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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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BY and by, when we got up, we turned over the truck the gang had stole off of the wreck, and found boots, and blankets, and clothes, and all sorts of other things, and a lot of books, and a spyglass, and three boxes of seegars. We hadn’t ever been this rich before in neither of our lives. The seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a general good time. I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck and at the ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things was adventures; but he said he didn’t want no more adventures. He said that when I went in the texas and he crawled back to get on the raft and found her gone he nearly died, because he judged it was all up with HIM anyway it could be fixed; for if he didn’t get saved he would get drownded; and if he did get saved, whoever saved him would send him back home so as to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him South, sure. Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head for a nigger. After we woke up, we looked through the loot the gang had stolen from the wreck. We found boots, blankets, clothes, books, a spyglass, three boxes of cigars, and all sorts of other things. Neither of us had ever in our lives been this rich before. The cigars were excellent. We spent the entire afternoon talking in the woods. I read the books, and we had a great time. I told Jim everything that had happened in the wreck and at the ferry. I explained that these were adventures, but he said he didn’t want to have any more adventures. He said that he’d nearly died when I went in the cabin and when he crawled back to the raft and found it gone. He figured he was screwed either way: If no one was around to save him he’d drown, but if someone did save him then they’d turn him in to collect the reward. Then Miss Watson would definitely sell him to someone in the South. Well, he was right, as usual. That’s pretty much what would have happened. He was pretty smart for a n-----.
I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and so on, ’stead of mister; and Jim’s eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says: I read to Jim quite a lot about kings and dukes and earls and all. I read about how they dressed flashy, put on airs, and called each other names like your majesty, your grace, your lordship, instead of mister. Jim was so interested that his eyes bugged out. He said:
“I didn’ know dey was so many un um. I hain’t hearn ’bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you counts dem kings dat’s in a pack er k’yards. How much do a king git?” “I didn’t know there were so many of them. I’ve hardly heard of any royalty, except old

King Solomon

king from the Old Testament renowned for his wisdom

King Solomon
. That is, unless you count the kings that are in a pack of cards. How much money does a king make?”
“Get?” I says; “why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.” “Make?” I said. “Why, they can make a thousand dollars a month if they want. They can have all the money they want since everything belongs to them.”
“AIN’ dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?” “Isn’t that something? And what do they have to do to get that money, Huck?”
“THEY don’t do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set around.” “What are you talking about?! THEY don’t do anything! They just sit around.”
“No; is dat so?” “No way! Really?”
“Of course it is. They just set around—except, maybe, when there’s a war; then they go to the war. But other times they just lazy around; or go hawking—just hawking and sp—Sh!—d’ you hear a noise?” “Of course. They just sit around, except maybe when there’s a war. Then they go to war. But usually they just sit around being lazy. Or they go hawking and sp…. Sh! Did you hear a noise?”
We skipped out and looked; but it warn’t nothing but the flutter of a steamboat’s wheel away down, coming around the point; so we come back. We left our hiding spot and looked around, but the noise turned out to be the flutter of the paddles on a distant steamboat that just coming around the point. So we went back.
“Yes,” says I, “and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don’t go just so he whacks their heads off. But mostly they hang round the harem.” “Yes,” I said. “And other times, when things get slow and boring, they mess around with parliament. And if the people don’t do exactly what he says, he just whacks off their heads. But usually they just hang out in the harem.”
“Roun’ de which?” “Hang out where?”
“Harem.” “The harem.”
“What’s de harem?” “What’s the harem?”
“The place where he keeps his wives. Don’t you know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives.” “That’s the place where the king keeps his wives. Don’t you know about harems? Solomon had one with about a million wives.”
“Why, yes, dat’s so; I—I’d done forgot it. A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I reck’n. Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck’n de wives quarrels considable; en dat ’crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’. I doan’ take no stock in dat. Bekase why would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blim-blammin’ all de time? No—’deed he wouldn’t. A wise man ’ud take en buil’ a biler-factry; en den he could shet DOWN de biler-factry when he want to res’.” “Yeah, that’s true. I’d completely forgotten about that. A harem is a boarding house, I guess. The nursery is probably pretty noisy. And I bet the wives fight all the time, making it even noisier. And still they say Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. I don’t believe it. Why would a wise man want to live in the midst of all that craziness? No, he probably wouldn’t. A wise man would build himself a boiler factory where he could go when he wanted to rest.”
“Well, but he WAS the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told me so, her own self.” “Well, whatever. He WAS the wisest man, since that’s what the widow told me so herself.”
“I doan k’yer what de widder say, he WARN’T no wise man nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes’ ways I ever see. Does you know ’bout dat chile dat he ’uz gwyne to chop in two?” “He wasn’t a wise man. I don’t care what the widow says. He had the strangest ways of doing things that I’ve ever heard of. You know about that child that he was going to chop in two?”
“Yes, the widow told me all about it.” “Yes, the widow told me about that.”
“WELL, den! Warn’ dat de beatenes’ notion in de worl’? You jes’ take en look at it a minute. Dah’s de stump, dah—dat’s one er de women; heah’s you—dat’s de yuther one; I’s Sollermun; en dish yer dollar bill’s de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What does I do? Does I shin aroun’ mongs’ de neighbors en fine out which un you de bill DO b’long to, en han’ it over to de right one, all safe en soun’, de way dat anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in TWO, en give half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat’s de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now I want to ast you: what’s de use er dat half a bill?—can’t buy noth’n wid it. En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn’ give a dern for a million un um.” “Well there you go! Wasn’t that the craziest thing in the whole world? Just think about it a minute. Let’s say that stump over there was one of the women, and that other one was you. I’m Solomon, and this dollar bill is the child. Both you and the other woman say it’s yours. What do I do? Do I ask all the neighbors to find out which one of you the bill belongs to and then give it safe and sound to the right one? That’s what any person with common sense would do. But, no. Instead, I’d whack the bill in two and give one half to you and one half to the other woman. That’s what Solomon was going to do with the child. Now I ask you: What’s the use of half a dollar bill? You can’t buy anything with it. And what’s the use of half a child? I wouldn’t care for a million of them.”

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