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Tom Sawyer

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Tom Sawyer Part II
Ben was having so much fun with his imaginary steamboat.
Ben was having so much fun with his imaginary steamboat.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the second part of "Tom Sawyer."

Just as Tom thought of the majestic steamboats that cruised the mighty Mississippi, he heard a steamboat -- and it sounded like it was awfully close.

Ding-dong! Toot-toot!

Tom dropped his paintbrush and whirled around to find his friend Ben Rogers pretending to be the Big Missouri, the largest, grandest steamboat there was.

"Over to starboard!" Ben yelled, turning his imaginary boat's wheel. "Men, we're taking on water! Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling! Toot-toot!"

Tom tried to ignore all of the fun Ben was having. He tried to pay attention to his painting. It was hard to do.

"Chug-chug! Toot-toot! Hi there, Tom," Ben said.

Tom pretended that his friend wasn't there.

"You have to work today, huh?" asked Ben, polishing a crisp, red apple. "That's too bad. I'm going swimming. I bet you'd rather work, though."

"Work?" Tom asked, a plan hatching in his mind. "Why, this isn't work. This painting is loads of fun!"

"Looks like work to me," Ben said.

"Well, maybe it is," said Tom. "But I sure like it."

"I bet I'd like it, too," said Ben. "It's not every day that you get to paint a fence, is it? Can I paint just a bit?"

"Well, I don't think I can let you," Tom said. "You see, my Aunt Polly is awful set on how she wants her fence painted. You might mess it all up."

Tom knew how to get Ben to paint the fence.
Tom knew how to get Ben to paint the fence.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

But by now, Ben Rogers wanted to paint that old fence more than anything in the whole world.

"I'll give you my apple core," Ben said.

"Give me the whole thing," Tom replied.

So Ben handed his apple to Tom. And Tom pretended to be sad as he handed the paintbrush to Ben. But deep inside, Tom was happy to get out of the work.

Tom enjoyed Ben's apple while Ben painted the fence.
Tom enjoyed Ben's apple while Ben painted the fence.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Before he knew it, Tom was surrounded by all of the other children of St. Petersburg. They had seen how much Ben wanted to paint. Now they wanted to paint, too!

Tom sat there, munching on his apple and planning how he would trick the rest of the children.

Once Ben Rogers was tired of painting, Tom let Billy Fisher paint -- once Billy had handed over his new kite. And once Billy Fisher was tired out, Tom traded Johnny Miller the chance to paint for a rat and a piece of string.

Tom was the happiest boy in St. Petersburg.
Tom was the happiest boy in St. Petersburg.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

By the end of the morning, the happiest boy in St. Petersburg was Tom Sawyer. At his feet, he had a pile of treasure: a jaw harp, a bright piece of blue glass, a toy cannon, a key that had no lock, a piece of yellow chalk, a bottle cap, a toy soldier, two tadpoles, a kitten, a brilliant brass doorknob, a dog collar without a dog, and an orange peel without an orange inside.

Yes sir, that morning Tom Sawyer was the happiest boy in St. Petersburg, sitting there in the shade while his friends painted Aunt Polly's fence.

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