The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Two – Historical Tidbit

Today’s blog and video focuses on one of the most ominous landmarks in London. Mentioned briefly in Chapter 2 of the The Prince and the Pauper, this place is well-known to this day. For Chapter 2 we are exploring…

The Tower of London

The Tower of London has a dark history that includes housing some of the most famous prisoners in England’s past. Though it is only brought up once in Chapter 2, it is important to England’s past and present, including in The Prince and the Pauper. Keep reading or watch the video below to know more.

Here is the excerpt from Chapter 2 where we see the Tower referenced:

“Tom could always find something going on around the Maypole in Cheapside, and at the fairs; and now and then he and the rest of London had a chance to see a military parade when some famous unfortunate was carried prisoner to the Tower, by land or boat. One summer’s day he saw poor Anne Askew and three men burned at the stake in Smithfield, and heard an ex-Bishop preach a sermon to them which did not interest him. ” (p. 5)

What was the Tower?

  • Built in the 1070s by William the Conqueror
  • Took about 20 years to build
  • Had many uses over the years
    • Imprison rivals and enemies to the king/queen
    • Protected kings/queens and their possessions (including the Crown Jewels)
    • Arms/armour were made, tested, and stored here
    • Controlled the supply of the nation’s money

Famous Prisoners

  • Anne Boleyn
  • Henry VIII modernized rooms in order to prepare for her coronation
  • She stayed in these same rooms before being executed
  • Lady Jane Grey
  • Edward VI’s cousin (Henry VIII’s niece)
  • Held the crown for nine days after Edward VI

Image: The Last Moments of Lady Jane Grey

  • Anne Askew
  • Went to Henry VIII to request a divorce from her husband (denied)
  • Arrested on suspicion of heresy 
  • Later released and arrested again
  • Was later tortured and killed

Is the Tower still around?

Yes! You can still visit the Tower of London in London, England. It is a World Heritage Site, which means it is a protected historical site. When visiting, you can view the Crown Jewels, which are a collection of sacred objects that have been important to the royal families over the years.

Supposedly, the Tower is also haunted, which is a draw for some people. Anne Boleyn’s ghost is one that is said to haunt the Tower. Additionally, there are two young boys who were killed in the Tower, and supposedly their ghosts haunt it as well.

In addition to the ghosts that call the place home, some of the guards and their families actually live within the walls of the Tower. So at the end of the day, when all the tourists go home, they have the place to themselves. There is even a pub within the walls that they can visit.

But wait, there were a few other references I didn’t know as well…

Looking back to the passage from The Prince and the Pauper, there were a few other historical references that Twain threw in there:

  • Cheapside – a street and market; one of the largest wealthy areas in London; along many processional routes (including for executions)
  • Smithfield – common location for executions

Tower of London in Pop Culture

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Two – Fun Fact

For Chapter 2 we’re changing things up a bit and instead of focusing on a Current Event, we’re looking at a fun fact! Have you ever truly found yourself getting lost in a book that you are reading? Have you ever been so into that book that you actually started to act like one of the characters? Today our fun fact focuses on…


One of the things that happens in Chapter 2 of The Prince and the Pauper is that, after hearing enough stories about princes, Tom Canty actually begins to act like a prince. So we at Pontes Books asked ourselves, can people really start acting like the fictional characters they read about? Keep reading or check out the video below to find out!

Did you know?

Reading a book told through the eyes of a fictional character can actually affect the way you interact with the world.

A study at Ohio State University found that it is possible to take on the personality traits of a fictional character in a book that you read. It’s called “experience-taking”. In doing this, we merge our own lives with the character that we are reading about.

One of the scenarios featured in the research study was a test to see different factors and the effect they had on people’s likeliness to vote. The way they did this was by having college students read short stories about characters who encountered certain obstacles to voting. The stories featured different scenarios, one of which being the university that the character attended. In some cases, the main character attended the same university as the student reading the story. In some cases, they attended a different university. In some cases, the story was written in first person, and in other cases it was written in third person. In the cases where students read a story where the main character went to the same university as them, and especially for the stories that were written in first person, the students were more likely to have actually voted in an upcoming election.

Now obviously there is no way to prove without a doubt that reading the story with a particular version of the story is what caused the students to go out and vote, but the study suggests that it likely played a part. This means that reading a fictional story can actually influence you to act like a character in a story (though obviously this is a different situation than what happens in The Prince and the Pauper). But the general principle can still be applied: fictional stories can have an effect on your real life.

