Yes, it was settled; his career was now clear. He
would run away from home and begin immediately. He would start the very next
morning. Therefore he must now begin to get ready. He would collect his
resources together. He went to an old fallen tree that was close to him and
began to dig under one end of it with his knife.
He soon hit wood that sounded hollow. He put his hand there and said the
"What hasn't come here, come! What's here, stay here!"
Then he moved away the dirt with his knife, and exposed a pine cone. He picked
it up and saw a little treasure house whose bottom and sides were made of wood.
There was a marble inside.
Tom could hardly believe his eyes! He scratched his head in confusion, and said:
"Well, that beats anything!"
Then he threw the marble away violently, and stood there thinking for a while.
The truth was that a superstition of his had failed, here, which he and all his
friends had always considered infallible.
If you buried a marble with certain necessary incantations, and left it for two
weeks, 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, no matter how widely they had been separated.
But now, this thing had actually failed. Tom's whole structure of faith was
shaken to its foundations. He had often 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 afterward.
He thought about this for a long time, and finally decided that some witch had
interfered and broken the spell. He thought he would prove this point, so he
looked around until he found a small sandy place with a little hole in it. He
lay down, put his mouth close to the hole and called,
"Doodle-bug, doodle-bug, tell me what I want to know! Doodle-bug, doodle-bug,
tell me what I want to know!"
The sand began to move, and soon a small black beetle appeared for a second and
then disappeared again.
"He won’t tell! So it was a witch that did it. I knew it!"
He knew that it was useless to fight against witches, so he gave up. But it
occurred to him that he might as well have the marble he had just thrown away,
and so he went to look for it. But he could not find it. Now he went back to his
treasure-house and carefully placed himself exactly where he had been standing
when he threw the marble away. Then he took another marble from his pocket and
threw it in the same way, saying:
"Brother, go find your brother!"
He watched where it stopped, and went there and looked. But it must have fallen
short or gone too far, so he tried twice more. The last repetition was
successful. The two marbles lay within half a metre of each other.
All of a sudden, he heard the sound of a toy trumpet coming from another part of
the forest. Tom quickly took off his jacket and trousers, moved some leaves and
branches from behind a tree and revealed a home-made bow and arrow, a sword and
a tin trumpet, and in a moment he had picked them up and ran away. He stopped
under a huge tree, blew an answer on the trumpet, and then began to move slowly
and carefully, looking all around him. He said quietly to an imaginary company:
“Wait, my merry men! Keep hidden until I give the signal."
... to be continued!
* The text has been adapted from the Adventures
of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
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