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On a snowy night, a baby girl is born to a man and woman who name her after the Northern Lights. Years later, young Aurora finds herself alone after losing her parents. Follow Aurora on her journey through lands of mystical creatures and magic in her search for home. This is a beautiful, touching story set to rhyme that follows the young protagonist, Aurora as she travels from place to place in hopes of discovering where she truly belongs. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Say, lemme hear you read. You can do it. I had my doubts when you told me. Now looky here; you stop that putting on frills. I never see such a son. I heard about it away down the river, too. You git me that money to-morrow — I want it. You git it. I want it. Say, how much you got in your pocket? So Judge Thatcher and the widow had to quit on the business.

I borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got drunk, and went a-blowing around and cussing and whooping and carrying on ; and he kept it up all over town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they jailed him, and next day they had him before court, and jailed him again for a week. When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of him. So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak.

The old man said that what a man wanted that was down was sym- pathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried again. The judge said it was the holiest time on record, or something like that. Then they tucked the old man into a beautiful room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got powerful thirsty and dumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded- his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and dumb back again and had a good old time'; and toward daylight he crawled out again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him after sun-up.

And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take soundings before they could navi- gate it.

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The judge he felt kind of sore. He catched me a couple of times and thrashed me, but I went to school just the same, and dodged him or out- run him most of the time. Every time he got money he got drunk ; and every time he got dnmk he raised Cain around town ; and every time he raised Cam he got jailed. He was just suited— this kind of thmg was right in his line. Well, wamH he mad? So he watched out for me one day in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the. He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the door and put the key under his head nights.

He had a gun which he had stole, I reckon, and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived on. Every little while he locked me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home and got drunk and had a good time, and licked me. It was kind of lazy and joUy, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study.

It was pretty good times up in the woods there, take it all around. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was dreadful lonesome. I was scared. I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there. The door was thick, solid oak slabs. Pap was pretty careful not to leave a knife or anything in the cabin when he was away ; I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a hundred times ; well, I was most all the time at it, because it was about the only way to put in the time.

But this time I found something at last ; I found an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a rafter and the clapboards of the roof. I greased it up and went to work. There was an old horse- blanket nailed against the logs at the far end of the cabin be- hind the table, to keep the wind from blowing through the chinks and putting the candle out. I got rid of the signs of my work, and dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap come in.

He said he was down-town, and everything was going wrong. His lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on the trial ; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it. He said he would like to see the widow get me. The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got. There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side of bacon, ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old book and two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow.

I toted up a load, and went back and set down on the bow of the skiff to rest. I thought it all over, and I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some lines, and take to the woods when I run away. I judged I would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned he would. I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was about dark. While I was cooking supper the old man took a swig or two and got sort of warmed up, and went to ripping again.

He had been drunk over in town, and laid in the gutter all night, and he was a sight to look at. Whenever his liquor begun to work he most always went for the govment. And they call that govment! They call that govment! Look at it, says I — such a hat for me to wear — one of the wealthiest men in this town if I could get my rights. Why, looky here. There was a free nigger there from Ohio — a mulat- ter, most as white as a white man. And what do you think?

They said he could Dote when he was at home. Well, that let me out. And what do you reckon they said? He hopped around the cabin considerable, first on one leg and then on the other, holding first one shin and then the other one, and at last he let out with his left foot all of a sudden and fetched the tub a i-attling kick.

He said so his own self afterwards. Pie had heard old Sowberry Hagan in his best days, and he said it laid over him, too; but I reckon that was sort of piling it on, maybe. After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough whisky there for two drunks and one delirium tremens. He groaned and moaned and thrashed around this way and that for a long time. Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell down panting; then he roUed over and over wonderful fast, kicking things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and screaming and saying there was devils a-hold of him.

He wore out by and by, and laid still awhile, moaning. I could hear the owls and the wolves away off in the woods, and it seemed terrible still. He was laying over by the corner. By and by he raised up part way and listened, with his head to one side. Oh, let a poor devil alone! I could hear him through the blanket. By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up.

