Tom wakes up before Joe and Huck, a little disoriented to find himself somewhere besides his bed. Tom sees a worm crawling up his leg and believes it is an omen that he will soon have new clothes. He watches other creatures move about.
The current has caused their raft to float away, but they feel free from society. The boys go swimming. They fish and eat their breakfast. The fish seem to be the best they've ever tasted. After breakfast, they exlore the island.
The boys start feeling home sick, even Huck. They don’t voice it.
There is an odd ticking and booming sound that gets louder. They see it is coming from a ferryboat. Men in skiffs are alongside it. Tom comments that someone must have drowned. The canon fire is to make bodies float up. Tom realizes that people must think they have drowned. They realize they are missed. They are pleased, for they are famous.
The boat goes away. The boys return to camp, wondering what people are saying about them. Tom and Joe start to feel guilty when they think about the concern they are causing their loved ones. Joe suggests they return home, but Tom and Huck begin to ridicule him.
Tom waits for them to go to sleep, then he heads for the sandbar.