- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Perfection Learning (1979)
- ASIN: B00412M2MM
- Average Customer Review: 3,427 customer reviews
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In 1547 two boys are born on the same day and as they grow up... the resemblance between the two is remarkable. But one is a poor boy from Offal Court with the name Tom Canty. Tom is a beggar living with his twin sisters, mother, grandmother and his father, John Canty, who is a bully and a known thief. They live in a hovel in the slums. It’s a miserable life. On the other hand, Prince Edward Tudor is the Prince of Wales and lives in a luxurious castle with his father, King Henry VIII. He is spoiled with the riches of a noble life and is the future king of England. King Henry is cruel to the hoi polloi and quick to take the head of a enemy. But the king loves his son, Prince Edward, and is very compassionate to him. King Henry VIII is very sick. Prince Edward Tudor will soon be king.
One day, Tom Canty wanders to the gates of the castle. He spots the Prince in the courtyard. A guard throws him away from the gate. The Prince, seeing this, yells at the guard and lets the boy in. Prince Edward takes Tom into the castle and has him feed. Tom tells the Prince about all the fun he has with the lads of Offal Court in the summer. The Prince, who lives a regimented life, says, “Oh, prithee, say no more, ‘tis glorious! If that I could but clothe me in raiment like to thine, and strip my feet, and revel in the mud once, just once, with none to rebuke me or forbid, meseemeth I could forego the crown!” They switch clothes and the Prince goes into the courtyard dressed in rags and shakes the bars of the gate. The same guard that was previously hollered at now boxes Edward in the ear and throws him out. Edward, suddenly realizing that he made a mistake switching clothes says, “I am the Prince of Wales, my person is sacred; and thou shalt hang for laying thy hand upon me!” The crowd jeers Edward and the guard says, “I salute your gracious Highness.” Then angrily, “Be off, thou crazy rubbish!”
Meanwhile in the castle, Tom (as the Prince) doesn’t know how to act. He tries to tell Lady Jane Grey what happened and she doesn’t believe him. She thinks he has gone crazy. Tom runs into the King and after talking to Tom...the King thinks his son is temporarily mad. The King thinks that the Duke of Norfolk did this to Edward. The King sets an execution date for the Duke, but the King can’t find the Royal Seal and reminds his son that he gave it to him. Of course, Tom, now the Prince, doesn’t even know what the Royal Seal is. Tom has dinner with his father and acts like he doesn’t know the etiquette of royal dining. Nobody dares say anything. Tom also can’t speak all the different languages that he is supposed to know. One person of the noble family, Lord Herford, seems to believe Tom’s story (that he is not the Prince). This was very important in the 1937 movie but not in the novel.
Simultaneously, Edward is roaming the streets and is cuffed by John Canty. Of course Edward doesn’t know him but realizes that this ruffian is Tom’s father. John Canty wants to know why he hasn’t begged his daily penny. Edward rebuffs his father, since he still acts like he is the Prince of Wales. Since John Canty roughed up a clergyman, the family is on the run. Edward escapes and is befriended by a semi-noble outcast named Miles Hendon. Miles has his own sad tales to tell (you will have to buy your own copy of this book to find out what they were) but takes a liking to this young boy and decides that he will go along with his story until he can cure him of his folly. Then the worst thing that can happen...happens. King Henry VIII dies. Oh my God, the pauper, Tom Canty is going to be coronated in a few days. Can Miles Hendon and Edward, the true Prince of Wales, correct the mistake? What happens next is a series of twist and turns that culminate in a very exciting ending. Well done Mr. Twain...wherever you are! This was a very enjoyable novel and bellies the reason why I love Mark Twain books.
But oh what I have missed all these years of a master storyteller and America's renowned humorist. Pure genius. The humanity, the wit, the fabulous fantasies - pure TWAIN! And after all, he has Huck tell the story of his genius, named, Tom Sawyer!