Study Guide

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Chapter 6

By Mark Twain

Chapter 6

The Eclipse

  • The day of the execution arrives and the Yankee is dragged out of his cell. The Yankee despairs because the execution has been moved up by one day, and now it's before the eclipse, which perfectly mucks up his whole scheme. The court (which clearly has nothing better to do… like running the country) has assembled to watch him burn.
  • Clarence proudly reveals that he set the execution day forward to better take advantage of the court's fear.
  • Clarence begs Hank not to permanently damage the sun, and the Yankee, in his despair, assures him that he won't.
  • As the soldiers tie the Yankee to the stake, new hope arises: the eclipse begins, and the court freaks out.
  • Merlin commands the torch be lit, while Arthur tells them to halt the execution. The Yankee also commands everyone to halt, lest he send lightning down to destroy them.
  • In a very unkingly display, Arthur begs the Yankee to restore the sun. Hank the Yank asks for time to consider—you know, since he doesn't actually have control over the eclipse.
  • While he "considers," the Yankee realizes that Clarence screwed up the dates, which was extremely lucky for him since it allowed him to pull off his ruse.
  • The Yankee claims that he will spare the sun if the king makes him his prime minister, and pays him one percent of the kingdom's net growth every year.
  • The king rapidly agrees, and the Yankee is set free and clothed in royal garments.

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