It was Becky Thatcher’s birthday on Saturday and all of Becky’s friends were happy and excited.
«I’m having a big picnic near the river,» said Becky to Tom, «After the picnic we can visit McDougal’s Cave.»
«It’ll be great fun!» said Tom. He liked Becky a lot.
On Saturday morning a big boat took Becky, Tom and their friends down the river. There were no mothers and fathers, but a few boys and girls were eighteen years old.
There were a lot of good things to eat and everyone ate, played and had fun.
After the picnic the children went to visit McDougal’s Cave. Everybody had candles because it was dark inside the cave. Some children were afraid but they all went in. Caves are exciting and mysterious.
McDougal’s Cave was very, very big. It had hundreds of tunnels, rooms and secret passages. No one knew all of them.
The children played and ran in the tunnels and in the rooms. But they always played near the entrance. They did not want to get lost. Tom and Becky wanted to find a new tunnel. They walked and walked and soon they were alone. Where were the other children? They were lost!
In the evening the other children returned to the boat. They laughed and talked, but they were very tired. They did not see that Tom and Becky were not there. The boat took them back to St Petersburg.
Huck saw the boat but he did not know about the picnic. The mothers of St Petersburg did not like him. They never invited him to birthday picnics.
But tonight Huck was not interested in birthday picnics. He was interested in Injun Joe’s treasure. He hid behind a tree and watched an old house.
«Injun Joe’s in that old house,» he thought, «I’ll stay here and wait. When he comes out I’ll follow him and I’ll find the treasure.» It was late and very dark.
Soon two men came out. It was Injun Joe and his friend. Huck followed them quietly.
«They’re going to Widow Douglas’s house,» thought Huck, «But why?»
Suddenly the two men stopped. Injun Joe said, «Many years ago Widow Douglas’s husband was very cruel to me. Now I want to hurt the widow. I want to cut her face, her nose and her ears. And you must help me.»
«Oh, please don’t kill her,» said his friend. Injun Joe laughed.
Huck heard this and wanted to run away. But he remembered that Widow Douglas was kind to him. «I must help her,» thought Huck, «These men want to kill the poor old woman!»
Huck ran quickly to Bill Welsh’s house. «Mr Welsh, help, help!»
Mr Welsh opened the door.
«Mr Welsh, please help me! Two men want to kill Widow Douglas!»
Mr Welsh and his sons took their rifles. They ran to the widow’s house. Suddenly there was a loud shot. Injun Joe and his friend escaped, but the widow was not hurt.
The next morning Huck returned to see Mr Welsh.
«You’re a courageous boy, Huck,» said Mr Welsh, «You saved the widow’s life. The two men escaped but we’ll find them. Sit down and have breakfast with us!»
Huck was happy because he saved the widow’s life. And now he had new friends, Mr Welsh and his family.
That morning all the people of St Petersburg knew about Tom and Becky and they were very worried. Where were they?
Tom and Becky were lost in McDougal’s Cave. They did not know what to do. They were both afraid. Tom took Becky’s hand. They walked and walked. Tom wanted to find the entrance of the cave, but he couldn’t.
Tom and Becky entered a big room with a lot of black bats. It was terrible. The bats flew over their heads and when Tom and Becky ran away the bats followed them. Finally the bats went away. Becky looked at Tom and said, «Tom, where are we?»
«I don’t know, Becky.»
They continued walking in the dark tunnels. They were both tired and hungry. Becky started crying. «No one will ever find us, Tom. There are too many tunnels and rooms. Oh, we’re going to die here!»
«We’ll get out of this cave, Becky, you’ll see,» said Tom. They ate their last piece of cake. Soon their last candle went out. Everything was dark. What time was it? What day was it? They didn’t know. They were tired and slept.
When they woke up they were very hungry. Suddenly, Tom heard a noise.
«Listen, Becky! Did you hear a noise? Someone is looking for us!
Becky looked at Tom and smiled.
«I’m going to see. You stay here, Becky!» said Tom.