Other Implications from the Study

In addition to those findings, there were some other implications that can be taken from this study:

  • Your attitude toward people from particular groups (such as specific sexualities and races) can be influence by what you read.
  • You are more likely to act like the character if you are from the same “group” as them.
  • You are more likely to be empathetic toward people from another “group” if you find out their identity toward the end of the story, rather than right at the beginning.
  • You are less likely to act or deeply connect to a character in a movie because it is not told in first person.

So the next time you are reading and you find yourself lost in a book, remember it could affect your life!

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Two – Vocabulary

Now that we’ve covered a vocabulary word, current event, and historical tidbit for Chapter 1, we’ll be focusing on Chapter 2 for the next two weeks. We begin with the Chapter 2 vocabulary word which is…


The word “offal” is an interesting one for many reasons. It is featured on many different occasions in The Prince and the Pauper in all different Pontes Books versions. Although this word appears many times in the story, the word meaning does not actually play a large part in the plot. Rather, it is a fun easter egg that Mark Twain includes in the story only for those who understand its meaning. Check out the video or read the blog below to find out more!



(n) The internal organs of an
animal; garbage

leftover parts of animals after
food preparation; still edible

animal kidney
animal liver
animal intestines

animal muscle
animal bone


  • Language of Origin: Old English
  • “off” + “fall”
  • Meaning/Interpretation: that which is allowed to “fall off” the butcher’s block as being of little use

  • Language of Origin: Middle Dutch, German
  • “Afvall”, “Abvall”
  • Meaning/Interpretation: garbage, rubbish

Homophone “awful” has no connection to meaning

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: The butcher prepared the cow meat to sell, but set aside the offal.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “The house which Tom’s father lived in was up a foul little pocket called Offal Court, out of Pudding Lane.” (p. 3)
  • Other forms: n/a

But wait, there’s more!

Have you heard of dishes like chitlins, pate, sweetbread, foie gras, or haggis? Do you know what all of these things have in common? They are all dishes that involve cooking using offal! The parts of animals that we usually consider to be disposable can actually make some pretty delicious, and in some cases highly desireable, dishes.

Chef Andrew Zimmern has a whole collection of recipes devoted to cooking using offal on his website. The competition cooking show <a rel=”noreferrer noopener” href=”http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Chef Andrew Zimmern has a whole collection of recipes devoted to cooking using offal on <a href=”; data-type=”URL” data-id=””>his website</a>. The show </p> Chopped also has featured many episodes where offal is featured as a mystery ingredient that must be incorporated into dishes.

The following are also a few of the most popular dishes including offal that can be found around the world:

Most Popular Offal Dishes

  1. Foie gras (France, Europe) – fatty liver
  2. Haggis (Scotland, Europe) – sheep’s innards and other ingredients typically cooked inside an animal’s stomach
  3. Tripas (Mexico, North America)  – pig/cow intestines, often as a taco filling 
  4. Kokorec (Turkey, Asia) – small/large intestine grilled over charcoal 
  5. Kebda Eskandarani (Alexandria, Egypt) – fried beef liver with spicy seasonings

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How to Read a Parallel Text

Since there are seven different Pontes Books versions of the The Prince and the Pauper, it can be a little confusing knowing which ones are right for you. In our previous blog post we gave some recommendations regarding how to decide which books to choose. This post is focusing specifically on our parallel text versions (orange, purple, and pink).

How to find the books:

  • All of the books are available on Amazon (try seaching “The Prince and the Pauper Pontes Books”), but since this company and these novels are brand new, they don’t always show up initially in search results on Amazon. The easiest way to get direct links to all the different versions is to visit our Products Page.

What are parallel texts? Our parallel text versions include TWO BOOKS IN ONE! A parallel text is a version of a story that includes two different versions presented side-by-side. (see below)

In The Prince and the Pauper orange, purple, and pink versions, the left page is always from the original (or red) version and the right page is always from one of the bridge versions. See how the different versions combine below:

Since most people are not used to reading texts in this way, we at Pontes Books came up with a few ideas for how to read this style of text. It is important to note that most of these recommendations are with teachers teaching The Prince and the Pauper in mind; however, they can apply to anyone reading the book!

You should notice that all of the suggestions listed above involve reading the both the left and right pages (original and bridge versions). If you are going to get a parallel text version, it’s important to always try to read the original as much as posssible. The bridge version is meant to be a support, but the ultimate goal is to be able to read the original side without relying on the bridge version at all. The suggestions listed above all help to work toward this goal in different ways.

