Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

“Huck—Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de eye. HAIN’T you ben gone away?” “Huck. Huck Finn. You look me in the eye. Look me in the eye. HAVEN’T you been gone?”
“Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? I hain’t been gone anywheres. Where would I go to?” “Gone? Why, what do you mean? I haven’t been gone at all. Where would I go?”
“Well, looky here, boss, dey’s sumf’n wrong, dey is. Is I ME, or who IS I? Is I heah, or whah IS I? Now dat’s what I wants to know.” “Well, look here, boss. There’s something funny going on, there sure is. Am I ME? Who AM me? Am I here or not? Now that’s what I want to know.”
“Well, I think you’re here, plain enough, but I think you’re a tangle-headed old fool, Jim.” “Well, it’s pretty obvious you’re here, but I think you’re a mixed up old fool, Jim.”
“I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn’t you tote out de line in de canoe fer to make fas’ to de tow-head?” “I am, am I? Well, answer me this: Didn’t you get out the rope in the canoe so that we could tie ourselves up to the towhead?”
“No, I didn’t. What tow-head? I hain’t see no tow-head.” “No, I didn’t. What towhead? I haven’t seen any towheads.”
“You hain’t seen no towhead? Looky here, didn’t de line pull loose en de raf’ go a-hummin’ down de river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?” “You haven’t seen any towheads? Look here. Didn’t the rope pull loose and the raft go sliding down the river and leave you and the canoe behind in the fog?”
“What fog?” “What fog?”
“Why, de fog!—de fog dat’s been aroun’ all night. En didn’t you whoop, en didn’t I whoop, tell we got mix’ up in de islands en one un us got los’ en t’other one was jis’ as good as los’, ’kase he didn’ know whah he wuz? En didn’t I bust up agin a lot er dem islands en have a terrible time en mos’ git drownded? Now ain’ dat so, boss—ain’t it so? You answer me dat.” “Why, the fog! The fog that’s been around all night. Didn’t you whoop, and didn’t I whoop until we got mixed up in the islands? And then one of us got lost and the other one was as good as lost since he didn’t know where he was? And didn’t I almost drown getting the raft through those islands? Now isn’t that what happened, boss? Isn’t it? Answer me.”
“Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain’t seen no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same. You couldn’t a got drunk in that time, so of course you’ve been dreaming.” “This is too much for me, Jim. I haven’t seen any fog, or any islands, or trouble, or anything. I was sitting here talking with you all night until you went to sleep about ten minutes ago. Then I suppose I did the same. You couldn’t have gotten drunk in that time, so you must have been dreaming.”
“Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten minutes?” “Come on, how could I dream all that in ten minutes?”
“Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn’t any of it happen.” “Well, darn it, you did dream it because none of it happened.”
“But, Huck, it’s all jis’ as plain to me as—” “But Huck, it all seemed so real to me, just as plain as….”
“It don’t make no difference how plain it is; there ain’t nothing in it. I know, because I’ve been here all the time.” “It doesn’t matter how plain it seemed. Your story isn’t. I know because I’ve been here the whole time.”
Jim didn’t say nothing for about five minutes, but set there studying over it. Then he says: Jim didn’t say anything for about five minutes. He just sat there thinking it over. Then he said:
“Well, den, I reck’n I did dream it, Huck; but dog my cats ef it ain’t de powerfullest dream I ever see. En I hain’t ever had no dream b’fo’ dat’s tired me like dis one.” “Well, then, I guess I did dream it, Huck. But I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the most intense dream I’ve ever had. And I’ve never had a dream before that’s made me as tired as this one did.”
“Oh, well, that’s all right, because a dream does tire a body like everything sometimes. But this one was a staving dream; tell me all about it, Jim.” “Oh, well that’s alright because dreams can really wear you out sometimes. This one seems to have been a doozy, though. Tell me all about it, Jim.”
So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right through, just as it happened, only he painted it up considerable. Then he said he must start in and “’terpret” it, because it was sent for a warning. He said the first towhead stood for a man that would try to do us some good, but the current was another man that would get us away from him. The whoops was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and if we didn’t try hard to make out to understand them they’d just take us into bad luck, ’stead of keeping us out of it. The lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn’t talk back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big clear river, which was the free States, and wouldn’t have no more trouble. So Jim started to tell me the whole story from beginning to end. He told it just the way it had happened, though he exaggerated quite a bit. Then he said he needed to interpret the dream, because it was meant to be some kind of warning. He said that the first towhead represented a man that would try to help us, but the current was another man that would take us away from the first man. The whoops were warnings that would come to us every now and then. If we didn’t try hard to figure out what they meant, we would end up having bad luck instead of good luck. The area with a lot of towheads represented trouble we were going to get into with some bad people. But if we minded our own business and didn’t talk back or do anything to aggravate them, then we would pull through the fog. We would make it into the open river, which represented the free states.
It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to the raft, but it was clearing up again now. It had gotten pretty cloudy shortly after I’d gotten on the raft, but it was starting to clear up again.
“Oh, well, that’s all interpreted well enough as far as it goes, Jim,” I says; “but what does THESE things stand for?” “Well, your interpretation is pretty good, Jim,” I said. “But what do THESE things stand for?”
It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed oar. You could see them first-rate now. I was referring to the smashed oar and the leaves and debris on the raft. You could see them pretty clearly now.
Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he couldn’t seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place again right away. But when he did get the thing straightened around he looked at me steady without ever smiling, and says: Jim looked at the debris, then at me, then back at the debris again. He’d gotten the dream fixed so firmly in his mind that he couldn’t let go of it and confront the facts. But when he did piece it together and he realized what had really happened, he looked at me with a serious expression and said:

More Help

Previous Next