A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
I was so tired that even my fears were not able to keep me awake long.
When I next came to myself, I seemed to have been asleep a very long time. My first
thought was, "Well, what an astonishing dream I've had! I reckon I've waked only just in
time to keep from being hanged or drowned or burned or something.... I'll nap again till
the whistle blows, and then I'll go down to the arms factory and have it out with
But just then I heard the harsh music of rusty chains and bolts, a light flashed in my eyes,
and that butterfly, Clarence, stood before me! I gasped with surprise; my breath almost
got away from me.
"What!" I said, "you here yet? Go along with the rest of the dream! scatter!"
But he only laughed, in his light-hearted way, and fell to making fun of my sorry plight.
"All right," I said resignedly, "let the dream go on; I'm in no hurry."
"Prithee what dream?"
"What dream? Why, the dream that I am in Arthur's court--a person who never existed;
and that I am talking to you, who are nothing but a work of the imagination."
"Oh, la, indeed! and is it a dream that you're to be burned to-morrow? Ho-ho--answer me
The shock that went through me was distressing. I now began to reason that my situation
was in the last degree serious, dream or no dream; for I knew by past experience of the
lifelike intensity of dreams, that to be burned to death, even in a dream, would be very far
from being a jest, and was a thing to be avoided, by any means, fair or foul, that I could
contrive. So I said beseechingly:
"Ah, Clarence, good boy, only friend I've got,--for you are my friend, aren't you?--don't
fail me; help me to devise some way of escaping from this place!"
"Now do but hear thyself! Escape? Why, man, the corridors are in guard and keep of
"No doubt, no doubt. But how many, Clarence? Not many, I hope?"
"Full a score. One may not hope to escape." After a pause-- hesitatingly: "and there be
other reasons--and weightier."