THE PURLOINING OF PRINCE OLEOMARGARINE | A Mark Twain Fairytale
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Author Philip Stead and illustrator Erin Stead share the story behind finishing Mark Twain’s fairytale, THE PURLOINING OF PRINCE OLEOMARGARINE. The award-winning duo gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process for bringing Twain’s bedtime story to life.
Visit http://www.princeoleomargarine.com to discover more about the story and see Mark Twain’s handwritten notes.
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In a diary entry from a Paris hotel, Mark Twain describes a typical evening, sat with young daughters Susy and Clara, both demanding a story. Clara chose a picture from a magazine as a story prompt and said, “We’re ready, papa.” Over the next few nights Mark Twain wove for them the fairy tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of magical seeds. But there the story ended, until over a century later in 2011, a scholar at the UC Berkeley took interest in Twain’s notes from those bedtime storytelling sessions. Twain had written up some fragmentary details from the story: “Widow, dying, gives seeds to Johnny”, his notes begin, finishing abruptly five pages later with the cliffhanger “It is guarded by 2 mighty dragons who never sleep.” But that is all that is known of the tale – five pages of incomplete, fragmentary notes, filed away and lost to time. Until now.
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