The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain (1835-1910)

The Prince and the


Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Type of Work:

Social and political satire


England, 1547

Principal Characters

Edward Tudor-young Prince of Wales

Tom Canty-a pauper boy

Miles Hendon-a kindhearted noblemen

Story Overview

A boy was born on an autumm afternoon
to a poverty-stricken Canty family. With the state of London\'s sixteenth-century
economy staring them in the face, the family did not want the child.

On the same day another English lad was
born into the rich and royal Tudor family. These parents savored their
baby - infact all of England had longed, hoped and prayed for this son.

Now that he had arrived the, British subjects were overjoyed; young Edward

Tudor, Prince of Wales was revered by all - in stark contrast to Tom Cantry\'s
birth, of which no one took note excepting his family, who was only troubled
by his arrival.

Tom Cantry grew up in Offal Court. He lived
a wrentched life, and indeed, knew no other. Every morning Tom was sent
off to beg. If he came home emty-handed, his father and his grandmother
would soundly beat him. So, often, when the afternoon rolled around and
the boy reckoned that he had begged enough to avoid a beating, he would
race to Father Andrew\'s monestary for the remainder of the day. Over the
months, good Father taught Tom how to read, gave him some intruction in

Latin, and recited wondrous tales of royalty. And because of his education,
intelligence and grace, Tom seemed far wiser than others his age. Peoplke
would frequently come seeking his advice, despite his low station.

But it was the beggar boy\'s greatest wish
to witness a real prince all decked out in his royal attire; and one January
morning Tom obtained his wish. He journeyed to Charing Village, the site
of the King\'s majestic palace, and, to his amazment, inside the fence he
beheld a young boy his age - a true prince. As he drew closer and closer
to observe the little gentleman, suddenly he was rudely snatched up by
a soldier. The prince, Edward Tudor, saw this action and came to Tom\'s
rescue, and afterward he invited the young pauper into the palace. So,
the Prince of Poverty passed the palace gates to join hands with the Prince
of Limitless Plenty.

Safely within the castle, the prince gave

Tom some food. Soon they were comfortably chatting back and forth about
their different families and opposite lifestyles. On a whim, Tom and Edward
changed into each others clothes. And when they stared into the mirror,
a miricle seemed to have happened: they appeared to be twins - the same
hair and eyes, face and countenance, voice and manner. Then, while still
in the changed garments, Edward noticed Tom\'s bruised hand and went out
to reprimand the guard who had caused it. The soldier laughed at the waif\'s
pretense to royal wrath, instantly tossed him out thegate. Tom Canty was
now the new Prince of Wales and Edward became the prince of paupers.

Edward\'s life as a beggar was not as he
had been accustomed. First, he was abused and ridiculed by a crowd as he
professed to be England\'s rightful prince. Then, Tom\'s drunken father found
him, and took him home to Offal Court, where Edward was beaten. That night,
however, the father received word that he was wanted for murder. As he
hurriedly rushed to escape, dragging the boy behind him, Edward managed
to twist free from his grasp, and he disappeared into the crowded street.

Once a distance from the Canty house, Edward
put himself in a precarious postion by again trying to convince others
that he was a prince. Of course, the commoners and merchants again mocked
the young boy. But just at this moment a gentleman, Miles Hendon, stood
up to defend Edward. While he did not believe Edward\'s wild claim to be

Prince of Wales, Hendon decided to be the boy\'s champion, take him on his
journey back to his village, and minister to him until he came to his senses.

It had been seven years since Miles Hendon had been home, and he was anxious
to see his father, his older brother, Arthur, and Edith, his true love.

As Miles and Edward traveled together,
they received word that King Henry VIII had died. Thus, Edward was now
indeed King of all England - and most likely the only living soul who mourned
the death of Henry.

Throughout his trek homeward, Miles treated

Edward as though he were a real king. He helped him dress, waited on him,
fed him, and took care of all his