Summary and Analysis
There comes a time in every boy's life when he feels the need to dig for buried treasure. Feeling this need, Tom tries to round up his companions but can find only Huck Finn, who is available for any adventure. Tom explains in detail all the distinctions and subtleties of finding buried treasures--mysterious maps and instructions, proper "haunted" places and where to look for them, and what to do with the immense fortunes. Huck claims he will spend his fortune on eating and enjoyments because his "Pap" will take it all from him when he finds out about it. Tom is more conventional; he will save some of the fortune for a marriage.
The boys hike into the forest, and after digging several holes and finding no treasure, they decide that they must wait until midnight. They hide their tools and plan to meet at midnight [a bewitching hour] and dig under a special tree behind Widow Douglas' house. They meet at the appointed time and begin digging at the end of the shadow cast by the moonlight at midnight, thus signifying the presence of buried treasures. After an hour, Tom again decides that they are digging in the wrong spot. They decide to dig at a haunted house that no one ever goes around, but because they are not at ease with dead folks, ghosts, and supernatural events such as strange blue lights coming from the house, they decide to do their digging in the day time.
At noon the next day--Friday the 13--the boys start out for the haunted house fully aware of the dangers on this particular date. Furthermore, Huck has had a bad dream about rats, which is a sure sign there is trouble. To avoid bad luck, Tom and Huck spend that afternoon playing Robin Hood instead.
On Saturday, the boys meet again at the haunted house on Cardiff Hill. After digging a bit, they decide to go into the haunted house. Peeking inside, they sense something "weird and grisly about the dead silence," and there is an aura of isolation and desolation. After examining the downstairs, they venture upstairs together and look around.
As they are about to descend, Tom and Huck hear voices downstairs. They see one of the men: He is the old deaf and dumb Spaniard who has been seen around town a few times. When he begins to talk, the boys recognize him as Injun Joe in disguise. They do not recognize the other man. The two men discuss plans for another robbery, and Injun Joe mentions a revenge he must perform. Although Injun Joe and his companion eat and then fall asleep, the boys are too afraid to attempt an escape.
By and by, Injun Joe and his companion awake and decide to bury a packet of about six hundred silver coins that they have stolen. While digging a hole, they discover a metal box filled with gold coins worth thousands of dollars. Eventually, the men leave with their treasure, which they plan to hide in Injun Joe's "den number two."
Tom and Huck decide to keep a sharp lookout for the "Spaniard," and after he has completed his "revenge," they will follow him to his hiding place. Then they suddenly realize that the revenge is against them--at least against Tom.
The opening sentence of Chapter 25 expresses the universal truth that sometime in the life of every boy there comes a time when he wants to search for buried treasure. This sentence leads to a continuation of the adventure that began in the graveyard and that runs throughout the plot of lesser adventures. That is, it propels the boys toward the inevitable confrontation with Injun Joe. This sentence also leads Tom and Huck to the discovery of the existence of buried treasure, the episode within the cave, and the discovery of the treasure itself.
When Tom explains the nature of buried treasure, he demonstrates his "book learning" and his love of the theatrical or romantic. When the boys discuss how they will spend the money, Huck Finn is the more realistic one: He wants to spend it all immediately on enjoyment because his pap (father) might hear of it and come back and take it all away from him. Tom, however, will spend some of the money on "fun things" but wants to save a large portion of it to use for things such as his marriage, thus indicating a more mature outlook.
The theme of superstition is reintroduced in these episodes. The boys are superstitious of Friday the 13; they believe treasure can only be found at the bewitching hour of midnight; they feel that a horrible dream about rats is dangerous; and they are aware of "signs" such as a haunted house, a skull, witches, dead people, blue lights, and ghosts that will affect their finding treasures.
At the haunted house, the two boys have an unexpected adventure that endangers their lives. Injun Joe had disappeared quite some time ago, but now Huck and Tom recognize that the Old Spaniard is actually Injun Joe. And although they do not know the other vicious man in rags, they are fearful of him. What started out as a game no more serious than playing pirates, Indians, or Robin Hood, now becomes a serious and dangerous situation. The boys are fully aware that they are in the presence of a murderer who hates them and would have no qualms about killing them.
The boys overhear a conversation while hiding and discover that Injun Joe has a secret hiding place which he calls "den number two." When the villains find the buried gold and Injun Joe realizes that someone is upstairs, he takes the gold with him. Thus, this scene is directly correlated to the scene in the cave when Tom catches sight of Injun Joe's hiding place and is later able to find the gold treasure.
hy'roglyphics a picture or symbol representing a word, syllable, or sound, used by the ancient Egyptians and others instead of alphabetical letters.
serape a brightly colored, wool blanket, used as an outer garment by men in Spanish-American countries. Here it is used by Injun Joe to disguise his identity.
Murrell's gang a band of robbers that roved a part of the frontier and gained only minor recognition.