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CHAPTER FIFTEEN (continued)
When I got to it Jim was setting there with his head down between his knees, asleep, with his right arm hanging over the steering oar. The other oar was smashed off, and the raft was littered up with leaves and branches and dirt. So she’d had a rough time.
I made fast and laid down under Jim’s nose on the raft, and begun to gap, and stretch my fists out against Jim, and says: “Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn’t you stir me up?” “Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain’ dead-you ain’drowndedyou’s back again? It’s too good for true, honey, it’s too good for true. Lemme look at you, chile, lemme feel o’ you. No, you ain’ dead! you’s back again, ‘live en soun’, jis de same ole Huck-de same ole Huck, thanks to goodness!” “What’s the matter with you, Jim? You been a drinking?” “Drinkin’? Has I ben a drinkin’? Has I had a chance to be a drinkin’?” “Well, then, what makes you talk so wild?” “How does I talk wild?” “How? why, hain’t you been talking about my coming back, and all that stuff, as if I’d been gone away?” “Huck-Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de eye. Hain’t you ben gone away?”
“Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? I hain’t been gone anywheres. Where would I go to?” “Well, looky here, boss, dey’s sumf’n wrong, dey is. Is I me, or who is I? Is I heah, or whah is I? Now dat’s what I wants to know?” “Well, I think you’re here, plain enough, but I think you’re a tangle-headed old fool, Jim.” “I is, is I? Well you answer me dis. Didn’t you tote out de line in de canoe, fer to make fas’ to de tow-head?” “No, I didn’t. What tow-head? I hain’t seen no tow-head.” “You hain’t seen no tow-head? Looky here-didn’t de line pull loose en de raf’ go a hummin’ down de river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?” “What fog?” “Why de fog. De fog dat’s ben aroun’ all night. En didn’t you whoop, en didn’t I whoop, tell we got mix’ up in de islands en one un us got los’ en ‘tother one was jis’ as good as los’, ‘kase he didn’ know whah he wuz? En didn’t I bust up again a lot er dem islands en have a turrible time en mos’ git drownded? Now ain’dat so, boss-ain’t it so? You answer me dat.” “Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain’t seen no fog, nor no islands nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same. You couldn’t a got drunk in that time, so of course you’ve been dreaming.”
“Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten minutes?” “Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn’t any of it happen.” “But Huck, it’s all jis’ as plain to me as-” “It don’t make no difference how plain it is, there ain’t nothing in it. I know, because I’ve been here all the time.” Jim didn’t say nothing for about five minutes, but set there studying over it.
Then he says: “Well, den, I reck’n I did dream it, Huck; but dog my cats ef it ain’t de powerfullest dream I ever see. En I hain’t ever had no dream b’fo’ dat’s tired me like dis one.” “Oh, well, that’s all right, because a dream does tire a body like everything, sometimes. But this one was a staving dream-tell me all about it, Jim.” So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right through, just as it happened, only he painted it up considerable. Then he said he must start in and “’terpret” it, because it was sent for a warning. He said the first tow-head stood for a man that would try to do us some good, but the current was another man that would get us away from him. The whoops was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and if we didn’t try hard to make out to understand them they’d just take us into bad luck, ‘stead of keeping us out of it. The lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn’t talk back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big clear river, which was the free States, and wouldn’t have no more trouble.
It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got onto the raft, but it was clearing up again, now. “Oh, well, that’s all interpreted well enough, as far as it goes, Jim,” I says; “but what does these things stand for?” It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft, and the smashed oar. You could see them first rate, now.
Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he couldn’t seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place again, right away. But when he did get the thing straightened around, he looked at me steady, without ever smiling, and says: “What do dey stan’ for? I’s gwyne to tell you. When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no mo’ what become er me en de raf’. En when I wake up en fine you back agin’, all safe en soun’, de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss’ yo’ foot I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ‘em ashamed.”
Then he got up slow, and walked to the wigwam, and went in there, without saying anything but that. But that was enough. It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his foot to get him to take it back.
It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger-but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.