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I am glad O Henry escaped from his Texas prison, because his period of exile in Honduras provided him with beautiful fodder for this book. Actually, it is a series of linking vignettes about a mythical town (Coralio) in the mythical Central American Banana Republic of Anchuria. The protagonists are American and other foreign misfits who have formed a colony along the disease ridden coast of Anchuria. Achingly funny stories populate Cabbages and Kings, especially the one about an Irish Soldier of Fortune who gets swindled by a Guatemalan general and seeks revenge. Although extremely humourous, Cabbages and Kings is historically valuable as well. It provides an accurate representation of turn-of-the-century life in Caribbean Honduras.

This book was written in the era prior to mass media forms such as TV, Radio, etc.were widely available. The parlor book, or porch book was used by the family as entertainment and the reader best able to read out loud would be the evening or afternoons source of entertainment. The style of writing was captivating, and the stories gripping and often sensational with unexpected outcomes that really suprpised their audiences. This book having several stories in it was a real deal. The Mother in the house that could afford books and could read them was the TV of that era and read to her children at bedtime, thus the origin of the childs bedtime story which continues even now.

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