book review · books

Book Review: The Whipping Boy

Horace is very spoiled and craves attention from his father. He frequently misbehaves yet no one raises a hand against him, since he is a prince. Therefore, his family provides him a whipping boy named Jemmy, who was fetched from the streets.

Although he is the one who gets beaten every time the prince does something bad, he was also taught to read, write and solve. But even though he learned, Jemmy still longed for freedom.

The prince decided to run away, and he puts Jemmy in his plan, making him a servant.

On their journey, two highwaymen, Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater, picked them up and hatched a scheme to ransom the prince.

During their “imprisonment”, Jemmy talks them into believing that he is the prince. Horace misunderstands him and betrays him. Nevertheless, they were able to escape.

During their run, they met a girl who was looking for her bear and she leads them into the river where they met a man with a wagon full of potatoes. They helped him get the wagon out of the mud, and in exchange, he offers them, including the girl and her bear, a lift to the fair, but they were again caught by the highwaymen.

They thought that it was a crime to beat the prince so, still believing that Jemmy is the royalty, they beat up Horace.

The bear scared the men away, and they arrived at the fair. The girl earns coins from her bear’s dancing performances,  the kind man sold hot potatoes and the two boys went to the sewer to catch some rats.

On their way, the prince finally hear the things people say about him. He was deeply hurt but doesn’t show his emotions. When they learned that the king had posted a reward for the whipping, they rush into the sewers where they, unfortunately, met the highwaymen again.

The boys tricked the highwaymen into the most dangerous sewer, where they emerged, covered with rats.

The prince decided that he already wants to go back home. When they met up with the potato man, Horace reveals himself as the prince and suggests that he deserves to have the reward for the whipping boy.

When the prince explained their whole escapade to the king, he pardons Jemmy, and the two boys live in the palace as best of friends.


I’ve already heard many stories about a rich person and a poor person becoming best friends, but this is really different.

It all started out when the king ordered people to find a boy to receive the punishment every time Horace causes mischief. He treats him like scum, calling him “Jemmy-from-the-streets” but all changed because of an escapade, which had probably taught the prince different morals and values.

He probably might also learned how people lived on the streets, but I think that the thing that affected most of his personality was when he heard other people say things about him, which he knew were true, yet the two things that he could not accept is that: 1.) He is called Prince Brat and 2.) People say that they don’t like him to be king.

I think he changed himself so that he would be viewed as a whole different person, and he would prove them wrong that he could still change for a better future of the kingdom that would soon be his.

It also proves that even servants can be friends with their masters despite of their rugged clothes and past life along the streets.


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