The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper
The birth of the Prince and the Pauper.
The house which Tom's father lived in was up a foul little pocket called Offal Court, out of Pudding Lane. It was small, decayed, and rickety, but it was packed full of wretchedly poor families. Canty's tribe occupied a room on the third floor.
Tom Canty, in his wanderings, arrives at Westminster and is invited in by Edward, the Prince of Wales. Each yearns to experience the life of the other. They exchange clothes and Edward rushes out to the gate to rebuke the guard for his treatment of Tom. Being dressed as Tom was, he is mistaken for a pauper and driven away from the estate.
Edward Tudor, the Prince of Wales finds himself out in the hard cruel world where is not recognized as the true Prince. Set upon by angry boys and dogs and eventually finds himself in the clutches of John Canty, the father of Tom Canty - the true pauper.
Tom Canty, the Pauper of our story, is left alone in the Prince's cabinet. He eventually comes to realize the true Prince is gone and he tries to convince members of the court that he is not who they take him to be. He fails at this and they think him ill, even the Prince's father, King Henry VIII.
Tom Canty, the pauper in the role of prince, receives instructions on how to deal with his madness. To hide it and seek the assistance of his close advisors, who think him to be Edward, the Prince of Wales.
Tom, the pretend Prince of Wales, attends his first royal dinner. Twain has fun with a sort of culture clash involving the etiquette of the court.
King Henry VIII is bed ridden and near the end. His one thought of joy is the pending execution of the imprisoned Duke of Norfolk. But the Great Seal is missing.
A river pageant is held in the Prince's honor, a regal affair. But it is Tom Canty dressed as the prince that appears.
Edward Tudor, cast adrift as a pauper, is mistaken by John Canty as his son, Tom Canty. Edward is forced to the home of Canty and on the way John kills the priest Father Andrew. This forces the family to take flight in the chaos of which Edward escapes.
A celebration of Prince Edward at the Guildhall becomes the announcement of Edward as King of England. Meanwhile the true Edward is at the gate of the guildhall demanding entrance but denied. The crowd jeers but Miles Hendon appears and befriends him.
Edward Tudor and his deliverer Miles Hendon find their way to Hendon's room on London Bridge. Miles chases John Canty away and Edward, in his exhaustion, falls asleep on Hendon's bed. When food arrives he awakes and they tell each other their stories.
Miles Hendon takes Edward Tudor to his room on London Bridge. The boy sleeps while Miles slips out to buy a more suitable set of clothes for him. Miles returns after 30 minutes or so and makes alterations to the clothing with a needle and thread. Upon finishing he finds Edward is gone. The landlords servant claims another youth arrived with a message for Edward to meet Miles at the end of the bridge. It would seem to be a ploy of John Canty to reacquire the youth he believes to be his own son, Tom.
Tom Canty wakes thinking himself back in Offal Lane but alas he finds himself in the role of Edward, King of England. Strained by the formalities of the position he discovers a new source of information in his assigned whipping boy, Humphrey Marlow. Humphrey fears there is no place for him any longer in court. Tom, grateful for this new source of information, grants him and his line the title of hereditary whipping boy and thus permanent employment. But alas, Tom still has no knowledge of the royal seal.
Tom demonstrates his ability to be a king. He is curious about a crowd passing outside his window and finds they are following a man, a women and a young girl about to be executed. He calls them before him and he makes judgement on their cases. Tom is now thought to be a wise and strong king by the members of the court.
Tom experiences his first state dinner. He approached it with some apprehension but soon became comfortable with all of it's formality.
Edward Tudor is lead out of Southwark and into the woods, thinking he is going to the aid of Miles Hendon. He finds himself again in the clutches of John Canty, now known as John Hobbs. After falling asleep in an abandoned barn, he awakes to find himself in the company of ruffians and the ragtag of English society. These people are remarking on the hardships and inhumanity of English laws. Edward jumps up and declares, as King of England, an end to such injustices. They are all amused and crown him King Foo Foo the First.
The King, Edward Tudor, is in the company of a group of tramps. They mean to put him to work as a beggar and a thief. He is sent into a village with another of the tramps and is set the task of decoy. He does not cooperate but instead informs on his tramp companion who is then chased out of town with Edward escaping in the other direction. He eventually finds sleep and the companionship of a young calf in a drafty barn in a storm.
Edward Tudor, the true King of England, awakens to find himself being studied by two little girls. They determine that he is hungry and accompany him to their house. Their mother, a widow woman, kindly accepts him but attempts to probe him to determine where he comes from. As King Alfred the Great once watched the cakes (burn) so Edward cooks breakfast and dines with this peasant family.
The King flees from the widow's house upon noting the approach of John Canty and Hugo. The woods get thicker and darker as night approaches but he soon finds a shabby little hut occupied by a hermit. The hermit claims to be an archangel but should have been Pope except for Edward's father, King Henry VIII. The hermit holds a grudge and while Edward sleeps he finds a butcher knife, sharpens it and ties up the little king while he sleeps.