The most thorough way to read the story (and also therefore the slowest way to read the story) is the third option (highlight unknown words/phrases on the left and their equivalent words/phrases on the right). Although this may be a slow process, it really helps to connect the trickier words and phrases to more modern translations, which ultimately help to build vocabulary skills in particular.

It is also important to point out that some of these steps might be more difficult to do when using the pink version. Since the amount of text in the white version has been cut in half, you cannot always find the equivalent words and phrases in the bridge version in this particular parallel text. The best strategies for the pink version would be any that go page-by-page (either starting on the left side or pre-reading on the right side) because the content covered on the page will be the same in both versions, but it might not go paragraph-by-paragraph.

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter One – Historical Tidbit

Since The Prince and the Pauper is a historical fiction text, there are plenty of historical references added in by Mark Twain. Some of these references are common knowledge and some are obscure. Here at Pontes Books we are going to pick one historical reference to explore further for each chapter. For Chapter 1 we are exploring…

The importance of Edward VI’s birth!

As royal births go, Edward VI’s was one of the most famously anticipated ever. In order to understand why his birth was so important, it is necessary to review King Henry VIII’s history. Watch the video below or keep reading to get a quick overview of his backstory.

Henry VIII (Edward’s father in the story and real life) is known for having six wives. There are numerous stories, movies, and documentaries detailing the ups and downs of all of those relationships. He’s so famous for his six wives, that there’s even a rhyme that has been developed in order to remember the fates of his six wives:

divorced, beheaded, died; divorced beheaded survived

Henry VIII’s First Wife/Child

  • Catherine of Aragon
  • Married her when he was 17 (six weeks after becoming king)
  • She had three sons and three daughters who almost all died as infants
  • Only one daughter survived, Mary

Henry’s Annulment/Divorce

  • About 20 years later
  • Henry was worried Catherine was cursed
  • He was also in love with another woman
  • He asked for an annulment from the pope so he could remarry, and was turned down
  • He decided he didn’t need permission and left the Catholic church, and took all of England with him, thereby creating the Church of England (Anglican Church)

Henry VIII’s Second Wife/Child

  • Anne Boleyn
  • Gave birth to another girl, Elizabeth
  • Delivered a stillborn son
  • Henry lost interest in her and became interested in another woman
  • Anne ended up being beheaded for treason

Henry VIII’s Third Wife/Child

  • Jane Seymour
  • Gave birth to a son, Edward VI (one of the protagonists)
  • She died two weeks later
  • Henry ended up marrying three more times, but had no more children

Why was a male heir so important?

At this time in England, there had never been a ruling queen, so Henry needed a son to continue the royal line. The reign of the Tudor family (Henry’s family) was especially fragile because he was only the second king in the family line. His father, Henry VII, had come to power through military victory rather than through his bloodline. Therefore, the family’s power had not yet been fully established in England. He believed without a male heir, his power could easily be usurped.

Where can I learn more about Henry VIII and Edward VI?

1. Visit England – If you have the means, take a trip to England to visit the many sites related to King Henry VIII. His primary residence was Hampton Court, located near London. Here you can learn all about Henry VIII, his six wives, his children, and his legacy. There are other locations scattered around that also relate to the Tudor family.

2. TV shows and movies – The story of the Tudor family, in particular Henry VIII, have gained attention around the world. It is a commonly-told story that appears in many different TV shows and movies, some of which are pictured above. It is important to note that many of the depictions of King Henry VIII’s life involve adult topics and therefore have an “R” or equivalent rating.

3. ‘Six’ the Musical – There is a new musical coming to Broadway in Summer 2021 (It was originally supposed to open on Broadway the day that it shut down due to COVID-19). It got its start overseas in the UK, made a run on West End, did a tour through the US, and now is finally landing on Broadway. The show tells the story of Henry VIII’s six wives from their perspective, with a feminist twist on the often-told story. The music is extremely catchy and it is refreshing to see this story retold through a more modern lens. You should definitely check it out if you have the chance!


The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter One – Current Event

Since The Prince and the Pauper is a Classic story, many would say it’s old-fashioned, out-of-date, and no longer relevant. However, there are still many themes and ideas that are completely relevant today! Each chapter, we’ll focus on a modern-day connection to the events that are happening at that point. This post we’re focusing on…


As Chapter 1 is all about the birth of the prince (and the pauper), it is easy to connect that to some modern day examples, as there are still royal babies being born all around the world. Check out the video below or keep reading to find out more.

Our closest connection we can make to the birth of Edward VI in the story is to take a look at the royal family in modern-day England. If you were alive in 2013 then you probably remember all of the hype surrounding the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate. Their first son, George, was born on July 33, 2013 at 4:24pm in Paddington, London.

