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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 33: The Fate of Injun Joe
A search and rescue party, including Tom, is organized to go to McDougal’s Cave to look for Injun Joe. When they unlock the cave door, a ghastly sight meets their eye. Injun Joe’s body is stretched out by the entrance. He has obviously use his bowie knife to try and open or cut through the door, but it was useless. Too weak to move from the entrance, Joe has obviously died of thirst and starvation. Tom is moved by the sight, especially since he realizes he and Becky could have met a similar fate; he even feels sorry for Injun Joe’s suffering, for he can remember his own pangs of hunger and fear. Tom also feels a great sense of relief to know that Injun Joe is dead. It is the first time since he witnessed the murder of Doc Robinson that he has felt really safe.
Injun Joe is buried near the mouth of the cave, and Huck and Tom are in attendance. After the funeral, they talk about their experiences; Huck tells about the excitement on Cardiff Hill and how he saved the Widow Douglas from the evil Injun Joe, and Tom details his cave adventure. Then Tom tells his friend that he is sure that Injun Joe has hidden the treasure in the cave. He convinces Huck to go with him to the cave immediately to search for Injun Joe’s gold.
Tom leads Huck to the hole from which he has escaped with Becky. He cautions Huck not to reveal this opening to anyone but Ben and Joe. The cave can then become the private domain of "Tom Sawyer’s gang," which Tom plans to form. He dreams they will become robbers who will capture people and hold them up for ransom; but they will not hurt anyone, especially no women.
Tom and Huck go into the cave, and Tom leads the way to the sign of the cross that he has seen earlier. Huck is afraid of Injun Joe’s ghost appearing and tells Tom that they should leave. Tom assures him that ghosts are afraid to come near a cross. After digging and searching, the boys find the treasure box. They put the gold into leather bags that they find and quickly leave the cave. They arrive back in town around dark and decide to hide their treasure in the loft of the Widow’s woodshed. On their way to the Widow’s, they encounter the Welshman, who hurries them to the Widow’s house. When they arrive, all the important people of the town are waiting for them. Huck is apprehensive because he is used to being falsely accused by the townspeople. The Welshman assures him that he has nothing to fear. In truth, the boys are warmly greeted and told to go wash up and put on clean clothes.
True to his character, the adventurous Tom joins the search party that is formed to look for Injun Joe in the cave. When he sees the Indian’s body, Tom actually feels sorry for the dead man, knowing how he must have suffered. He also feels relieved that he does not have to worry any longer about Joe’s getting revenge on Huck and him.
Tom’s main concern still seems to be in finding the treasure. He is now convinced that Injun Joe has hidden the gold in the cave, and Tom plans to find it. He talks Huck into going with him to the cave and entering through Tom’s secret entrance. Inside, Tom leads the way to the cross, and they begin digging. Huck is hesitant at first, because he fears the ghost of Injun Joe. Tom reassures him that a ghost will never come near a cross. Tom and Huck soon uncover the hidden treasure box. They load the gold into leather bags and return to town, where they are led to the Widow Douglas’ house. There they are greeted by a crowd, who seem to have assembled for a purpose.