The Prince and the Pauper/Preface

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To
those Good-mannered and agreeable children,
Susie and Clara Clemens,
This Book
is affectionately inscribed
by their father



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.