George’s birth placed him third in line for the throne, after his father William and his grandfather Charles. Similar to Edward VI, Prince George also has two siblings, Charlotte and Louis, though they are younger than him, whereas Edward is the youngest in his family (and technically his sisters are half-sisters).

Reactions Around the World

In The Prince and the Pauper, Edward’s death was highly celebrated. People in England had long been awaiting the prince’s birth, and there was great celebration on the day he was born. Similarly, there were celebrations far and wide for the birth of Prince George modern-day. However, there were some people and countries that felt all the hype for this royal baby was outdated and even harmful. See the reactions from a few of the countries around the world below:


  • Made a donation to a research project to save the bilby, an Australian desert rat
  • Northern Territory named a crocodile George and put it on display in northern Australia along with the crocodiles Kate and William


  • Lit up the parliament building a blue color
  • Suggested Canadian citizens make a donation to a charity in Kate and William’s honor


  • “I don’t care about the heir. The British monarchy … destroyed our state. The birth of another British monarch, who will suck our blood, cannot bring us any kind of happiness.”


  • “Today, the British public – grinding under massive austerity budget cuts, unemployment, poverty wages, social deprivations and crumbling services – are thrown scraps of feelgood comfort from the much hyped event. The attitude is silly at best and escapist Prince Charming syndrome on steroids at worst.”


  • Had a black bull and goat waiting to be presented

Other Babies Born on July 22, 2013

The whole concept of The Prince and the Pauper stems from the idea that there were two babies born on the same day, a prince and a pauper. So how many other babies were also born the same day as Prince George? It turns out that in the world there were 384,736 babies born that day! If you break that down by the second that’s over four babies per second! Maybe one day Prince George and one of these other babies will meet and we’ll have a sequel on our hands!

Other Royal Babies Around the World

Prince George and his siblings aren’t the only royal children who get their share of time in the spotlight; there are still monarchies all over the world where the children being born today will one day rule (or at least just continue being in the spotlight).

A few (certainly not all) of of these royal babies are featured below:


The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter One – Vocabulary

Now the the Pontes Books versions of The Prince and the Pauper have officially been released (see our previous post for more information regarding the books and their release), we will begin posting blogs/videos twice a week to support people reading this text. We begin with the Chapter 1 vocabulary word which is…


Yes, it may seem like the obvious choice, but as high frequency words go in the novel, pauper is obviously among the highest repeated. In addition, this word does not show up frequently enough for all English speakers to be familiar with it, yet it shows up enough, especially in Classical texts, that it is certainly worthwhile to learn. Lastly, this word is absoultely essential to understanding Chapter 1, and the entirety of the book, of The Prince and the Pauper.

It is our hope that even though many people may already be familiar with this word, that the following video and/or the remainder of the post provides you with some new information about the word ‘pauper’. Enjoy!



(n) a very poor person

shabby appearance

homeless person

rich person


  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • “pauper” meaning poor, not wealthy, of small means
  • “in forma pauperis” meaning in the form of a poor person

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: We passed the pauper, dressed in rags, while walking through the town square.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “…Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags…among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.” (p. 2)
  • Other forms: paupers, pauperism (n.)

Fun Fact

Local Players Conjure Magic: The Gathering | WMRA and WEMC

In the world of Magic: the Gathering, there is a version of gameplay referred to as “pauper format”. Magic cards have different rarities and, although they don’t directly effect the strength of the card, cards that are more rare often have more complex effects, and often tend to be better. Cards with higher rarities are often more expensive to get a hold of as well. To level the playing field, pauper format only allows cards with a common rarity to be used in play.


The Prince and the Pauper Book Release Day!

The big date is here! The Pontes Books versions of The Prince and the Pauper are available starting TODAY!

How to find the books:

  • All of the books are available on Amazon (try seaching “The Prince and the Pauper Pontes Books”), but since this company and these novels are brand new, they don’t always show up initially in search results on Amazon. The easiest way to get direct links to all the different versions is to visit our Products Page.

How do I know which book(s) to order? Check out the guide below for an explanation of the different versions.

If you are still unsure about which book is right for you, below we offer a few examples of common scenarios in which someone might be choosing to order one or more Pontes version of The Prince and the Pauper. Use these scenarios to help guide your decision.

