark Twain
The Prince and the Pauper is one of Twain's best-known and best-loved books throughout the world. In this historical tale set in mid-nineteenth-century England, the Prince of Wales and a lookalike pauper exchange places by accident just days before Henry VIII's death. Each boy finds that his "father" believes him to be mad; each is befriended by his/em>… See more details below
The Prince and the Pauper is one of Twain's best-known and best-loved books throughout the world. In this historical tale set in mid-nineteenth-century England, the Prince of Wales and a lookalike pauper exchange places by accident just days before Henry VIII's death. Each boy finds that his "father" believes him to be mad; each is befriended by his "sister;" and each wakes from sleep thinking that his trying experiences have been just a bad dream. Along the way each learns crucial lessons about manners, morals, justice, and compassion. Mark Twain immersed himself in English history to write this novel and passed on reference books to the artists so that their illustrations could be historically accurate. He was "enchanted" with the pictures they produced. His daughter Susy was convinced that The Prince and the Pauper, a book her father subtitled, "a tale for young people of all ages" was "the best book he has ever written."
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I The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper
In the ancient city of london, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him. All England wanted him too. England had so longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him that now that he was really come, the people went nearly mad for joy. Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed each other and cried. Everybody took a holiday, and high and low, rich and poor, feasted and danced and sang, and got very mellow; and they kept this up for days and nights together. By day London was a sight to see, with gay banners waving from every balcony and housetop and splendid pageants marching along. By night it was again a sight to see, with its great bonfires at every corner and its troops of revelers making merry around them. There was no talk in all of England but of the new baby, Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, who lay lapped in silks and satins, unconscious of all this fuss, and not knowing that great lords and ladies were tending him and watching over him—and not caring either. But there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.
All new material in this edition is copyright © 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
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