Horatio Alger wrote 135 dime vels in the latter part of the 19th century. His stories were rags to riches stories illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream. Alger's stories empathize the need for hard work and honesty as a way to get ahead. Phil, the Fiddler is the story of a 12-year-old boy from Southern Italy who is enslaved and forced to work in America as a street musician. He escapes his cruel master and meets a kind doctor and his wife.