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In Chapter II of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer we find our main character, Tom Sawyer, having to work on a beautiful day. It's summertime in Cardiff Hill, a Saturday morning, and while the other kids go to the swimming hole, Tom is stuck painting a fence that's 9 feet high and 30 feet long.
Along comes Jim, and Tom tries to get Jim to paint the fence. Tom even tempts him with a marble and a look at his sore toe, but Aunt Polly comes along, spanks Jim with her shoe, and Jim runs off.
As Tom is painting the fence, along comes Ben Rogers. Tom has an idea. He pretends to be so enthralled with painting the fence, he hardly notices Ben. This gets Ben's attention. Tom tricks Ben into painting the fence for a while, and Ben gives Tom an apple.
Next comes Billy Fisher. Tom tricks Billy into giving him a kite in exchange for the joy of fence painting. Next up is Johnny Miller. Tom is able to get a dead rat, with a string, in exchange for painting the fence.
This continues until the middle of the afternoon, when Tom finally runs out of whitewash. The fence has three coats of paint, and he's successfully traded almost all the boys in town out of their "wealth."
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