Author: Mark Twain
Retold by Carolina
CHAPTER 1: THE CHANGE
A number of years ago, two boys were born on the same day. One of them was Tom Canty, a child who his family could not afford(1) because they were too poor. The other’s name was Edward, Prince of Wales. His royal family and all citizens in England wanted him. Years passed, although the boys were not in the same condition but they both grew into strong and intelligent kids. Tom lived with his family in an old, shabby building in Offal Street.
Tom’s father was a thief, his grandmother was a beggar.They were bad people. On the other hand, his mothers and two older twin sisters were kind people. Every day, Tom’s father forced him to beg for money on the streets. He didn’t go to school. There was not enough to eat, and Tom was always hungry. Edward lived in Westminster, in a magnificent(2) castle. His father was King Henry 8th of England.
At first, Tom Canty thought his life was as usual as everyone else’s. He supposed everybody also went to bed with a hungry stomach and stayed in broke down apartments . But this all changed when an old priest(3) came to live in his apartment. The priest taught him how to read and write, told him beautiful stories about princes, princeses and their expensive lives. Immediately, Tom wanted to be a prince. A few days after this, Tom decided to go to the castle and see the real prince. To his surprise, the guards stopped him at the castle’s gate. Fortunately, Edward saw Tom and right away, the Prince let him in. Tom’s mind was full of curiosity(4) .He looked carefully at the old paintings of Edward’s family as they walked through many corridors. He noticed luxurious(5) and beautiful objects like rugs and vases everywhere in the Prince’s enormous home. At last, the two boys went to Edward’s room. Tom thought this was the lobby(6) of the castle, not the Prince’s room because it was really big and large. Prince Edward called something for Tom to eat. Then, he asked Tom about his life and his family. Honestly, Tom told everything to his new ‘friend’ while he was eating the most delicious food in the world: how his father was rude to him, how his grandmother did bad things on the street and how his mother and sisters were good to him. After that, Edward talked to Tom about his busy life as a Prince. He had to study Business and Financial when he was just a kid, and he had to be in the castle all the time. Suddenly, the boys wanted to be the other. So they changed their clothes quickly. Now Tom was in King Henry’s son’s furry(7) clothes whilst Edward was in his shabby rags!
The boys both noticed that they were like twins, they had the same hair color, same height, same face… Edward needed something so he ran to the guards to get their helps as usual. Yet the guards laughed at him, then they shouted at the
“beggar”. Edward was surprised. How dare the guards talked to him like that! He was King Henry’s only son, he was the Prince of Wales!
As Edward walked through the crowd, he was caught by someone. This was Tom’s father. Edward thought for a while and realized this was his friend’s dad. As Tom described to him before, his father had a big figure and his face looked terrible when he talked to people, especially Tom. Edward tried to explain to the man that he was not his son, but Prince Edward of Wales. The man thought his son was crazy so he didn’t listen to him. He pulled his ‘Tom’ all the way home.
Meanwhile, Tom was very worried about The Prince’s disappearance. Then, Lady Jane- a cousin- came to play with him. Tom had no idea about this girl. He asked her strange questions like who she was and why she came there. He also explained to Jane that he was not the real Prince, although he was in the prince’s clothes. Jane was surprised by “Edward’s story. She thought The Prince was crazy. So she ran to the doctor of the court and told him the unusual questions of The Prince. At once, they all ran to the Prince’s room. There the ‘Prince’ was! He sat in the corner of the room, worried about his life. “Soon the King and the
guards will catch me because I’m pretending to be Prince Edward” Tom thought hard. The doctor started to ask him many questions about the court and the King-his ‘dad’, but Tom answered none of these questions. Everyone now thought the Prince was mad. They told King Henry about this. Unluckily, King Henry was very ill. He called his son to his room to talk to him. Tom didn’t want to go to the King’s room. He was scared that King Henry might find out that this one was not his dear son. But the King didn’t realize it! He could only talk to ‘Edward’ while he was lying in his soft bed because he was really tired. Tom was also very surprised. This was the first time he saw the real king. He bowed his head before ‘his father’, and every time he talked to the King he used the phrase’ Your Majesty…”. These actions made the king believe the rumors. He asked for more questions but his son seemed to know nothing. Then Lord Hertford- the King’s helper and one of his best friends told Tom to go back to his room.