Once when I turned short and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket be- tween my shoulders, and I thought I was gone; but I slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself. Pretty soon he was all tired out, and dropped down with his back against the door, and said he would rest a minute and then kill me. He put his knife under him, and said he would sleep and get strong, and then he would see who was who. So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the old spit- bottom chair and dumb up as easy as I could, not to make any noise, and got down the gun.

I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded; and then I laid it across the turnip- barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait for him to stir. And how slow and still the time did drag along. It was after sun-up, and I had been sound asleep. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I knowed the river had begun to rise. I reckoned I would have great times now if I was over at the town. Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck.

I shot head-first off of the bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe. It was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I dumb in and paddled her ashore. It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the old man coming aU the time; but I got her hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun.

He abused me a little for being so slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and that was what made me so long. I knowed he would see I was wet, and then he would be asking questions. We got five catfish off the lines and went home. Next time you roust me out, you hear? The river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of drift- wood going by on the rise.

By and by along comes part of a log raft — nine logs fast together. We went out with the skiff and towed it ashore. Then we had dinner. Nine logs was enough for one time; he must shove right over to town and sell. So he locked me in and took the skiff, and started off towing the raft about half past three. I waited till I reckoned he had got a good start; then I out with my saw, and went to work on that log again. I took the sack of com meal and took it to where the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and put it in ; then I done the same with the side of bacon ; then the whisky- jug.

I took all the coffee and sugar there was, and all the am- munition; I took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd; took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two blankets, and the skillet and the coffee-pot. I took fish-lines and matches and other things — everything that was worth a cent. I cleaned out the place. I fetched out the gun, and now I was done. I POOL. So I fixed that as good as I could from the outside by scattering dust on the place, which covered up the smoothness and the sawdust.

I followed around to see. I stood on the bank and looked out over the river. All safe. So I took the gun and went up a piece into the woods, and was hunting around for some birds when I see a wild pig; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they had got away from the prairie-farms. I shot this fellow and took him into camp. I took the ax and smashed in the door. I beat it and hacked it considerable a-domg it. I fetched the pig in, and took back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the ax, and laid him down on the grovmd to bleed; I say groimd because it was ground — hard packed, and no boards.

Well, next I took an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it — all I could drag — and I started it from the pig, and dragged it to the door and through the woods down to the river and dxunped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight. You could easy see that something had been dragged over the ground.

I did wish Tom Sawyer was there ; I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of business, and throw in the fancy touches. Nobody could spread himself like Tom Savryer in such a thing as that. Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded the ax good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the ax in the cor- ner. Now I thought of something else. So I went and got the bag of meal and my old saw out of the canoe, and fetched them to the house. Then I carried the sack about a hundred yards across the grass and through the willows east of the house, to a shallow lake that was five mile wide and full of rushes — and ducks too, you might say, in season.

The meal sifted out and made a little track all the way to the lake. It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe down the river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited for the moon to rise. I made fast to a willow; then I took a bite to eat, and by and by laid down in the canoe to smoke a pipe and lay out a plan.

All right ; I can stop anywhere I want to. And then I can paddle over to town nights, and slink around and pick up things I want. I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I was asleep. Then I remembered. The river looked miles and miles across. Every- thing was dead quiet, and it looked late, and smelt late. I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going to im- hitch and start when I heard a sound away over the water. I listened.

Pretty soon I made it out. I peeped out through the willow branches, and there it was— a skiff, away across the water. Well, it was pap, sure enough — and sober, too, by tbe way be laid bis oars. The next minute I was a-spinning down-stream soft, but quick, in the shade of the bank. I made two mile and a half, and then struck out a quarter of a mile or more toward the middle of the river, because pretty soon I would be passing the ferry-landing, and people might see me and hail me.

