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Summary Chapter 38

Tom insists Jim has to make an inscription on the prison wall, which promises to be difficult. He also needs to engrave his coat of arms, which Jim claims he doesn’t have. Tom makes him a coat of arms. The motto is “The more haste, the less speed.”

Tom decides to fetch a rock since the logs in the cabin won’t do for an inscription. Jim thinks it will take too long to do, but Tom says he’ll help Jim. Jim has to leave the cell in order to help the boys carry the grindstone into it. They have to widen the hole to get it into the cell.

Tom decides Jim needs some spiders and rattlesnakes that he can tame. Jim doesn’t like the idea. Tom says prisoners need a pet to tame, and nobody has ever tried to tame a rattlesnake before. Jim refuses to do this. Tom then tries to talk him into having a garter snake, but Jim refuses. Tom then wants some rats, but Jim doesn’t want them either. Tom insists that prisoners have to have rats. Prisoners tame rats by playing music for them. Jim says he only knows how to play a juice harp, but Tom says rats are not particular.

Tom also wants Jim to plant a flower and water it with his tears. Jim mentions he has spring water, but Tom insists it has to be watered with his tears. Jim says the flower will die, for he rarely cries. Tom decides he’ll bring Jim an onion.

Jim is finding being a prisoner really bothersome with all the things he has to do. Tom says Jim needs to take advantage of this opportunity to make a name for himself. Jim apologizes and promises to do them.

Mark Twain