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The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories

By: Mark Twain

The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (1906) is a collection of thirty comic short stories by the American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The stories contained span the course of his career, from "Advice to Young Girls" in 1865 to the titular tale in 1904. Although Twain had ample time to refine his short stories between their original publication date and this collection, there is little evidence to suggest he took an active interest in doing so. "A Burlesque Biography" contains only a few minor technical revisions which make it different from the 1871 version found in Mark Twain's "(Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance". "Advice to Little Girls" shows slight revision from its earlier publication in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

The anthology begins with the story “The $30,000 Bequest” which introduces the married couple Electra and Saladin who live a modest yet comfortable life with their two daughters. Both husband and wife are known to be thrifty with their finances and are regarded by others as good people. However, their lives take an unexpected shift after the couple receives a note from a supposed distant relative informing them of his plans to leave them an inheritance of $30,000 after his death. He additionally adds in the note that they must not tell anyone about the money, its origin, or inquire about his death, for they will find out all necessary information in due course. Thrilled by such news, the couple begins to live in their own world governed by fantasy and choose to leave their mediocre lives behind them as they await their promised wealth. Nevertheless, it appears that they have bitten off more than they can chew, as their lives take a humorous turn, as Twain comically depicts their foolishness and credulousness. A successful satire and subtle critique on human nature and behavior, the short stories are genuinely evocative and full of emotion as they depict everyday characters and situations.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1906

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Author

Mark Twain

United States

Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory. Twain patented thre...

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