I got out amongst the driftwood, and then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. I laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, looking away into the sky ; not a cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when you lay down on your hack in the moonshine ; I never knowed it before. And how far a body can hear on the water such nights! I heard people talking at the ferry-landing. I heard what they said, too — every word of it. One man said it was get- ting toward the long ddys and the short nights now. I was away below the ferry now. I shot past the head at a ripping rate, the current was so swift, and then I got into the dead water and landed on the side towards the Illinois shore.

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the island, and looked out on the big river and the black driftwood and away over to the town, three mile away, where there was three or four lights twinkling. A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile upstream, coming along down, with a lantern in the middle of it. There was a little gray in the sky now; so I stepped into the woods, and laid down for a nap before breakfast. I laid there in the grass and the cool shade thinking about things, and feeling rested and ruther comforta- ble and satisfied.

I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them. There was freckled places on the ground where the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places swapped about a little, showing there was a little breeze up there. A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly. I rouses up, and rests on my elbow and listens ; pretty soon I hears it again.

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I hopped up, and went and looked out at a hole in the leaves, and I see a bunch of smoke laying on the water a long ways up — about abreast the ferry. And there was the ferryboat full of people floating along down. I knowed what was the matter now. You see, they was firing cannon over the water, trying to make my carcass come to the top.

So I set there and watched the cannon-smoke and listened to the boom. The river was a mile wide there, and it always looks pretty on a summer morning — so 1 was having a good enough time seeing them hunt for my remainders if I only had a bite to eat. Well, then I happened to think how they always put quicksilver in loaves of bread and float them off, because they always go right to the drownded carcass and stop there. A big dou- ble loaf come along, and I most got it with a long stick, but my foot slipped and she floated out further. Of course I was where the current set in the closest to the shore — I knowed enough for that.

But by and by along comes another one, and this time I won. I took out the plug and shook out the little dab of quicksilver, and set my teeth in. I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a log, mxmching the bread and watching the ferryboat, and very well satisfied. And then something struck me. I says, now I reckon the widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it has gone and done it. I lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went on watch- ing. Where the log forked I could peep through.

Most every- body was on the boat. I hope so, anyway. They all crowded up and leaned over the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watching with all their might. The boat floated on and went out of sight around the shoulder of the island. The island was three nfile long. I judged they had got to the foot, and was giving it up. They turned around the foot of the island and started up the channel on the Missouri side, under steam, and boom- ing once in a while as they went. I crossed over to that side and watched them. When they got abreast the head of the island they quit shooting and dropped over to the Misso-uri shore and went home to the town.

I knowed I was all right now. Nobody else would come a-hunting after me. I got my traps out of the canoe and made me a nice camp in the thick woods. I catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw, and towards sundown I started my camp-fire and had supper. Then I set out a line to catch some fish for breakfast.

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And so for three days and nights. No difference — just the same thing. But the next day I went exploring around down through the island, I was boss of it; it all belonged to me, so to say, and I wanted to know all about it; but mainly I wanted to put in the time. I found plenty strawberries, ripe and prime ; and green summer grapes, and green razberries; and the green blackberries was just beginning to show.

They would all come handy by and by, I judged. About this time I mighty near stepped on a good-sized snake, and it went shding off through the grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot at it. I clipped along, and aU of a sudden I bounded right on to the ashes of a camp-fire that was all smoking. My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never waited for to look further, but uncocked my gun and went sneaking back on my tiptoes as fast as ever I could. I slunk along another piece further, then listened again; and so on, and so on.

AU I could get to eat was berries and what was left over from breakfast. By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So when it was good and dark I slid out from shore before moomise and paddled over to the Illinois bank — about a quarter of a mile. I got everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and then went creeping through the woods to see what I could find out.

