After taking the blame for eating Mr. Sir's sunflower seeds, Stanley returns from his uncomfortable visit with the Warden to find that his hole has already been finished for him. He notices that Zero's hole is smaller than everyone else's. Stanley finds this unusual because Zero is normally the fastest...

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After taking the blame for eating Mr. Sir's sunflower seeds, Stanley returns from his uncomfortable visit with the Warden to find that his hole has already been finished for him. He notices that Zero's hole is smaller than everyone else's. Stanley finds this unusual because Zero is normally the fastest digger and is always finished first. With this information, Stanley infers that Zero must have dug his hole, but he can't figure out why. The other boys joke that Zero just likes digging, but Stanley isn't convinced that's really why he did it.

When Stanley thanks Zero for digging his hole, Zero says that he knows Stanley was taking the blame for the sunflower seeds, just like he took the blame for a crime he didn't commit.

Stanley is correct in his inference that Zero has finished digging Stanley's hole. In fact, Zero dug the hole because he wants Stanley to teach him to read and is offering Stanley a kind of trade for services. Zero will dig Stanley's hole for an hour if Stanley will give him reading lessons for an hour each day. Since Stanley won't be as exhausted if Zero digs his hole, he will have more energy to devote to teaching Zero to read.