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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 26: Real Robbers Seize the Box of Gold
The next day, the Tom and Huck arrive at the haunted house around noon to start digging. Suddenly, the superstitious Huck stops and says to Tom that it is an unlucky day because it is Friday. They decide to put off their digging until the next day; instead of hunting for buried treasure, they play Robin Hood all afternoon.
On Saturday, Tom and Huck return to the haunted house with their tools. They muster up enough courage to go inside, but they are tense and ready to flee at the slightest provocation. As they explore the upstairs, they hear some noises. Their first instinct is to run, but they realize that somebody is coming towards the door. They quickly hide as two men enter. One of them is the "deaf and dumb Spaniard," whom they have seen a couple of times in town; they do not recognize the other man. Tom and Huck are taken by surprise when the "deaf and dumb" man speaks. They are petrified when they identify the voice as Injun Joe’s.
Tom and Huck listen intently to the conversation between the two men. They curse the young boys who have interfered with their plans and talk about revenge. When the two men decide to take a nap, the boys try to escape. When Tom takes a step forward, the floor creaks, so they have to abandon the idea of departing. They are trapped upstairs, to watch and listen to the events occurring downstairs.
After a short nap, Injun Joe starts digging with his knife in order to bury a small bag of coins he has with him. His knife strikes a hard object. He notices the spade and pick, left downstairs by the boys, and starts to use them. Unfortunately, Joe notices some fresh dirt on the pick and vows to find the owner after digging up the box. When the two men finally extract the box, they pry it open and discover it is filled with gold. Instead of again burying the gold in the house, they decide to take it to Injun Joe’s den - the number two, under the cross. Before leaving, however, Injun Joe wants to search the house to make sure the owner of the pick is not around. He starts up the rickety steps, but they will not hold his weight. The steps give way, and Joe tumbles to the ground. The two men decide not to search any further and quickly depart.
Tom and Huck finally come out of hiding. They bemoan the fact that they have missed finding the treasure themselves. They also promise to be on the lookout for Injun Joe and contemplate going to his den in search of the treasure.
Superstition again comes in to play in this chapter. When the boys arrive at the haunted house to dig for treasure, Huck remembers that it is Friday, an unlucky day. As a result, Tom and Huck postpone the digging until Saturday. Ironically, Saturday proves to be a very unlucky day, for Injun Joe and his partner arrive at the house while Tom and Huck are exploring upstairs. They find the hidden treasure, a box full of gold, before the boys can discover it. The two men plan to take the gold to Injun Joe’s den; the boys contemplate going there as well, in order to steal the gold.
Twain’s descriptions in this chapter are outstanding. He describes the eerie, decaying haunted house in perfect detail. Then he matches the boys’ feelings to the spookiness of the house. As Tom and Huck cautiously spy on Injun Joe downstairs and listen to him curse and rave about revenge, Twain brings the entire haunted scene to life.