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Summary Chapter 8

Huck wakes up feeling pleasant and comfortable. He hears a boom. He sees a ferry. He realizes they are firing the canon to try to make a body float up. He assumes they are looking for him.

He can’t cook breakfast, for his fire may attract their attention. He remembers that they put quicksilver in bread loaves and throw them into the river, believing it will float to the corpse. He goes to the shore and manages to grab one. He removes the quicksilver and eats the bread. It occurs to him that the bread did find him, so the trick works.

When the ferryboat comes close, he can see everyone he knows. He hears them discussing the murder.

The canon fire nearly deafens him at this close range. If it had been real ammo, they may have killed him. He watches the ferry until it returns home. He knows they won’t search anymore, so he makes camp.

He gets a little lonely. Three days past. He explores the island. While shooting a snake, he comes across another camp fire. He looks for other people but doesn’t find anyone. He is wary to make food, not wanting to alert whoever is on the island to his presence.

He goes to the opposite shore of the river to see if he can learn more news. He doesn’t sleep well, and he is determined to find out who is sharing the island with him.

He returns to the island. He has a hard time finding the camp but eventually does. He recognizes Jim sleeping by the fire.

Jim is afraid of him at first. He thinks Huck is a ghost. Huck is glad to see Jim, feeling less lonely, and Jim is glad that Huck is more adept at catching food than he is.

Jim tells Huck, reluctantly at first, that he ran off. Huck promises not to tell. Jim goes on to explain that a slave trader had been around. Miss Watson said she would never sell him, but she was offered $800. He ran away. While looking for an opportunity to steal a skiff, he overheard that Huck has been murdered. Jim knew he wouldn’t be missed yet. The Widow and Miss Watson would expect him to be doing his duties. The other servants are on holiday. He decided to get a raft, which will leave no trace for the dogs. He manages to get on one, but another man with a lantern shows up. He slides off and swims to the island. He stuck to the woods, not wanting to be visible on the bank.

Jim decides it is going to rain by how the birds are acting. He tells Huck to not hunt them, for they will bring death. He tells Huck other superstitions. Huck wonders if there are any signs for good luck. Jim says there are not many, and the few that there are don’t do any good. For instance, a hairy chest and hairy arms means that you will be rich.

Jim is hairy. He was rich once, but he lost it. He made a bad investment in speculating and in financing a bank. The remainder he lent to a man that was supposed to be lucky, but the man gave it to the poor.

He feels pretty good that he is worth $800.

Mark Twain