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“GIT up! What you ’bout?” “Get up! What are you doing?”
I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make out where I was. It was after sun-up, and I had been sound asleep. Pap was standing over me looking sour and sick, too. He says: I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to figure out where I was. The sun had come up, and I had been sound asleep. Pap was standing over me with a sour, sick look on his face. He said:
“What you doin’ with this gun?” “What are you doing with that gun?”
I judged he didn’t know nothing about what he had been doing, so I says: I figured that he didn’t remember what he’d done last night, so I said:
“Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him.” “Somebody tried to break in, so I was waiting for him to come back.”
“Why didn’t you roust me out?” “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Well, I tried to, but I couldn’t; I couldn’t budge you.” “Well, I tried to, but I couldn’t because you wouldn’t budge.”
“Well, all right. Don’t stand there palavering all day, but out with you and see if there’s a fish on the lines for breakfast. I’ll be along in a minute.” “Well, alright. Don’t stand there babbling away all day. Go outside and see if there’s a fish on the fishing line that we can eat for breakfast. I’ll be out in a minute.”
He unlocked the door, and I cleared out up the river-bank. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I knowed the river had begun to rise. I reckoned I would have great times now if I was over at the town. The June rise used to be always luck for me; because as soon as that rise begins here comes cordwood floating down, and pieces of log rafts—sometimes a dozen logs together; so all you have to do is to catch them and sell them to the wood-yards and the sawmill. He unlocked the door, and I headed out up the riverbank. I noticed some tree branches and debris floating down the river along with a sprinkling of tree bark, so I knew that the river had begun to rise. I figured I’d be having a lot of fun if I were back in town righ now. The annual rising of the river every June was always a time of good luck for me, because of the


firewood tied in bundles

that floats down the river when the water begins rising. Sometimes pieces of log rafts made up of a dozen logs tied together would float down. I could catch them and then sell them to the lumber yards and sawmill.
I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and t’other one out for what the rise might fetch along. Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. I shot head-first off of the bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe. I just expected there’d be somebody laying down in it, because people often done that to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out most to it they’d raise up and laugh at him. But it warn’t so this time. It was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore. Thinks I, the old man will be glad when he sees this—she’s worth ten dollars. But when I got to shore pap wasn’t in sight yet, and as I was running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over with vines and willows, I struck another idea: I judged I’d hide her good, and then, ’stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I’d go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on foot. I walked along the bank, keeping one eye out for Pap and the other for anything good that might float by. Just then, a canoe came floating down. It was a beauty, about thirteen or fourteen feet long with a shallow draft, like a duck. I jumped—clothes on and all—head-first off into the water, like a frog, and swam toward the canoe. I expected there would be somebody lying down inside it, like people sometimes do as a prank, waiting for a boat to pull up to them so that they could pop out and laugh. But that wasn’t the case this time. Sure enough, it was a canoe, so I climbed in and paddled it to the shore. My old man will be glad when he sees this, I thought, because it’s worth about ten dollars. I started paddling up a little side creek, with vines and weeping willow branches hanging overhead. But when I saw that pap hadn’t arrived, I got another idea. I figured, rather than run off to the woods where I’d have to go a long way on foot, I’d hide the canoe, then use it to go down river about fifty miles and set up a permanent camp far away.
It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the old man coming all the time; but I got her hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun. So he hadn’t seen anything. I was pretty close to the cabin, and I kept thinking I heard my old man coming. But I managed to hide the canoe. When I was done, I peered through the willows and saw the old man down the path a little bit, aiming at a bird with his gun. Great—he hadn’t seen anything.
When he got along I was hard at it taking up a “trot” line. He abused me a little for being so slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and that was what made me so long. I knowed he would see I was wet, and then he would be asking questions. We got five catfish off the lines and went home. When he finally showed up, I was working hard to make a “trot” line, and he chewed me out a little for having taken so long. I knew he’d start asking questions when he saw that I was wet, so I told him I’d fallen in the river. We pulled five catfish off the fishing lines and then went home.
While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both of us being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I could fix up some way to keep pap and the widow from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer thing than trusting to luck to get far enough off before they missed me; you see, all kinds of things might happen. Well, I didn’t see no way for a while, but by and by pap raised up a minute to drink another barrel of water, and he says: When we both settled down for a nap after breakfast—we were so worn out. I started thinking that I should come up with a plan to keep pap and the widow from looking for me after I ran away. This would give me more time to get far away before they realized I was gone. I didn’t want to leave this up to chance, since a lot of things could go wrong. I was struggling with a plan when pap got up to drink another barrel of water. He said:
“Another time a man comes a-prowling round here you roust me out, you hear? That man warn’t here for no good. I’d a shot him. Next time you roust me out, you hear?” “Next time someone comes prowling around here you wake me up, okay? That guy from last night wasn’t up to any good. I would have shot him. Next time, you wake me up, okay?”
Then he dropped down and went to sleep again; but what he had been saying give me the very idea I wanted. I says to myself, I can fix it now so nobody won’t think of following me. Then he lay back down and went to sleep again. What Pap had said, though, had given me an idea of how to make it so that no one would think of following me.