Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

“It’s good daylight. Le’s get breakfast. Make up your camp fire good.” “It’s full daylight now. Let’s get breakfast. Why don’t you get the fire going again?”
“What’s de use er makin’ up de camp fire to cook strawbries en sich truck? But you got a gun, hain’t you? Den we kin git sumfn better den strawbries.” “What’s the use making up a campfire to cook strawberries and the like? You have a gun, don't you? If you had a gun, we could get something better than strawberries.”
“Strawberries and such truck,” I says. “Is that what you live on?” “Stawberries and stuff,” I repeated. “Is that what you live on?”
“I couldn’ git nuffn else,” he says. “I couldn’t get anything else,” he said.
“Why, how long you been on the island, Jim?” “Why, how long have you been on the island, Jim?”
“I come heah de night arter you’s killed.” “I came here the night after you were killed.”
“What, all that time?” “What? You’ve been here all that time?”
“Yes—indeedy.” “Yes indeed.”
“And ain’t you had nothing but that kind of rubbage to eat?” “And you haven’t had anything to eat but that kind of junk?”
“No, sah—nuffn else.” “No sir, nothing else.”
“Well, you must be most starved, ain’t you?” “Well, you must be almost starved then, aren’t you?”
“I reck’n I could eat a hoss. I think I could. How long you ben on de islan’?” “I bet I could eat a horse. I really could. How long have you been on the island?”
“Since the night I got killed.” “Since the night I got killed.”
“No! W’y, what has you lived on? But you got a gun. Oh, yes, you got a gun. Dat’s good. Now you kill sumfn en I’ll make up de fire.” “No! What have you been eating? Oh, but you have a gun. Yep, you have a gun. That’s good. Now you go and kill something, and I’ll cook it up on the fire.”
So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft. I catched a good big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried him. So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built a fire in a grassy opening among the trees, I pulled out some cornmeal, bacon, and coffee. I also grabbed the coffee pot, the frying pan, sugar, and tin cups. Jim was amazed, since he thought I’d gotten all that stuff through magic. I caught a nice big catfish, and Jim cleaned it with his knife before frying it.
When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it smoking hot. Jim laid it in with all his might, for he was most about starved. Then when we had got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and lazied. By and by Jim says: When breakfast was ready, we lounged on the grass and ate it while it was still smoking hot. Since Jim was half-starved, he set to eating with all his might. Once we were stuffed, he lazed about. Eventually, Jim said:
“But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat ’uz killed in dat shanty ef it warn’t you?” “But look here, Huck. If you weren’t killed in the shanty, then who was?”
Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was smart. He said Tom Sawyer couldn’t get up no better plan than what I had. Then I says: I told him the whole story, and he said it was pretty smart. He said Tom Sawyer couldn’t have come up with a better plan than that. Then I said:
“How do you come to be here, Jim, and how’d you get here?” “Why are you here, Jim? And how’d you get here?”
He looked pretty uneasy, and didn’t say nothing for a minute. Then he says: He looked pretty uncomfortable, and didn’t say anything for a minute. Then he said:
“Maybe I better not tell.” “Maybe I shouldn’t tell you.”
“Why, Jim?” “Why, Jim?”
“Well, dey’s reasons. But you wouldn’ tell on me ef I uz to tell you, would you, Huck?” “Well, I have my reasons. But you wouldn’t tell on me if I were to tell you, would you, Huck?
“Blamed if I would, Jim.” “I’ll be damned if I would, Jim.”
“Well, I b’lieve you, Huck. I—I RUN OFF.” “Well, I believe you, Huck. I… I ran away.”
“Jim!” “Jim!”
“But mind, you said you wouldn’ tell—you know you said you wouldn’ tell, Huck.” “But remember, you said you wouldn’t tell! You know you said you wouldn’t tell, Huck.”
“Well, I did. I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll stick to it. Honest INJUN, I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t a-going to tell, and I ain’t a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le’s know all about it.” “That’s right, I did say that. I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll keep my word. Honest to God, I will. People would call me a low-down abolitionist and despise me for not telling, but I don’t care. I’m not going to tell. Besides, I’m not going back home either. So, now, tell me all about it.
“Well, you see, it ’uz dis way. Ole missus—dat’s Miss Watson—she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans. But I noticed dey wuz a nigger trader roun’ de place considable lately, en I begin to git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de do’ pooty late, en de do’ warn’t quite shet, en I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ’uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’ resis’. De widder she try to git her to say she wouldn’ do it, but I never waited to hear de res’. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you. Well, it happened like this. Old Missus—I mean, Miss Watson—picks on me all the time and treats me pretty rough, but she always said she wouldn’t sell me down to

New Orleans

home to the largest slave market in the United States at that time

New Orleans
. But then I noticed that there was a n----- trader hanging around the house a lot, and I began to worry. Well, late one night, I crept to the door, which wasn’t quite shut, and I heard old missus tell the widow that she was going to sell me down to New Orleans. She didn’t want to, but she said she could get eight hundred dollars for me, which was too much money that to resist. The widow tried to talk her out of it, but I didn’t wait around to hear the rest. I ran away pretty fast, I tell you.
“I tuck out en shin down de hill, en ’spec to steal a skift ’long de sho’ som’ers ’bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirring yit, so I hid in de ole tumble-down cooper-shop on de bank to wait for everybody to go ’way. Well, I wuz dah all night. Dey wuz somebody roun’ all de time. ’Long ’bout six in de mawnin’ skifts begin to go by, en ’bout eight er nine every skift dat went ’long wuz talkin’ ’bout how yo’ pap come over to de town en say you’s killed. Dese las’ skifts wuz full o’ ladies en genlmen a-goin’ over for to see de place. Sometimes dey’d pull up at de sho’ en take a res’ b’fo’ dey started acrost, so by de talk I got to know all ’bout de killin’. I ’uz powerful sorry you’s killed, Huck, but I ain’t no mo’ now. “I booked it down the hill, expecting to steal a skiff along the shore somewhere above town. But there were people around, so I hid inn the old

cooper

barrel maker

cooper
’s shop on the bank and waited for everyone to leave. Well, since there was always someone around, I stayed there all night. Skiffs began to go by starting around about six in the morning, and by about eight or nine, everyone was buzzing about how your pap had come to town saying you’d been killed. These last skiffs were full of ladies and gentlemen headed over to see the murder scene. Sometimes they’d pull ashore to rest before starting across the river. Through their conversation I learned all about the murder. I was really sorry to hear you’d been killed, Huck, but I’m not anymore.

More Help

Previous Next