Mysterious Stranger

The Mysterious Stranger is the final novel attempted by the American author Mark Twain. He worked on it periodically from 1897 through 1908. The body of work is a serious social commentary by Twain addressing his ideas of the Moral Sense and the “damned human race”.

In 1985, a scene from The Chronicle of Young Satan was adapted in the claymation film The Adventures of Mark Twain, wherein Satan invites Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher to his company, showcasing his powers to manifest things at will.

He invites them to construct small clay people, which he brings to life and places in a small kingdom. Satan expresses curiosity and eventually spite toward their creations when the clay people display infighting and inflict cruelty on one another. He causes plagues and natural disasters to destroy the small community, buries the ruins with an earthquake, and causes wild vegetation to engulf the spot where the clay people once lived, demonstrating the futility and insignificance of mankind.

The scene also quotes Satan’s last line from the book. In this version, Satan appears playful and friendly when he constructs the small kingdom, slowly revealing himself as cruel and hateful as he destroys it. He appears as a robed, headless figure with a mask where his head would be. As his true nature is revealed, the mask gradually changes from a pleasant appearance to a grinning skull.

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