I tied up in the old place, and reckoned I woxild sleep in the canoe. And every time I waked up I thought somebody had me by the neck. Well, I felt better right off. The moon was shining, and outside of the shadows it made it most as light as day. I poked along well on to an hour, everything still as rocks and sound asleep. Well, by this time I was most down to the foot of the island. A little ripply, cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as saying the night was about done. I sat down there on a log, and looked out through the leaves.

But in a little while I see a pale streak over the treetops, and knowed the day was com- ing. So I took my gun and slipped off towards where I had run across that camp-fire, stopping every minute or two to listen. But by and by, sure enough, I catched a glimpse of fire away through the trees. I went for it cautious and slow. By and by I was close enough to have a look, and there laid a man on the groxmd. It most give me the fantods. He had a blanket around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire.

I set there behind a clump of hushes in about six foot of him, and kept my eyes on him steady. It was getting gray daylight now. I bet I was glad to see him. He bounced up and stared at me wild. I was ever so glad to see Jim. Make up your camp- fire good. Den we kin git sumfn better den strawbries. I think I could. But you got a gxm. Oh, yes, you got a gun. I catched a good big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried him. When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it smoking hot. Jim laid it in with all his might, for he was most about starved. Then when we had got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and lazied.

Honest injun, I will. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you. Well, I wuz dah all night. Den I swum to de stem uv it en tuck a-holt. How could a body do it in de night? I knowed dey was arter yog. Jim said it was a sign it was going to rain. He said it was a sign when young chickens flew that way, and so he reckoned it was the same way when young birds done it. He said it was death. He said his father laid mighty sick once, and some of them catched a bird, and his old granny said his father would die, and he did.

And he said if a man owned a beehive and that man died, the bees must be told about it before sun-up next morning, or else the bees would all weaken down and quit work and die. I had heard about some of these things before, hut not all of them. Jim knowed all kinds of signs. He said he knowed most everything. Want to keep it off? I put ten dollars in a cow. I sole de hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents. Did you speculate any more? This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge about forty foot high.

We had a rough time getting to the top, the sides were so steep and the bushes so thick. We tramped and dumb arornid all over it, and by and by found a good big cav- ern in the rock, most up to the top on the side towards Illinois. The cavern was as big as two or three rooms bunched together, and Jim could stand up straight in it. It was cool in there. Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place and had all the traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody was to come to the island, and they would never find us without dogs. And, besides, he said them little birds had said it was going to rain, and did I want the things to get wet?

Then we hunted up a place close by to hide the canoe in, amongst the thick willows. The door of the cavern was hig enough to roll a hogshead in, and on one side of the door the fioor stuck out a little bit, and was flat and a good place to build a fire on. So we built it there and cooked dinner. We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat our din- ner in there. We put all the other things handy at the back of the cavern.

Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thimder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it begim to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see the wind blow so. It was one of these regular smnmer storms. It would get so dark that it looked all blue-hlack outside, and lovely, and the rain would thrash along hy so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider- webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and set the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was just about the bluest and blackest — fst!

Pass me along another hunk of fish and some hot corn-hread. The water was three or four foot deep on the island in the low places and on the Illinois bottom. On that side it was a good many miles wide, but on the Missouri side it was the same old distance across — a half a mile — because the Missouri shore was just a waU of high bluffs. Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the canoe. It was mighty cool and shady in the deep woods, even if the sun was blazing outside. We went winding in and out amongst the trees, and sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back away and go some other way.

The ridge our cavern was in was full of them. It was twelve foot wide and about fifteen or six- teen foot long, and the top stood above water six or seven inches — a solid, level floor. Another night when we was up at the head of the island, just before daylight, here comes a frame-house down, on the west side.

She wasf a two-story, and tilted over considerable. We paddled out and got aboard — dumb in at an up-stairs window. But it was too dark to see yet, so we made the canoe fast and set in her to wait for dayhght. Then we looked in at the window. We could make out a bed, and a table, and two old chairs, and lots of things around about on the floor, and there was clothes hanging against the wall.

