Pap wakes Huck, who fell asleep in the night, and asks him what he’s doing with the gun. Huck lies and says that someone tried to break in and that Huck was lying in wait for the intruder, which Pap accepts. He tells Huck to go check the fishing line for breakfast. Huck does so, scanning as he does the rising river. Seeing a passing canoe, Huck jumps into it and paddles it ashore, thinking Pap will be pleased. But then another idea strikes Huck: he decides to hide the canoe and use it in his escape.
Huck tells many lies in the novel, usually, as here, white lies that are practical and motivated by Huck’s desire to protect people, including, sometimes, himself. His lie to Pap here no doubt protects Huck from an undeserved beating. Huck’s skill in lying is part of his adaptability and love of freedom. When rigidly adhering to the truth would cause undo harm, Huck sacrifices the truth.
After Huck returns to shore, Pap berates him for taking so long with the fish. Huck lies that he fell in the river. Huck and Pap get five catfish off the fishing lines and head hone. As the two Finns lay about and Pap says that Huck should rouse him the next time an intruder comes prowling, Huck has an idea to prevent Pap and the Widow from pursuing him after he makes his escape.
As earlier, Huck again tells a white lie to Pap to cover up his escape plans. Huck is more committed to freedom than he is even to truth. But Huck is not committed to freedom in an idealistic, impractical way: he is willing to do whatever it takes to execute his escape plan efficiently, without a trace.
Pap and Huck collect nine logs from the river to sell and then eat dinner. Pap is content to do so, even though any other man would keep scanning the river for things to sell from it. After dinner, Pap locks Huck up in the cabin again and boats to town to sell the nine logs. After Pap has gotten a ways, Huck retrieves his saw from its hiding place and finishes making his hole in the cabin, through which he then escapes. Huck takes provisions from the cabin, anything “worth a cent,” and stores them in his hidden canoe. He hides any trace of his escape by covering his tracks and sealing the hole he made in the cabin.
Pap, like Huck, proves himself to be practical, collecting only as many logs to sell as he needs before quitting. But, unlike Huck, Pap’s practicality serves self-destructive ends, like the purchase of whiskey, as opposed to a nobler end like freedom. This is the end Huck’s practicality serves as Huck takes what he needs from Pap’s cabin and hides all traces of his escape by covering his tracks, literally and otherwise.
Huck takes Pap’s gun into the nearby woods, kills a hog, and takes the hog back to his camp. He smashes in the door of the cabin with an ax, takes the pig inside, and slits its throat so that its blood covers the dirt floor of the cabin. Huck wishes Tom could join him to “throw in the fancy touches.” Huck then bloodies the ax, sticks some of his own pulled-out hair onto the blade, and slings the tool into a corner of the cabin. He also takes a sack full of rocks and the pig carcass and dumps both in the river. Finally, Huck takes the bag of meal out of his canoe and back to the house, rips it open, and carries the sack about a hundred yards from the house, trailing meal as he does so. He also drops Pap’s whetstone at the spot where he stops trailing the grain. Then Huck ties the bag of meal so it stops sifting out and returns to his canoe.
Freedom, as Huck’s actions prove here, is not free. Huck literally sacrifices a hog to make sure that his escape goes unnoticed, and that he himself can successfully disappear into his newfound freedom. Though Huck now wishes his escape to be stylish as Tom would have it, later, when freeing Jim from the Phelps Farm, Huck will wish Tom were more practical, suggesting that he has an immature attitude about style now that he grows out of over the course of the novel. Certainly, though Huck has what could be called a “practical imagination”—he thinks of how to tie up every loose end in his escape.
As Huck waits for the moon to come out so that he can travel by its light, he eats, smokes, and thinks to himself that people looking for him after his escape, thinking him dead, will follow the trail left by the sack full of rocks to the river and afterwards dredge the river for his body, as well as the trail of meal in order to find the “robbers that killed [him].” He is sure, though, that nobody will think that he is alive, much less find him. He plans to paddle to a place called Jackson’s Island on the river, and to visit towns at night to stock up on supplies. Huck soon falls asleep, only to soon wake. It looks late to Huck, and “smelt late” too, though Huck acknowledges that he doesn’t know how to put the sensation in words.
Huck reveals himself to be very empathetic here. He imagines how people would react to a set of circumstances, like the trail left by the rocks leading down to the river. However, Huck’s empathy is limited. It may extend to a search party, for example, but it will not extend to people like Jim, who Huck thinks of as being, in some ways, inferior to white people, until Huck matures. That being said, Huck does have a unique imagination that will enable him to so mature, as indicated by the strangely imagined sensation he has of “smelling” lateness.
Huck hears a sound. It is Pap paddling back to the cabin. Huck loses no time in slipping quietly down the river in his canoe, shaded by the bank. He paddles down the center of the river to avoid being hailed by people on the ferry landing before, at last, reaching Jackson’s Island, “like a steamboat without any lights.” Huck lands and conceals his canoe. In the darkness, he sees a raft go by the island and hears a man on the raft shout commands to someone onboard with him. Huck goes into the woods to get some sleep before breakfast.
Huck at last stages his escape into freedom. The place he lands, Jackson’s Island, is hospitable to him, as a steamboat is hospitable, but is not functional as society is, and it is also lonely for Huck. This is all indicated by the fact that Jackson’s Island is like a steamboat without lights, lights being a sign of human presence. Nature offers Huck a society consisting only of himself.