A monologue from the book by Mark Twain
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. New York: Webster, 1885.
It was Tom’s idea–to start up a band of robbers. He made us swear an oath that if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut,
and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang,
but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever. Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head.
He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned had it. Some thought it would be good to kill the FAMILIES of boys that told the secrets.
They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, because they said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn’t be fair and square for the others.
Well, nobody could think of anything to do–everybody was stumped, and set still. I was most ready to cry; but all at once I thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson–they could kill her.
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 pretended.
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. I reckon he believed in the A-rabs and the elephants and all that other stuff, but as for me I think different.