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Chapter 3


CHAPTER III.

WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning
from old Miss Watson on account of my
clothes; but the widow she didn't scold, but only
cleaned off the grease and clay, and looked so sorry
that I thought I would behave awhile if I could. Then
Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but
nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day,
and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't
so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks.
It warn't any good to me without hooks. I tried for
the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn't
make it work. By and by, one day, I asked Miss
Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She
never told me why, and I couldn't make it out no way.

I set down one time back in the woods, and had a
long think about it. I says to myself, if a body can
get anything they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn
get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the
widow get back her silver snuffbox that was stole?
Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to my
self, there ain't nothing in it. I went and told the
widow about it, and she said the thing a body could
get by praying for it was "spiritual gifts." This was
too many for me, but she told me what she meant -- I
must help other people, and do everything I could for
other people, and look out for them all the time, and
never think about myself. This was including Miss
Watson, as I took it. I went out in the woods and
turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't
see no advantage about it -- except for the other peo-
ple; so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it
any more, but just let it go. Sometimes the widow
would take me one side and talk about Providence in a
way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe next
day Miss Watson would take hold and knock it all
down again. I judged I could see that there was two
Providences, and a poor chap would stand considerable
show with the widow's Providence, but if Miss Wat-
son's got him there warn't no help for him any more.
I thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to
the widow's if he wanted me, though I couldn't make
out how he was a-going to be any better off then than
what he was before, seeing I was so ignorant, and so
kind of low-down and ornery.

Pap he hadn't been seen for more than a year, and
that was comfortable for me; I didn't want to see him
no more. He used to always whale me when he was
sober and could get his hands on me; though I used
to take to the woods most of the time when he was
around. Well, about this time he was found in the
river drownded, about twelve mile above town, so
people said. They judged it was him, anyway; said
this drownded man was just his size, and was ragged,
and had uncommon long hair, which was all like pap;
but they couldn't make nothing out of the face, be-
cause it had been in the water so long it warn't much
like a face at all. They said he was floating on his
back in the water. They took him and buried him on
the bank. But I warn't comfortable long, because I
happened to think of something. I knowed mighty
well that a drownded man don't float on his back, but
on his face. So I knowed, then, that this warn't pap,
but a woman dressed up in a man's clothes. So I was
uncomfortable again. I judged the old man would
turn up again by and by, though I wished he wouldn't.

We played robber now and then about a month, and
then I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed
nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only just pre-
tended. We used to hop out of the woods and go
charging down on hog-drivers and women in carts
taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any
of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs "ingots," and
he called the turnips and stuff "julery," and we would
go to the cave and powwow over what we had done,
and how many people we had killed and marked. But
I couldn't see no profit in it. One time Tom sent a
boy to run about town with a blazing stick, which he
called a slogan (which was the sign for the Gang to
get together), and then he said he had got secret news
by his spies that next day a whole parcel of Spanish
merchants and rich A-rabs was going to camp in Cave
Hollow with two hundred elephants, and six hundred
camels, and over a thousand "sumter" mules, all
loaded down with di'monds, and they didn't have only
a guard of four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay
in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and
scoop the things. He said we must slick up our swords
and guns, and get ready. He never could go after
even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and
guns all scoured up for it, though they was only lath
and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you
rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes
more than what they was before. I didn't believe we
could lick such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but
I wanted to see the camels and elephants, so I was on
hand next day, Saturday, in the ambuscade; and when
we got the word we rushed out of the woods and down
the hill. But there warn't no Spaniards and A-rabs,
and there warn't no camels nor no elephants. It
warn't anything but a Sunday-school picnic, and only
a primer-class at that. We busted it up, and chased
the children up the hollow; but we never got anything
but some doughnuts and jam, though Ben Rogers got
a rag doll, and Jo Harper got a hymn-book and a
tract; and then the teacher charged in, and made us
drop everything and cut. I didn't see no di'monds,
and I told Tom Sawyer so. He said there was loads
of them there, anyway; and he said there was A-rabs
there, too, and elephants and things. I said, why
couldn't we see them, then? He said if I warn't so
ignorant, but had read a book called Don Quixote, I
would know without asking. He said it was all done
by enchantment. He said there was hundreds of
soldiers there, and elephants and treasure, and so on,
but we had enemies which he called magicians; and
they had turned the whole thing into an infant Sunday-
school, just out of spite. I said, all right; then the
thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom
Sawyer said I was a numskull.

"Why," said he, "a magician could call up a lot
of genies, and they would hash you up like nothing
before you could say Jack Robinson. They are as tall
as a tree and as big around as a church."

"Well," I says, "s'pose we got some genies to
help US -- can't we lick the other crowd then?"

"How you going to get them?"

"I don't know. How do THEY get them?"

"Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring,
and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder
and lightning a-ripping around and the smoke a-rolling,
and everything they're told to do they up and do it.
They don't think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up
by the roots, and belting a Sunday-school superinten-
dent over the head with it -- or any other man."

"Who makes them tear around so?"

"Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring. They
belong to whoever rubs the lamp or the ring, and
they've got to do whatever he says. If he tells them
to build a palace forty miles long out of di'monds, and
fill it full of chewing-gum, or whatever you want, and
fetch an emperor's daughter from China for you to
marry, they've got to do it -- and they've got to do it
before sun-up next morning, too. And more: they've
got to waltz that palace around over the country
wherever you want it, you understand."

"Well," says I, "I think they are a pack of flat-
heads for not keeping the palace themselves 'stead of
fooling them away like that. And what's more -- if I
was one of them I would see a man in Jericho before I
would drop my business and come to him for the rub-
bing of an old tin lamp."

"How you talk, Huck Finn. Why, you'd HAVE to
come when he rubbed it, whether you wanted to or
not."

"What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a
church? All right, then; I WOULD come; but I lay
I'd make that man climb the highest tree there was in
the country."

"Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn.
You don't seem to know anything, somehow -- perfect
saphead."

I thought all this over for two or three days, and
then I reckoned I would see if there was anything in it.
I got an old tin lamp and an iron ring, and went out in
the woods and rubbed and rubbed till I sweat like an
Injun, calculating to build a palace and sell it; but it
warn't no use, none of the genies come. So then I
judged that all that stuff was only just one of Tom
Sawyer's lies. I reckoned he believed in the A-rabs
and the elephants, but as for me I think different. It
had all the marks of a Sunday-school.

Mark Twain