At the beginning of chapter 10, Huck tells Jim that he does not believe in bad luck. He tells Jim, “What did you say when I fetched in the snake-skin I found on top of the ridge day before yesterday? You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a snake-skin with my hands. Well here’s your bad luck!” However, Jim replies with a foreboding warning that bad luck will come.
Huck takes this as the chance to test Jim’s declaration of bad luck. He decides to put a dead rattlesnake into Jim’s blanket. He forgets about the snake all night until the snake’s mate comes to the dead snake. When Huck strikes a light, the snake bites Jim on the foot, proving that the bad luck can happen.
This causes Jim’s heel to swell, and he becomes sick for four days, slowing the two’s journey. Huck feels remorse for his actions and shows that he can become mature when it is needed. However, according to Huck, Jim believes “handling a snake-skin was such awful bad luck” that their own bad luck will continue.