The King was very worried. He knew he was very sick and now, and his son was mad! How could Edward be the King of England with his madness? When Tom went back to his room, he began to feel homesick. He didn’t want to stay in this castle anymore. He wanted to live in his old apartment, to sleep in his mother’s arms. A few minutes later, he went to the dining room to eat dinner. Before him, a hundred delicious plates were served. Tom was very happy about this, because at home, he was always hungry. But then, he began to feel very uncomfortable, because while he was eating, a hundred servants and guards stood by, ready for all of the Prince’s order. He tried to tell them to go but they didn’t move. Suddenly, he wanted t
o sneeze, but didn’t know what to do. At last, he asked the servants:” Excuse me, but can I sneeze?” . The servants thought the Prince was mad, but they had to obey his command. After eating until he was quite full, Tom told the servants to dream well. The servants answered nothing and hoped the Prince’s madness will soon get away from his head.
The next day, The King needed Lord Hertford’s help with some important papers. So, he called for his frien
d’s help very early that morning. The King wanted the royal seal to do some important things and he remembered that his son borrowed it from him last week. Then, Hertford came to ask for the seal. Poor Tom! He didn’t even know what the seal was. He asked Hertford what it looked like. The King’s friend said that it was made from gold so it was really shiny and had a handle and a disk below. Fake Edward tried to remember whether he saw something that looked like Hertford’s description(8), but in the end, he told the man that he didn’t know. Hertford said nothing. He hoped the Prince would recover(9)soon so he could remember where did he put it because this was a very important object. When Lord Hertford told this to the King, Henry answered him in a very faint(10) voice:” I hope my poor Edward will soon recover, no one wants a mad Prince to be the King of England after my death”.
At the moment, Edward was in Tom’s shabby apartment. He thought it was too small for anyone to live in. Everything was tiny and dirty. Because today, ‘his son’ did not earn money, even a cent, Mr. Canty led ‘Tom’ went to bed right away without dinner. But Edward didn’t feel hungry because he ate a lot at lunchtime that day. He explained a thousand times to Mr and Mrs.Canty, Tom’s grandmother and his twin sisters-Nan and Bet that he was not Tom. He was The Prince of England, son of King Henry. Tom’s father had to take him back to his castle. The whole family thought their Tom was mad. So, everyone got ready to bed without listening. Mrs.Canty was the only one who felt a little bit strange about her boy. She wanted to make an experiment. She knew that her Tom would cover his face with his palms if someone disturbed him while he was
sleeping. So, quietly, she got a feather and left it at ‘Tom’s face. To her surprise, the boy just turned his body instead of raising his palms. Tom’s mother didn’t know what to do with this strange boy. The poor mom was both happy and sad. She was pleased that her Tom, her son was not mad at all. But, she was worried because she did not know where her son was. And was this boy telling the truth that he was The Prince of England?. Her mind was spinning around with many questions. At last, she thought that this was only a horrible dream. How could it be possible that The King’s son was now living in her broke down building and sleeping on the bare ground next to her?
1/afford(v): have enough money or conditions to do something
2/magnificent(adj): beautiful, enormous
3/priest(n): a man who is trained for doing sacrifice in temples or churches
4/curiosity(n): a longing to know or understand something
5/ luxury(adj): cost a lot of money
6/ lobby(n): a place when we first enter a big apartment or building
7/ furry(adj): made from animal’s skin(leather) or feather(birds)
8/ description(n): n of describe
9/ recover(v): get back, regain (after an illness)
10/ faint(adj): small, weak, unclear