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splendor. How his name would fill the world, and make people shudder! How
gloriously he would go plowing the dancing seas, in his long, low, black-hulled
racer, the “Spirit of the Storm,” with his grisly flag flying at the fore! And at the
zenith of his fame, how he would suddenly appear at the old village and stalk
into church, all brown and weather-beaten, in his black velvet doublet and
trunks, his great jack-boots, his crimson sash, his belt bristling with horse-pistols,
his crimerusted cutlass at his side, his slouch hat with waving plumes, his black
flag unfurled, with the skull and cross-bones on it, and hear with swelling
ecstasy the whisperings, “It’s Tom Sawyer the Pirate!- the Black Avenger of the
Spanish Main!” Yes, it was settled; his career was determined. He would run
away from home and enter upon it. He would start the very next morning.
Therefore he must now begin to get ready. He would collect his resources
together. He went to a rotten log near at hand and began to dig under one end of
it with his Barlow knife. He soon struck wood that sounded hollow. He put his
hand there and uttered this incantation impressively: “What hasn’t come here,
come! What’s here, stay here!” Then he scraped away the dirt, and exposed a
pine shingle. He took it up and disclosed a shapely little treasure-house whose
bottom and sides were of shingles.

In it lay a marble. Tom’s astonishment was boundless! He scratched his head
with a perplexed air, and said: “Well, that beats anything!” Then he tossed the
marble away pettishly, and stood cogitating. The truth was, that a superstition
of his had failed, here, which he and all his comrades had always looked upon
as infallible. If you buried a marble with certain necessary incantations, and left
it alone a fortnight, and then opened the place with the incantation he had just
used, you would find that all the marbles you had ever lost had gathered
themselves together there, meantime, no matter how widely they had been
separated. But now, this thing had actually and unquestionably failed. Tom’s
whole structure of faith was shaken to its foundations. He had many a time
heard of this thing succeeding, but never of its failing before. It did not occur to
him that he had tried it several times before, himself, but could never find the
hiding places afterwards. He puzzled over the matter some time, and finally
decided that some witch had interfered and broken the charm. He thought he
would satisfy himself on that point; so he searched around till he found a small
sandy spot with a little funnel-shaped depression in it. He laid himself down
and put his mouth close to this depression and called: “Doodle-bug, doodle-bug,
tell me what I want to know! Doodle-bug, doodlebug tell me what I want to
know!” The sand began to work, and presently a small black bug appeared for a
second and then darted under again in a fright.

“He dasn’t tell! So it was a witch that done it. I just knowed it.” He well knew
the futility of trying to contend against witches, so he gave up discouraged. But
it occurred to him that he might as well have the marble he had just thrown
away, and therefore he went and made a patient search for it. But he could not
find it. Now he went back to his treasure-house and carefully placed himself just
as he had been standing when he tossed the marble away; then he took another

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