Posted in Short Stories

Mark Twain’s “The Story of the Good Little Boy”

Once there was a good little boy by the name of Jacob Blivens. He always obeyed his parents, no matter how absurd and unreasonable their demands were; and he always learned his book, and never was late at Sabbath-school. He would not play hookey, even when his sober judgment told him it was the most profitable thing he could do.


A few posts ago, I read Mark Twain’s story “The Story of the Bad Little Boy” where the consequences of a bad boy’s behavior didn’t turn out the way they did in the Sunday School books of the day – he simply grew up to be a congressman.

Now we have the flip side of that story “The Story of the Good Little Boy” in which Jacob Blivens goes to great lengths to be good but things don’t work out the way he thought they would – according to the Sunday School books.

For some reason, this story is a little funnier than the first one. Something about the way the other boys find Jacob “afflicted” made me laugh more.

Even though some of the “rules” Jacob follows are not necessarily common today (like not playing marbles on Sunday), the humor and satire keep the story timeless.

As I read through Twain’s stories, I continually find myself realizing that he would have just as much to make fun of today as he did 150 years ago. Maybe more!

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