There was something laying on the floor in the far corner that looked like a man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too. There was heaps of old greasy cards scattered around over the floor, and old whisky-bottles, and a couple of masks made out of black cloth ; and all over the walls was the ignorantest kind of words and pictures made with charcoal.

We put the lot into the canoe — it might come good. And there was a bottle that had had milk in it, and it had a rag stopper for a baby to suck. There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the hinges broke. And so, take it all around, we made a good haul.

When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover up with the quilt, because if he set up people could tell he was a nigger a good ways off. I paddled over to the Illinois shore, and drifted down most a half a mile doing it. We got home all safe. You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a snake-skin with my hands. I wish we could have some bad luck like this every day, Jim.

It was a Tuesday that we had that talk. Well, after dinner Friday we was laying aroimd in the grass at the upper end of the ridge, and got out of tobacco. I went to the cavern to get some, and found a rattlesnake in there. He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light showed was the varmint curled up and ready for another spring. He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right on the heel. That all conies of my being such a fool as to not remember that wherever you leave a dead snake its mate always comes there and curls around it.

I done it, and he eat it and said it would help cure him. He made me take off the rattles and tie them around his wrist, too. He said that would help. Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and then he got out of his head and pitched around and yelled ; but eveiy time he come to himself he went to sucking at the jug again. Jim was laid up for four days and nights. Then the swelling was all gone and he was around again. Jim said he reckoned I would believe him next time. He said he druther see the new moon over his left shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a snake- skin in his hand.

Pap told me. But anyway it all come of looking at the moon that way, like a fool. Well, the days went along, and the river went down between its banks again; and about the first thing we done was to bait one of the big books with a skinned rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that was as big as a man, being six foot two inches long, and weighed over two hundred povmds. We just set there and watched him rip and tear aroimd till he drownded. We found a brass button in his stomach and a roimd ball, and lots of rubbage.

We split the ball open with the hatchet, and there was a spool in it. It was as big a flsh as was ever catched in the Mississippi, I reckon. Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, and I wanted to get a stirring-up some way. T im liked that notion ; but he said I must go in the dark and look sharp. That was a good notion, too. So we shortened up one of the cahco gowns, and I turned my trouser-legs to my knees and got into it. Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit. I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a body to look in and see my face was hke looking down a joint of stove-pipe.

Jim said nobody would know me, even in the day- time, hardly. I took notice, and done better. I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just after dark. I started across to the town from a little below the ferry- landing, and the drift of the current fetched me in at the bot- tom of the town. I tied up and started along the bank. I shpped up and peeped in at the window. There was a woman about forty year old in there knitting by a candle that was on a pine table.

N ow this was lucky, because I was weakening; I was getting afraid I had come; people might know my voice and find me out. In this neighborhood? In Hookerville, seven miles below. He lives at the upper end of the town, she says. Do you know him? You better stay here all night. Take off your bonnet. She told about me and Tom Sawyer finding the twelve thousand dollars only she got it twenty and all about pap and what a hard lot he was, and what a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to where I was murdered.

Some think old Finn done it himself. But before night they changed around and judged it was done by a nmaway nigger named Jim. I reckoned I better keep still. Before night they wanted to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. So then they put it on him, you see ; and while they was full of it, next day, back comes old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over Illinois with.

The judge gave him some, and that evening he got drvmk, and was around till after midnight with a couple of mighty hard-looking strangers, and then went off with them. Has everybody quit thinking the nigger done it? A good many think he done it. Does three hundred dol- lars lay around every day for people to pick up? No, nobody, says they. He was gone up the river; but he got back to-day, and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago. I had to do something with my hands ; so I took up a needle off of the table and went to threading it.

My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it. When the woman stopped talking I looked up, and she was looking at me pretty curious and smiling a little. I wish my mother cordd get it. Is your husband going over there to- night? He went up-town with the man I was telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could borrow another gun. I wished the woman would say something more ; the longer she set still the uneasier I was. Sarah Mary Williams. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary. Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free as if they owned the place, and so forth and so on, and then I got easy again.

