I am grateful for Bedtime story time.
In October, it was my turn to choose, so after reading a few poems and short stories by Edgar Allen Poe and other Weekly Readers from my own childhood to get us in the Halloween spirit, I picked up an old family copy of Samuel Clemens’ The Prince and the Pauper.
Set in medieval England, it is the story of two boys of vastly differing circumstances, who are so identical in appearance that when they meet and decide on a whim to dress as the other, fate intervenes; whereby the pauper becomes a prince and the prince becomes a pauper. Misidentified and driven from the castle, the prince is caused to suffer injustice, derision and deprivation at the hands of the world, finding no one to really believe his claim of royalty. Likewise, the pauper, who is believed to be suffering from a mental malady when he claims to be other than the prince, is trapped in the castle and must come to terms with the inequities of court life, customs and the law of the land. A tale about the folly of judging others solely on the basis of appearance, the brutality and at times absurdity of the law, as well as the virtue of mercy, its message is as relevant today as it was when it was first penned almost 140 years ago. It is a story worthy of sharing.
For Bedtime story-time, for cuddles at the close of the day, for stories whose messages are ageless, I am truly thankful.