In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the narrator says "But all of a sudden I stumbled on the very thing, just by luck. I knew that the only total eclipse of the sun in the first half of the sixth century occurred on the 21st of June, A.D. 528, O.S., and began at 3 minutes after 12 noon.”

When I read the book as a kid, I just took this at face value; and of course Mark Twain didn’t have any problems using unlikely coincidences in his other books. 

But since then I’ve always wondered: are we really supposed to believe this? Or was Mark Twain poking deadpan fun at unbelievable coincidences in literature?