She was right about the rats. Then she told me to try for the next one. She said that was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive the next one. She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it back, and brought along a hank of yarn which she wanted me to help her with. You better have the lead in your lap, handy. But only about a minute. Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob?

Set down and stay where you are. Y ou just tell me your secret, and trust me. I said I believed my uncle Abner Moore would take care of me, and so that was why I struck out for this town of Goshen. This is St. Who told you this was Goshen?


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He told me when the roads forked I must take the right hand, and five mile would fetch me to Goshen. He told you just exactly wrong. I got to be moving along. You might want it. Which end gets up first? I thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men, maybe. And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a-tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, hke there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy.

Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain. Keep the river road all the way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks with you.

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I jumped in and was off in a hurry. I went up-stream far enough to make the head of the island, and then started across. When I was about the middle I heard the clock begin to strike, so I stops and listens; the sound come faint over the water but clear — eleven. When I struck the head of the island I never waited to blow, though I was most winded. Then I jumped in the canoe and dug out for our place, a mile and a half below, as hard as I could go. I landed, and slopped through the timber and up the ridge and into the cav- ern.

There Jim laid, sound asleep on the ground. By that time everything we had in the world was on our raft, and she was ready to be shoved out from the willow cove where she was hid. We put out the camp-fire at the. Then we got out the raft and slipped along down in the shade, past the foot of the island dead still — never saying a word. We was in ruther too much of a sweat to think of so many things. If the men went to the island I just expect they found the camp-fire I built, and watched it all night for Jim to come.

I played it as low down on them as I could. When the first streak of day began to show we tied up to a towhead in a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked off cot- tonwood branches vdth the hatchet, and covered up the raft with them so she looked like there had been a cave-in in the bank there. A towhead is a sand-bar that has cottonwoods on it as thick as harrow-teeth.

We laid there all day, and watched the rafts and steamboats spin down the Missouri shore, and up-boimd steam- boats fight the big river in the middle. When it was beginning to come on dark we poked our heads out of the cottonwood thicket, and looked up and down and across; nothing in sight; so Jim took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a snug wigwam -to get under in blazing weather and rainy, and to keep the things dry.

Jim made a fioor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the traps was out of reach of steamboat waves. Right in the middle of the wig- wam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with a frame around it for to hold it to its place; this was to build a fire on in sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep it from being seen.

We made an extra steering-oar, too, be- cause one of the others might get broke on a snag or something. This second night we run between seven and eight hours, with a current that was making over four miles an hour. We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see.

The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was hke the whole world lit up. In St. Petersburg they used to say there was twenty or thirty thousand people in St. Mornings before daylight I slipped into corn-fields, and bor- rowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind. So we talked it over all one night, drifting along down the river, trying to make up our minds whether to drop the watermelons, or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons, or what.

Take it all round, we lived pretty high. The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm after midnight, with a power of thunder and lightning, and the ram poured down in a sohd sheet. We stayed in the wigwam and let the raft take care of itself. When the lightning glared out we could see a big straight river ahead, and high rocky bluffs on both sides. We was drifting straight down for her. The hghtning showed her very distinct.

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She was leaning over, with part of her upper deck above water, and you could see every little chimbly-guy clean and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with an old slouch hat hanging on the back of it, when the flashes come. I wanted to get aboard of her and sling aroimd a little, and see what there was there. See- gars, I bet you — and cost five cents apiece, solid cash. Ho you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing?


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I wish Tom Sawyer was here. The lightning showed us the wreck again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard derrick, and made fast there. The deck was high out here. Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful sick, and told me to come along. Then in there I see a man stretched on the floor and tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and the other one had a pistol. And I orter, too — a mean skunk! Put up that pistol. But before they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come. Then they stood there, with their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked.

