A collection of comical short stories by renowned American humorist and author Mark Twain, the compilation features 30 stories published in 1906. Presenting a colorful array of tales, the short stories cover various periods of Twain’s writing career, while also allowing him to revise and perfect each story. Exploring various topics including abusive hierarchical power, human recklessness, and backfiring expectations, the collection offers a sweet treat to satisfy every taste. 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. Apart from serving as a form of entertainment and inducing a good laugh, _The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories_ exhibit tales which also provide allegorical depth, encouraging the audience to read between the lines.
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