Friday, July 11, 2008

Fathom This...

Let’s say you’re a writer gaining notoriety. You write under a very clever pen name. But your real name is Pat. You have a best friend whose name is Kris. You write about your marvelous childhood adventures. Embellished for greater effect, of course. It’s a grand tale. However, in this story you refer to yourself as Kris and call Kris by the name of Raspy instead. Er…sure…
A little odd, no? Stealing your best friend’s name and bestowing such a weird replacement moniker? Believe it or not, this actually happened. No, not with you and ol’ Raspy.


The writer of notoriety is none other than Mark Twain (the clever pen name…if you don’t know why it’s clever, there’s a research project for you) also known as Samuel Clemens. The childhood escapades are, naturally, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Now for the odd part. The best friend of Tom is called, as you know, Huck. Here’s the truth of the matter. “Huckleberry” in real life had the name of Tom Blankenship. But in the story, Sam named himself Tom and called Tom…well, you know. If you’re like me, tidbits like this are a puzzle and delight. It’s more than a little odd. Perhaps there are circumstances of which I am not aware…maybe Blankenship wanted to be named after a wild bush fruit.

Otherwise, I just shake my head. Don’t get me wrong. Could the names Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn be any better? Maybe that in and of itself, is the reason. Either way, it’s both compelling and bizarre.

I could look it up further, but I think I like being perplexed by it. If you happen to be able to shed light on the matter, please feel free to do so.

2 comments:

Danielle Mari said...

This past weekend, we drove past an exit that was marked "Luckey [sic] Haskey." I think that's a great character name, too!

genericdragon said...

Tom Sawyer isn't the first time he stole a moniker. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah_Sellers