Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I smouched the yaller wench’s frock that night, and put it on, and shoved it under the front door, the way Tom told me to. It said: So Tom wrote the anonymous letter, and I stole the yaller girl’s frock that night. I put on the frock and shoved the letter under the front door just the way Tom told me to do. It said:
Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. UNKNOWN FRIEND. Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. UNKNOWN FRIEND.
Next night we stuck a picture, which Tom drawed in blood, of a skull and crossbones on the front door; and next night another one of a coffin on the back door. I never see a family in such a sweat. They couldn’t a been worse scared if the place had a been full of ghosts laying for them behind everything and under the beds and shivering through the air. If a door banged, Aunt Sally she jumped and said “ouch!” if anything fell, she jumped and said “ouch!” if you happened to touch her, when she warn’t noticing, she done the same; she couldn’t face noway and be satisfied, because she allowed there was something behind her every time—so she was always a-whirling around sudden, and saying “ouch,” and before she’d got two-thirds around she’d whirl back again, and say it again; and she was afraid to go to bed, but she dasn’t set up. So the thing was working very well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing work more satisfactory. He said it showed it was done right. The next night we stuck a picture of a skull and crossbones, which Tom had drawn in blood, on the front door. The next night, we put another one of a coffin on the back door. I never saw a family so worried to death. They couldn’t have been more scared had the place been haunted by ghosts who were lying in wait for them behind everything and under the beds or floating through the air. If a door banged, Aunt Sally jumped and said, “Ouch!” If anything fell, she jumped and said, “Ouch!” If you happened to touch her when she wasn’t paying attention, she’d do the same thing. She couldn’t be comfortable anywhere because she believed there was something behind her all the time. She was always whirling around suddenly and saying, “Ouch!” But before she got two-thirds around, she’d whirl back around and said it again. She was afraid to go to bed, but she couldn’t risk staying up. It worked out very well, Tom said. He said he never saw anything work better. He said it showed that we’d done everything properly.
So he said, now for the grand bulge! So the very next morning at the streak of dawn we got another letter ready, and was wondering what we better do with it, because we heard them say at supper they was going to have a nigger on watch at both doors all night. Tom he went down the lightning-rod to spy around; and the nigger at the back door was asleep, and he stuck it in the back of his neck and come back. This letter said: Now he said it was time for the final act! We got another letter ready the very next morning at the break of dawn. We wondered what we should do with it, because we’d heard them say at supper that they were going to have a n----- on watch at each door all night. Tom went down the lightning rod to take a look around. The n----- at the back door was asleep. He stuck the letter behind his neck, and came back. The letter said:
Don’t betray me, I wish to be your friend. There is a desprate gang of cut-throats from over in the Indian Territory going to steal your runaway nigger to-night, and they have been trying to scare you so as you will stay in the house and not bother them. I am one of the gang, but have got religgion and wish to quit it and lead an honest life again, and will betray the helish design. They will sneak down from northards, along the fence, at midnight exact, with a false key, and go in the nigger’s cabin to get him. I am to be off a piece and blow a tin horn if I see any danger; but stead of that I will BA like a sheep soon as they get in and not blow at all; then whilst they are getting his chains loose, you slip there and lock them in, and can kill them at your leasure. Don’t do anything but just the way I am telling you; if you do they will suspicion something and raise whoop-jamboreehoo. I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing. UNKNOWN FRIEND. Don’t betray me. I wish to be your friend. There is a desperate gang of cutthroats from the Indian Territory that are going to steal your runaway n----- tonight. They’ve been trying to scare you so you’ll stay in your house and not bother them. I am a member of the gang, but I am religious and wish to quit and lead an honest life again. I’ll try to thwart their plans. They will sneak down from the north, and go along the fence promptly at midnight. They have a key, and will go to the n-----’s cabin to get him. I’m supposed to be the lookout. It’s my job to stand back and blow a tin horn if I see any danger. Instead of doing that, I will make a sound like a sheep as soon as they get inside. While they are getting his chains loose, you should slip around and lock them in and kill them at your leisure. Only do what I’ve told you. If you do anything else, they will suspect something and raise an alarm. I do not want any reward; my reward is knowing that I’ve done the right thing. UNKOWN FRIEND.

More Help

Previous Next