The Original - The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain. Classic Historical Fiction. Top 100 Historical Fiction. The Prince and the Pauper is a novel by American author Mark Twain. On the same day in 16th century London were born Tom Canty, destined to become a street beggar, and Edward Tudor, son of Henry VII, a future king. Several years later, young Canty invades the royal precincts hoping to see the Prince. The boys discover they are identical in appearance and exchange clothes. Mistaken for the beggar boy, Prince Edward is thrown into the streets. Tom Canty, too frightened to confess his true identity, assumes the mantle of the Prince of Wales.