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Listen: Author discovered unfinished Mark Twain story – it’s now a book

Doc Thompson
Mahone Bay, Canada - November 10, 2011: A stack of leather bound books from several classic authors and various publishers. These books were published in the 1980s and were popular to collect at that time. RyersonClark / Getty Images

Mark Twain left behind an unfinished story about a boy and magical seeds that he told to his children at bedtime. Author Philip Stead and his wife, Erin Stead, teamed up to finish the tale as a beautifully illustrated book called “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine.”

Philip Stead shared their journey of bringing the 16 pages of handwritten notes left behind by Twain to life as a complete book on today’s show. Another author came across the tale while hunting for Mark Twain recipes, and Prince Oleomargarine was reintroduced to the world.

“I like to see him as the founder of stand-up comedy, too,” Stead explained why Twain is still important. “That plainspokenness and that ability to speak profoundly but to simple truths is really what sets Mark Twain apart from other authors.”

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