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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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IN the morning we went up to the village and bought a wire rat-trap and fetched it down, and unstopped the best rat-hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen of the bulliest kind of ones; and then we took it and put it in a safe place under Aunt Sally’s bed. But while we was gone for spiders little Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps found it there, and opened the door of it to see if the rats would come out, and they did; and Aunt Sally she come in, and when we got back she was a-standing on top of the bed raising Cain, and the rats was doing what they could to keep off the dull times for her. So she took and dusted us both with the hickry, and we was as much as two hours catching another fifteen or sixteen, drat that meddlesome cub, and they warn’t the likeliest, nuther, because the first haul was the pick of the flock. I never see a likelier lot of rats than what that first haul was. In the morning we went up to the village and bought a wire rat trap. We unplugged the best rat hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen great looking rats. Then we put the trap in a safe place under Aunt Sally’s bed. But later on, while we were out looking for spiders, little Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps found the rat trap and opened the door to see if the rats would come out. They did. Aunt Sally came in, and when we got home she was standing on top of the bed screaming her head off. The rats were doing what they could to keep her from being bored. She beat us both with a hickory stick, and it took us another two hours to catch fifteen or sixteen more rats—and this new group didn’t include the biggest ones, since we’d already caught those the first time around. I never saw a better looking bunch of rats than the ones we got that first time. Darn that meddlesome kid.
We got a splendid stock of sorted spiders, and bugs, and frogs, and caterpillars, and one thing or another; and we like to got a hornet’s nest, but we didn’t. The family was at home. We didn’t give it right up, but stayed with them as long as we could; because we allowed we’d tire them out or they’d got to tire us out, and they done it. Then we got allycumpain and rubbed on the places, and was pretty near all right again, but couldn’t set down convenient. And so we went for the snakes, and grabbed a couple of dozen garters and house-snakes, and put them in a bag, and put it in our room, and by that time it was supper-time, and a rattling good honest day’s work: and hungry?—oh, no, I reckon not! And there warn’t a blessed snake up there when we went back—we didn’t half tie the sack, and they worked out somehow, and left. But it didn’t matter much, because they was still on the premises somewheres. So we judged we could get some of them again. No, there warn’t no real scarcity of snakes about the house for a considerable spell. You’d see them dripping from the rafters and places every now and then; and they generly landed in your plate, or down the back of your neck, and most of the time where you didn’t want them. Well, they was handsome and striped, and there warn’t no harm in a million of them; but that never made no difference to Aunt Sally; she despised snakes, be the breed what they might, and she couldn’t stand them no way you could fix it; and every time one of them flopped down on her, it didn’t make no difference what she was doing, she would just lay that work down and light out. I never see such a woman. And you could hear her whoop to Jericho. You couldn’t get her to take a-holt of one of them with the tongs. And if she turned over and found one in bed she would scramble out and lift a howl that you would think the house was afire. She disturbed the old man so that he said he could most wish there hadn’t ever been no snakes created. Why, after every last snake had been gone clear out of the house for as much as a week Aunt Sally warn’t over it yet; she warn’t near over it; when she was setting thinking about something you could touch her on the back of her neck with a feather and she would jump right out of her stockings. It was very curious. But Tom said all women was just so. He said they was made that way for some reason or other. We got a pretty nice assortment of spiders, bugs, frogs, caterpillars, and other creatures. We wanted to get a hornet’s nest, but we didn’t since the family of hornets was still in it. We didn’t give up right away though. We hung around the nest for as long as we could, figuring that we’d either tire them our or they’d tire us out. They got tired first, and they stung us a lot. We got some

allycumpain

Huck means elecampane, which is a plant that could be used as an antiseptic.

allycumpain
and rubbed it on our stings, which made them feel a lot better, though we still couldn’t sit comfortably. We decided to go after the snakes next. We put them in a bag, and put the bag in our room. By suppertime, we’d done a good day’s honest work, and we were starving! But when we went back up to the room, there wasn’t a single snake left—we hadn’t tied the sack properly, and they’d gotten loose somehow. It didn’t matter, though, because they were still somewhere in the house. We figured we could recapture some of them. Yep, there were plenty of snakes around the house for a while. You’d seem them hanging from the rafters and other places every now and then. They’d land in your plate, or go down the back of your neck, usually when you didn’t want them to. They were striped and pretty and harmless—not even a million of them could hurt you—but that didn’t make any difference to Aunt Sally. She despised all kinds of snakes, and she couldn’t stand them no matter where they were. Every time one of them dropped down on her, she’d quit whatever she’d been doing and run out of the house. You could hear her yelling to the heavens. I’d never seen such a woman. You couldn’t even get her to grab hold of one of them with a pair of tongs. And if she rolled over in bed and found one next to her, she’d scramble out and yell so much that you’d have thought the house was on fire. She disturbed her old man so much that he said he wished snakes had never been created. Even after a week had passed since every snake had been cleared out of the house, Aunt Sally still wasn’t over it. If she was sitting down thinking, you could touch her on the back of the neck with a feather and she’d jump right out of her stockings. It was pretty funny, but Tom said all women were like that. He said they were made that way for some reason or another.
We got a licking every time one of our snakes come in her way, and she allowed these lickings warn’t nothing to what she would do if we ever loaded up the place again with them. I didn’t mind the lickings, because they didn’t amount to nothing; but I minded the trouble we had to lay in another lot. But we got them laid in, and all the other things; and you never see a cabin as blithesome as Jim’s was when they’d all swarm out for music and go for him. Jim didn’t like the spiders, and the spiders didn’t like Jim; and so they’d lay for him, and make it mighty warm for him. And he said that between the rats and the snakes and the grindstone there warn’t no room in bed for him, skasely; and when there was, a body couldn’t sleep, it was so lively, and it was always lively, he said, because THEY never all slept at one time, but took turn about, so when the snakes was asleep the rats was on deck, and when the rats turned in the snakes come on watch, so he always had one gang under him, in his way, and t’other gang having a circus over him, and if he got up to hunt a new place the spiders would take a chance at him as he crossed over. He said if he ever got out this time he wouldn’t ever be a prisoner again, not for a salary. She beat us every time she encountered one of our snakes, and she said that these beatings were nothing compared to what she’d do if we ever put them in the house again. I didn’t mind the beatings, because they weren’t very severe, but I did mind how much work it took to round up another batch of snakes. We finally got some more, to go along with all the other things we needed. You never saw a cabin as lively as Jim’s when the creatures would swarm around him while he played music. Jim didn’t like the spiders, and the spiders didn’t like Jim. They’d just sit and wait for him, which made him nervous. He said that there was hardly any room left in the bed for him, what with the rats and the snakes and the grindstone. And when there was room, he couldn’t sleep because it was so lively. It was so lively because THEY never all slept at the same time—when the snakes were asleep the rats were running about, and when the rats were asleep the snakes were stirring. A bunch of them would always be asleep with Jim while the others crawled all over him. And if Jim got up to find a new place to sleep, the spiders would go for him. He said if he ever escaped he’d never be a prisoner again, not even if someone paid him to do it.

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