The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

What do the king and duke as they pull their first "con" at a religious revival?

Chapters 19-23

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The King goes to the revival meeting with Huck and chances upon a crowd being listening to the preacher. The people get inflamed with the spirit of repentance, and in the middle of all their crying and yelling, the King jumps up onto the stage. He tells the audience that he was once a pirate in the Indian Ocean and that their meeting made him regret the actions of his former life. The King says that he would return to the Indian Ocean to convert his former colleagues, if only he had the money to do so. Immediately, a collection is taken up and the King leaves with over eighty-seven dollars.

The King's story about being a pirate and wishing to convert his brethren is laughable and silly, but at the revival meeting, everyone is so overcome by the love of God and their fellow man that they believe him and donate to his cause. With this anecdote, Twain is commenting on the gullibility of religious zealots, which is consistent with his attack on religion in the very first pages of the novel, when Huck decides that praying and heaven as described by Miss Watson as lousy alternatives to having fun. Twain's view of religion is lucidly set forth in this and other novels, and he tends to express that devotion to religion is simply a waste of time.