The King, Edward Tudor, awakens to find himself bound and gagged with a spider of a man hovering over him with a knife. As the dawn breaks and the old hermit is about to kill him, Miles Hendon arrives. The old hermit deceives Hendon and soon leads him off into the woods. Meanwhile John Canty and Hugo arrive, untie the king and with each holding an arm lead him off into the woods.
The King thoroughly humiliates Hugo with his skill in fighting so Hugo plots to get revenge. First he tries to produce an ulcer upon the king's leg using a caustic poultice. This is interrupted. His second ploy is to have the king arrested. He accomplishes this by staging the theft of a package from a woman's basket and planting the evidence upon Edward. A crowd is about to exact punishment upon him when Miles Hendon appears on the scene with his sword flashing.
The King is led before the justice of the peace to answer for the theft of the woman's bundle, a plump little dressed pig. The pig is said to be worth three shillings and eightpence and the theft of anything worth more than thirteenpence ha'penny is punishable by hanging. The woman cannot bear the thought of hanging Edward so she changes the value to eightpence. The king is sentence to jail and a public flogging. As the woman leaves the courtroom the constable follows and proposes to buy the pig for the eightpence. She balks but he threatens her with a charge of perjury. She agrees and departs in tears. Miles Hendon has overheard this transaction, however.
Miles Hendon convinces the constable to turn a blind eye to Edwards escape. The crime of swindling the pig from the woman has a penalty of death by halter, without ransom, commutation, or benefit of clergy.
Miles Hendon and the King arrive at Hendon Hall to find Miles' younger brother, Hugh, in charge of things. Hugh denies Miles, saying he had received a letter claiming Miles had died in battle. and reports that both his father and elder brother are dead. It also appears that Hugh has married Miles' long time sweetheart, Lady Edith.
The King wonders why he is not missed and no search for him is apparent. He writes out a note, in three languages, for Miles to deliver to Lord Hertford, the kings uncle. Miles puts in in his pocket but is distracted by his own seeming disownment, thinking this more of Edward's madness. Miles seeks confirmation from the Lady Edith but she continues to deny him and soon guards enter, a fight ensues and Miles is dragged away to prison. The King as well.
The King and Miles Hendon spend an unreported amount of time manacled in prison. An old servant is brought in to identify Hendon but denies him out loud only to return as a source of news and bits of food. The King is comforted by two ladies, also prisoners because they are Baptists. They are burned at the stake while the King, and all the other prisoners, are forced to witness. He is also made aware of many other injustices that occur in his kingdom. He concludes: "The world is made wrong; kings should go to school to their own laws, at times, and so learn mercy."
Miles Hendon is sentenced to the stocks. The King expresses his great dissatisfaction with this and is himself threatened with a half dozen lashes. Miles begs to let Edward go and offers to take the stripes. Sir Hugh is well pleased with this and says lay on an honest dozen. For this great sacrifice the King dubs Miles an Earl. Of this honor Miles says to himself, "Better these poor mock dignities of mine, that come unasked, from a clean hand and a right spirit, than real ones bought by servility from grudging and interested power."
Miles Hendon is released from the stocks. His possessions returned and is ordered to leave the area. The King and Miles travel for some distance, each lost in his own thoughts. Eventually Miles asks "Thy commands, my liege!". They are off to London town and soon become lost to each other in the celebrating mob of people awaiting Coronation Day.
Tom Canty, the pretend king, is getting more and more comfortable in his assumed role. Thoughts of the true Prince and of his mother and sisters fade.
The Recognition Procession. A pageant that begins at The Tower and proceeds through London to the site of the coronation. Tom Canty was enjoying every moment of it. Eventually, however, he catches sight of his mother and she recognizes him. She rushes to him but the guards pull her away and Tom finds himself denying her. All joy is gone.
Coronation Day at Westminster Abbey. Just at the moment Tom Canty is about to be crowned king, Edward Tudor, the true king appears. He is challenged by the Lord Protector but Tom recognizes him immediately and swears fealty. Still not accepted, the issues comes down to the riddle of the lost Great Seal. Where is it?
Edward Tudor is now the recognized and crowned King of England. But what of his recent protector, Miles Hendon. Miles is searching through the crowds for his lost companion when he comes across the whipping boy, who is in fact looking for Miles. Miles is eventually escorted into the presence of the king but it takes some convincing for him to accept the fact that Edward, his pauper, is in fact king.
Wrapping up all the loose ends. What happened to whom, etc.

"I will set down a tale as it was told to me by one who had it of his father, which latter had it of HIS father, this last having in like manner had it of HIS father—and so on, back and still back, three hundred years and more, the fathers transmitting it to the sons and so preserving it. It may be history, it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened: but it COULD have happened. It may be that the wise and the learned believed it in the old days; it may be that only the unlearned and the simple loved it and credited it."

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