I was too scared. They talked low and earnest. Bill wanted to kill Turner. You listen to me. So we went a-quaking and shaking down the stabhoard side, and slow work it was, too — seemed a week be- fore we got to the stern. No sign of a boat. But I said, come on, if we get left on this wreck we are in a fix, sure.

So on we prowled again. We struck for the stern of the texas, and foimd it, and then scrabbled along forwards on the skylight, hanging on from shutter to shutter, for the edge of the skylight was in the water. When we got pretty close to the cross-hall door there was the skiff, sme enough! I could just barely see her. I felt ever so thank- ful. It was Packard. Then Bill he come out and got in.

But we got to have it anyway. Come along. The door slammed to because it was on the careened side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim come tumbhng after me. I out with my knife and cut the rope, and away we went! We went gliding swift along, dead silent, past the tip of the paddle-box, and past the stern; then in a second or two more we was a hundred yards below the wreck, and the darkness soaked her up, every last sign of her, and we was safe, and knowed it.

When we was three or four htmdred yards do-wnstream we see the lantern show like a little spark at the texas door for a second, and we knowed by that that the rascals had missed their boat, and was beginning to xmderstand that they was in just as much trouble now as Jim Turner was. Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after our raft. I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix. The rain poured down, and never a hght showed; everybody in bed I reckon.

We boomed along down the river, watching for lights and watching for our raft. After a long time the rain let up, but the clouds stayed, and the lightning kept whimpering, and by and by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, and we made for it. It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get aboard of it again. We seen a light now away down to the right, on shore. So I said I would go for it. The skiff was half full of plunder which that gang had stole there on the wreck. We hustled it on to the raft m a pile, and I told Jim to float along down, and show a light when he judged he had gone about two mile, and keep it burning till I come; then I manned my oars and shoved for the light.

It was a village. I closed in above the shore light, and laid on my oars and floated. As I went by I see it was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull ferryboat. I skimmed arormd for the watchman, a-wondering whereabouts he slept; and by and by I foimd him roosting on the bitts forward, with his head down between his knees. I gave his shoulder two or three little shoves, and begun to cry. Where are they? Why, how in the nation did they ever git into such a scrape? Miss What-you-may-call-her — I disremember her name — and they lost their steering oar, and swung around and went a-floating down, stern first, about two mile, and saddle-baggsed on the wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger woman and the horses was all lost, but Miss Hooker she made a grab and got aboard the wreck.

And then what did you all do? So pap said somebody got to get ashore and get help somehow. I wished the widow knowed about it. I judged she would be proud of me for helping these rapscallions, because rapscallions and dead- beats is the kind the widow and good people takes the most interest in. Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and dusky, sliding along down.

A kind of cold shiver went through me, and then I struck out for her. I felt a little bit heavy-hearted about the gang, but not much, for I reckoned if they could stand it I could. By the time I got there the sky was beginning to get a little gray in the east; so we struck for an island, and hid the raft, and sunk the skiff, and turned in and slept like dead people. The seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the woods ta lkin g, and me reading the books, and having a general good time.

Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head for a nigger. How much do a king git? En what dey got to do, Huck? Why, how you talk!

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They just set around. But mostly they hang round the harem. Solomon had one; he had about a million wives. Bofe im you claims it. What does I do? En what use is a half a chile? It lays in de way Sollermim was raised. He was the most down on Solomon of any nigger I ever see. So I went to talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide. What he gwyne to do? Some of them gets on the police, and some of them learns people how to talk French. How do dat come? I got some of their jabber out of a book.

You answer me that. Is a cow a man? Is a Frenchman a man? You answer me dot! So I quit. We would sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio amongst the free states, and then be out of trouble. I passed the line around one of them right on the edge of the cut bank, but there was a stiff current, and the raft come booming down so lively she tore it out by the roots and away she went. I jumped into the canoe and run back to the stern, and grabbed the paddle and set her back a stroke.


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I whooped and hstened.