The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Tom Canty lives in poverty with his mother, sisters, grandmother and abusive father. He spends his days begging and lives in a hovel. However, Father Andrew taught Tom to read and write and Latin. Tom loved hearing Father tell stories of princes, knights, dwarves, fairies and enchanted castles.
Prince Edward lives in luxury, his every need met. The boys meet, change clothes and their lives are changed forever.
In this story, we meet Tom and Edward on the day of their birth.
“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 of England wanted him too.” (p. 11)
Interesting and ironic the boys were born on the same day, and when they met, they looked alike!
“Thus hast the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and countenance, that I bear.” (p. 23)
So, Tom Canty is living the life of Prince Edward and Edward is living on the streets. Oh my! What an adventure. Again and again Tom Canty and Prince Edward tell the people they meet who they are, but no one believes the boys. Everyone thinks the boys are addle brained. What an uproar at the palace! The prince is addle-brained!
I really enjoyed this book. It’s full of adventure and it’s amusing, shocking, disgusting, horrifying and satisfying. Of course, my favorite character is Miles Hendon.
“He was tall, trim-built, muscular. His doublet and trunks were of rich material, but faded and threadbare and their gold-lace adornments were sadly tarnished, his ruff was rumpled and damaged; the plume in his slouched hat was broken and had a bedraggled and disreputable look; at his side he wore a long rapier in a rusty iron sheath, his swaggering carriage marked him at once as a ruffler of the camp.” (p. 64)
Miles is our swashbuckling hero! He is returning home, after a lengthy absence. He meets and likes Prince Edward and plays the royal game with him. He makes the Prince his ward and Miles is soon knighted by the Prince, although, Miles believes he is “a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows.” (p. 76)
Once again there is irony in the tale. Miles and Prince Edward have much in common! They’re both suffering the same lot in life.
So, we read of multiply adventures! Highly recommend it!