Scenario #1: A teacher is looking to purchase books for a whole class where students will be reading at least a portion of the story together in class. Students will be responsible for reading at least a portion of the story independently.
Recommended book(s): a combination of Red, Orange, Purple, and Pink
Rationale: When a portion of the book is read in class together, the students need to have a common text to read from. The Red, Orange, Purple, and Pink versions all have the original text by Mark Twain included. This way, students can be exposed to the original language and structure that makes Twain’s writing so unique. Students with strong reading skills can be assigned the Red version, which does not contain any other bridge versions, only Twain’s original words. Students who may need a little bit more support while reading a text as challenging as Twain’s can be assigned the Orange, Purple, or Pink versions, based on their own needs as a reader. These students can then flip over to the Bridge version when they are confused or if they are working to complete a reading assignment independently.

Scenario #2: A teacher is looking to purchase books for small, leveled, reading groups. The students will always be reading the stories either in their separate groups or independently.
Recommended book(s): a combination of Red, Yellow, Blue, and White
Rationale: Though the parallel text versions could work in this scenario as well, it may just be easier to assign students the “stand-alone” Bridge Versions. Twain’s original language does not appear in the Yellow, Blue, or White versions, but if the groups will always be reading separately, there is no need to necessarily have a text with the same wording among all students. It is still possible to have whole-class discussions about the story because all students will be reading the same content, just with tweaks to vocabulary, sentence structure, and length.

Scenario #3: A parent is looking to purchase a book for their child, who will be reading The Prince in the Pauper for a class in the near future.
Recommended book(s): Red, Orange, Purple or Pink
Rationale: If your child will be reading the book as a class, then they will likely be reading Twain’s original unabridged version. If your child is a strong reader, then purchasing the Red version would be best because it will match what all other students will be reading from. If your child could use a little bit of support while reading a text this complicated, choose the Orange, Purple, or Pink versions based on their needs. They will still have the original version inside their book, but will have a Bridge version to allow them to read the story at a level closer to their own ability. Your child could pre-read the bridge version ahead of time to prepare for reading the original in class, could read it after reading the original version in class, or could simply refer to it when confusion arises.

Scenario #4: A child or adult is looking to purchase the book to read for the first time for independent reading, unrelated to any assignment for school.
Recommended book(s): Any option!
Rationale: This is entirely up to you! The whole purpose of creating seven different versions so that each individual reader could find one that is the right fit. Decide whether you want to have a parallel text version, or whether to have a book that only contains one version, and then pick which one is best for you!

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About the Pontes Books Blog

Salve! This inaugural blog post is really an introduction to things that are to come! Here at Pontes Books we are passionate about the Classics, but are even more passionate about making them understandable and relevant in a modern world. Though the primary purpose of our bridge and parallel versions of Classic novels is to help with understanding, what about relevance? Here’s where the blog comes in!

Each post will focus on one of four major categories, with a few wildcards thrown in every once in a while. Each chapter will have four dedicated posts before moving on to the next. Here are the categories:


For each novel, we analyze all of the words in the original version. First, we track the number of times each word is used. Then we go through the words that are used ten or more times in the book and pull out the ones that fit into the following categories: tier 2 words, tier 3 words, and Classical words.

Tier 2: Words that are not used in every-day speech, but that will often be seen in other texts.

Tier 3: Words that are specific to that topic (e.g. words dealing with royal life in The Prince and the Pauper.

Classical words: These words a really like a combination of tier 2 and tier 3 words. They are generally specific to Classic texts only (tier 3), but can be seen across multiple Classic texts (tier 3).

Photo credit:

Each vocabulary-related post will focus on one word from one of these categories (or a group of similar words). We will examine the basics like definition, part of speech, etc., but we will also dive into the etymology and also modern uses.

One caveat related to these posts is that not all Pontes Books versions may contain the words selected. Since the vocabulary has been simplified in most bridge versions of the book, certain vocabulary terms will not appear in those versions. If you are reading the Red, Orange, Purple, or Pink versions, you will be guaranteed to find the selected words.

Relevant Current Event

Though many of the events of Classic novels are certainly outdated, the themes and conflicts are universal and eternal. For each of these posts we will scour the internet for modern (or mostly modern) news articles that relate to some of the characters, events, and themes in the most recent novel.

Historical Tidbit

Many Classical authors include locations, names, events, etc. that were familiar to people at the time the books were written. However, now some of those references have become outdated and the general public are no longer familiar with them. This type of post will focus in on the relevant historical facts that help to understand the references and allusions that may go over our heads due to time.

Fun Fact

Last but not least, these posts will pull out random fun facts that can be related to the corresponding chapters. These could really come in many different shapes in forms and help to bring the FUN and increase your random knowledge for future trivia nights.