|"Jemmy is the prince's whipping boy. Because the prince is never supposed to be disciplined in the kingdom, any time the prince gets in trouble, Jemmy is brought in and whipped in place of the prince. This is a difficult job, especially since the prince has earned the name Prince Brat, and he longs to escape the castle and return to the streets where he was raised. One night, Prince Brat arrives at Jemmy's room and orders the whipping boy to accompany him as he runs away. Jemmy sees this as his chance to escape the castle, and they leave.
Prince Brat and Jemmy, however, immediately run into two highwaymen, Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater, once they leave the castle. The bandits kidnap the boys hoping to collect a ransom for the prince. Jemmy, however, sees a chance to save the prince. He convinces the bandits that he is the prince, and he tries to get them to send his servant (really the prince) back with a message. The prince, though, refuses to pretend that he is a lowly servant and foils the plan. In frustration, Jemmy makes a break into the woods and momentarily escapes the bandits. Prince Brat, of course, follows Jemmy. The bandits chase the boys through the forest until a bear appears to chase the highwaymen away. The bear, it turns out, has been trained by a gypsy, and they are headed to the fair. The boys join the gypsy and enter the city.
Once there, however, the bandits catch up to the boys. They flee into the sewers where Jemmy once was a rat-catcher. The highwaymen pursue them through the tunnels. By a bit of trickery, Jemmy convinces the bandits to head down a tunnel filled with rats, and once the bandits are attacked by the rats, they flee the city. Jimmy's experience in the tunnel makes him recognize that he really doesn't want to return to his former life on the streets. Also, the two boys determine that they have become friends throughout their adventure. They emerge from the sewers to find that the king is searching for the prince and is offering a reward for the whipping boy who supposedly kidnapped the prince. The prince tells Jemmy that he will protect him, and in an act of friendship and trust, Jemmy decides to return to the castle, not as the prince's whipping boy, but as his friend.
J.C. Pierce, Resident Scholar