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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Jim, don’t act so foolish. A prisoner’s GOT to have some kind of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake hain’t ever been tried, why, there’s more glory to be gained in your being the first to ever try it than any other way you could ever think of to save your life.” “Jim, don’t be so foolish. A prisoner’s GOT to have some kind of dumb pet. If a rattlesnake has never been tried, well, then there’s more glory to be gained in being the first to ever try it than any other way you can think of.”
“Why, Mars Tom, I doan’ WANT no sich glory. Snake take ’n bite Jim’s chin off, den WHAH is de glory? No, sah, I doan’ want no sich doin’s.” “But Master Tom, I don’t WANT that kind of glory. A snake would go and bite my chin off—where’s the glory in THAT? No sir, I don’t want anything like it.”
“Blame it, can’t you TRY? I only WANT you to try—you needn’t keep it up if it don’t work.” “Darn it, can’t you TRY? I only want you to TRY—you don’t have to keep doing it if it doesn’t work.”
“But de trouble all DONE ef de snake bite me while I’s a tryin’ him. Mars Tom, I’s willin’ to tackle mos’ anything ’at ain’t onreasonable, but ef you en Huck fetches a rattlesnake in heah for me to tame, I’s gwyne to LEAVE, dat’s SHORE.” “But it’ll be all OVER if the snake bites me while I’m trying to pet him. Master Tom, I’m willing to take on anything that’s reasonable, but if you and Huck bring a rattlesnake in here for me to tame, then I’m going to LEAVE. That’s for SURE.”
“Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you’re so bull-headed about it. We can get you some garter-snakes, and you can tie some buttons on their tails, and let on they’re rattlesnakes, and I reckon that ’ll have to do.” “Alright, alright. If you’re so stubborn about it, we’ll let it go. We can get you some garden snakes, and you can tie some buttons to their tails and pretend they’re rattlesnakes. I suppose that’ll have to do.”
“I k’n stan’ DEM, Mars Tom, but blame’ ’f I couldn’ get along widout um, I tell you dat. I never knowed b’fo’ ’t was so much bother and trouble to be a prisoner.” “I CAN stand garden snakes, Master Tom, but darn it—I can get along just fine without them, I tell you. I never realized that it was so much hassle to free a prisoner.”
“Well, it ALWAYS is when it’s done right. You got any rats around here?” “Well it ALWAYS takes this much effort when it’s done properly. Are there any rats around here?”
“No, sah, I hain’t seed none.” “No sir. I haven’t seen any,”
“Well, we’ll get you some rats.” “Well, we’ll get you some rats.”
“Why, Mars Tom, I doan’ WANT no rats. Dey’s de dadblamedest creturs to ’sturb a body, en rustle roun’ over ’im, en bite his feet, when he’s tryin’ to sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g’yarter-snakes, ’f I’s got to have ’m, but doan’ gimme no rats; I hain’ got no use f’r um, skasely.” “Master Tom, I don’t WANT any rats. They are the worst, most disturbing creatures that I’ve ever seen. They’ll crawl all over a person and bite his feet when he’s trying to sleep. No, sir. Give me garden snakes if I’ve got to have them, but don’t give me any rats—I don’t have any use for them.
“But, Jim, you GOT to have ’em—they all do. So don’t make no more fuss about it. Prisoners ain’t ever without rats. There ain’t no instance of it. And they train them, and pet them, and learn them tricks, and they get to be as sociable as flies. But you got to play music to them. You got anything to play music on?” “But Jim, you’ve GOT to have them—all prisoners do. Don’t make any more fuss about it. Prisoners are always with rats. There isn’t one example of a prisoner without them. And they train them and pet them and teach them tricks, and those rats get to be as sociable as flies. But you have to play music to them. Have you got anything to play music with?”
“I ain’ got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o’ paper, en a juice-harp; but I reck’n dey wouldn’ take no stock in a juice-harp.” “I don’t have anything except a coarse comb, a piece of paper, and a

juice harp

mispronunciation of Jew’s harp, a small musical instrument that produces sound when air is blown onto it

juice harp
. But I reckon they wouldn’t like the music from a juice harp.”
“Yes they would. THEY don’t care what kind of music ’tis. A jews-harp’s plenty good enough for a rat. All animals like music—in a prison they dote on it. Specially, painful music; and you can’t get no other kind out of a jews-harp. It always interests them; they come out to see what’s the matter with you. Yes, you’re all right; you’re fixed very well. You want to set on your bed nights before you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews-harp; play ’The Last Link is Broken’—that’s the thing that ’ll scoop a rat quicker ’n anything else; and when you’ve played about two minutes you’ll see all the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin to feel worried about you, and come. And they’ll just fairly swarm over you, and have a noble good time.” “Yes they would. THEY don’t care what kind of music it is. A Jew’s harp is certainly good enough for a rat. All animals like music—in prison, they absolutely love it. They like painful, sad music in particular—and you can’t make any other kind with a Jew’s harp. It always interests them. They come out to see what’s wrong. Yes, you’re all set. You should sit on your bed at night before you go to sleep and in the early morning before you wake up and play your Jew’s harp. Play “The Last Link is Broken”—that song will bring a rat quicker than anything else. And when you’ve played for about two minutes you’ll see that all the rats and snakes and spiders and things will begin to worry about you and will come to you. They’ll just swarm all over you, and have a good old time.”
“Yes, DEY will, I reck’n, Mars Tom, but what kine er time is JIM havin’? Blest if I kin see de pint. But I’ll do it ef I got to. I reck’n I better keep de animals satisfied, en not have no trouble in de house.” “Yes, THEY will have a good time, Master Tom, but what kind of time will I be having? I’ll be darned if I can see the point of all this. But I’ll do it if I have to. I suppose I’d better keep those animals satisfied so there’s no trouble in the house.”
Tom waited to think it over, and see if there wasn’t nothing else; and pretty soon he says: Tom paused for a minute to see if there was anything he’d forgotten. Pretty soon he said:
“Oh, there’s one thing I forgot. Could you raise a flower here, do you reckon?” “Oh, there’s one more thing that I forgot. Do you think you could grow a flower here?”
“I doan know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but it’s tolable dark in heah, en I ain’ got no use f’r no flower, nohow, en she’d be a pow’ful sight o’ trouble.” “I don’t know, but maybe I could, Master Tom. It’s awfully dark in here, though, and I don’t have any use for a flower anyway. It’d be a lot of trouble.”
“Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners has done it.” “Well, just try. Some other prisoners have done it.”
“One er dem big cat-tail-lookin’ mullen-stalks would grow in heah, Mars Tom, I reck’n, but she wouldn’t be wuth half de trouble she’d coss.” “I guess one of those big mullein stalks that looks like a cattail would grow in here, Master Tom, but it wouldn’t be worth half the trouble it would cause.”

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