It was a sunny, summer Saturday morning and all was right with the world. The town of St. Petersburg basked in the warmth of the sun. Birds twittered and sang, filling the air with music. The cries and laughter of the town's children, busy playing games of ball and tag and leapfrog, echoed among the shady trees and red-brick homes.
Yes, all was right with the world on this summer morning -- for everyone but Tom Sawyer, that is.
Poor Tom Sawyer watched his friends frolic and shout and run. He watched the mighty steamboats chug up and down the muddy river. But that is all he could do -- watch. For Tom had a fence to paint.
"Buffalo girls, won't you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight?"
As he stood painting the fence, Tom heard a voice singing a funny old song. The voice was getting closer and closer when Tom recognized who it was. It was his good friend Jim!
"Why, Jim!" Tom said, an idea in his head. "I bet you'd like to paint this fence, huh?"
"Oh, Tom," said Jim, "I don't believe I can do that. Your Aunt Polly told me that you would try to get me to do your work for you."
"Well," said Tom, "this is hardly work at all. It's fun! I'll just sit and read that comic book of yours while you paint the fence."
Jim just shook his head and said, "No."
Tom shrugged and said, "I'll show you my sore toe."
Now a sore toe isn't something one sees very often. Especially a toe so sore that it must be wrapped in a bandage. So Jim agreed to help paint the fence for a quick peek -- just one, small peek -- at Tom's sore toe.
"This sure is a funny comic book," Tom laughed.
He watched Jim paint away.
"I know," said Jim. "I've read it three times myself."
Tom had just continued his reading and Jim had just restarted his painting when a voice called out from the house. "Tom Sawyer," the voice said, "I thought I told you to paint that fence by yourself!"
It was Aunt Polly!
As Aunt Polly came roaring out the front door, Jim quickly scooted down the street, his comic book in his hand. Not so quickly, Tom picked up his brush and bucket and got back to work.
Tom began to think of all the fun he would be having if it weren't for Aunt Polly and her lousy fence. He could be off with his pals on some wild adventure, or watching the steamboats chug past.
Find out what happens to Tom on the next page.