All but the head used to be under the sand, for hundreds of years, maybe thou- sands, but they had just lately dug the sand away and found that little temple. It took a power of sand to bury that cretur; most as much as it would to bury a steamboat, I reckon.
We landed Jim on top of the head, with an American flag to protect him, it being a foreign land; then we sailed off to this and that and t'other distance, to git what Tom called effects and perspectives and propor- tions, and Jim he done the best he could, striking all the different kinds of attitudes and positions he could study up, but standing on his head and working his legs the way a frog does was the best. The further we got away, the littler Jim got, and the grander the Sphinx got, till at last it was only a clothespin on a dome, as you might say. That's the way perspective brings out the correct proportions, Tom said; he said Julus Cesar's niggers didn't know how big he was, they was too close to him.
Then we sailed off further and further, till we couldn't see Jim at all any more, and then that great figger was at its noblest, a-gazing out over the Nile Valley so still and solemn and lonesome, and all the little shabby huts and things that was scattered about it clean disappeared and gone, and nothing around it now but a soft wide spread of yaller velvet, which was the sand.
That was the right place to stop, and we done it. We set there a-looking and a-thinking for a half an hour, nobody a-saying anything, for it made us feel quiet and kind of solemn to remember it had been looking over that valley just that same way, and think- ing its awful thoughts all to itself for thousands of years. and nobody can't find out what they are to this day.
At last I took up the glass and see some little black things a-capering around on that velvet carpet, and some more a-climbing up the cretur's back, and then I see two or three wee puffs of white smoke, and told Tom to look. He done it, and says:
"They're bugs. No -- hold on; they -- why, I be- lieve they're men. Yes, it's men -- men and horses both. They're hauling a long ladder up onto the Sphinx's back -- now ain't that odd? And now they're trying to lean it up a -- there's some more puffs of smoke -- it's guns! Huck, they're after Jim."
We clapped on the power, and went for them a- biling. We was there in no time, and come a-whizzing down amongst them, and they broke and scattered every which way, and some that was climbing the ladder after Jim let go all holts and fell. We soared up and found him laying on top of the head panting and most tuckered out, partly from howling for help and partly from scare. He had been standing a siege a long time -- a week, HE said, but it warn't so, it only just seemed so to him because they was crowding him so. They had shot at him, and rained the bullets all around him, but he warn't hit, and when they found he wouldn't stand up and the bullets couldn't git at him when he was laying down, they went for the ladder, and then he knowed it was all up with him if we didn't come pretty quick. Tom was very indignant, and asked him why he didn't show the flag and command them to GIT, in the name of the United States. Jim said he done it, but they never paid no attention. Tom said he would have this thing looked into at Washington, and says:
"You'll see that they'll have to apologize for insult- ing the flag, and pay an indemnity, too, on top of it even if they git off THAT easy."
"What's an indemnity, Mars Tom?"
"It's cash, that's what it is."
"Who gits it, Mars Tom?"
"Why, WE do."
"En who gits de apology?"
"The United States. Or, we can take whichever we please. We can take the apology, if we want to, and let the gov'ment take the money."
"How much money will it be, Mars Tom?"
"Well, in an aggravated case like this one, it will be at least three dollars apiece, and I don't know but more."
"Well, den, we'll take de money, Mars Tom, blame de 'pology. Hain't dat yo' notion, too? En hain't it yourn, Huck?"
We talked it over a little and allowed that that was as good a way as any, so we agreed to take the money. It was a new business to me, and I asked Tom if countries always apologized when they had done wrong, and he says:
"Yes; the little ones does."
We was sailing around examining the pyramids, you know, and now we soared up and roosted on the flat top of the biggest one, and found it was just like what the man said in the Sunday-school.