The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter XXV
by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter XXV

About Kings and Diamonds — Search for the Treasure — Dead People and Ghosts

THERE COMES A TIME in every rightly-constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure. This desire suddenly came upon Tom one day. He sallied out to find Joe Harper, but failed of success. Next he sought Ben Rogers; he had gone fishing. Presently he stumbled upon Huck Finn the Red-Handed. Huck would answer. Tom took him to a private place and opened the matter to him confidentially. Huck was willing. Huck was always willing to take a hand in any enterprise that offered entertainment and required no capital, for he had a troublesome superabundance of that sort of time which is not money. “Where'll we dig?” said Huck.

“Oh, most anywhere.”

“Why, is it hid all around?”

“No, indeed it ain't. It's hid in mighty particular places, Huck —sometimes on islands, sometimes in rotten chests under the end of a limb of an old dead tree, just where the shadow falls at midnight; but mostly under the floor in ha'nted houses.”

“Who hides it?”

“Why, robbers, of course—who'd you reckon? Sunday-school sup'rintendents?”

“I don't know. If 'twas mine I wouldn't hide it; I'd spend it and have a good time.”

“So would I. But robbers don't do that way. They always hide it and leave it there.”

“Don't they come after it any more?”

“No, they think they will, but they generally forget the marks, or else they die. Anyway, it lays there a long time and gets rusty; and by and by somebody finds an old yellow paper that tells how to find the marks—a paper that's got to be ciphered over about a week because it's mostly signs and hy'roglyphics.”

“Hyro — which?”

“Hy'roglyphics—pictures and things, you know, that don't seem to mean anything.”

“Have you got one of them papers, Tom?”


“Well then, how you going to find the marks?”

“I don't want any marks. They always bury it under a ha'nted house or on an island, or under a dead tree that's got one limb sticking out. Well, we've tried Jackson's Island a little, and we can try it again some time; and there's the old ha'nted house up the Still-House branch, and there's lots of dead-limb trees— dead loads of 'em.”

“Is it under all of them?”

“How you talk! No!”

“Then how you going to know which one to go for?”

“Go for all of 'em!”

“Why, Tom, it'll take all summer.”

“Well, what of that? Suppose you find a brass pot with a hundred dollars in it, all rusty and gay, or rotten chest full of di'monds. How's that?”

Huck's eyes glowed.

“That's bully. Plenty bully enough for me. Just you gimme the hundred dollars and I don't want no di'monds.”

“All right. But I bet you I ain't going to throw off on di'monds. Some of 'em's worth twenty dollars apiece—there ain't any, hardly, but's worth six bits or a dollar.”

“No! Is that so?”

“Cert'nly—anybody'll tell you so. Hain't you ever seen one, Huck?”

“Not as I remember.”

“Oh, kings have slathers of them.”

“Well, I don' know no kings, Tom.”

“I reckon you don't. But if you was to go to Europe you'd see a raft of 'em hopping around.”

“Do they hop?”

“Hop?—your granny! No!”

“Well, what did you say they did, for?”

“Shucks, I only meant you'd see 'em—not hopping, of course—what do they want to hop for?—but I mean you'd just see 'em—scattered around, you know, in a kind of a general way. Like that old humpbacked Richard.”

“Richard? What's his other name?”

“He didn't have any other name. Kings don't have any but a given name.”


“But they don't.”

“Well, if they like it, Tom, all right; but I don't want to be a king and have only just a given name, like a nigger. But say—where you going to dig first?”

“Well, I don't know. S'pose we tackle that old dead-limb tree on the hill t'other side of Still-House branch?”

“I'm agreed.”

So they got a crippled pick and a shovel, and set out on their three-mile tramp. They arrived hot and...

(The entire section is 2,087 words.)