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Friday, November 20, 2015

C'mon Tom, Whitewash my Fence!

Mark Twain, detail of photo by Mathew Brady,
 from Wikipedia

Its Mark Twain time. One of my favourite adventures was in ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and it was known as ‘Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence’. 

Incidentally, Tom Sawyer was pretty much his own life story. It was based on his and his friends’ childhoods. I enjoyed reading this when I was 5 or 6, but I loved it and basically re-read it only recently, when I was writing another blog post. 

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who was born on November 30th 1835, was
Huckleberry Finn- From Wikipedia
better known as Mark Twain. He wrote ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The Prince and the Pauper’. He was an American author and humourist. His stories were brilliant, as they had awesome humour, social commentary and a few lessons too.

Tom Sawyer lived with his Aunt Polly, and she had put him to work as a punishment. So, on a fine summer Saturday, Tom made his way to a 30 yard fence with a long brush and a bucket of whitewash. He seemed really despondent, when he reached the fence. He dejectedly began the work. But it was only minutes when his friend, Jim came by. 

Jim, who also had his own work to do, that of fetching water refused to whitewash in place of fetching water, which Tom said he was glad to do. Jim finally gave in, when Tom offered to show off his sore toe.  So, whitewash it was, until Aunt Polly caught Jim doing Tom’s work.

Tom began the work again, but it did not last very long. At this point, he had an idea. It was now, that the first of his friends came along. Ben Rogers, who was eating an apple and singing a song, came upon Tom, who seemed to be busy at work. When Ben was sympathising with Tom saying that he had enough work to do, did Tom unleash his plan.

Tom said that he wasn’t working at all, and only loved painting the fence and he made such a jingle about it, that Ben was totally awestruck. He began whitewashing it and seemed to enjoy it as much as Tom was! Not just him, but Billy and Johnny too, and Tom made a big deal of giving it up, for a little something on the side.

So, it was twelve marbles, a piece of blue bottle-glass, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a tin soldier, two tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a dog-collar – but no dog, and a dilapidated old window sash, among the rest of the stuff that he got, just for giving all the kids a chance to paint his fence.

The best part was that he barely did any work, and he discovered a secret. That of human laws; that by making something crave worthy, you just have to make it a little tough to get.

This story had its fun bits. It spoke of green fields, a quaint looking village, a hill and wonderful flowers at every step. And kids all around. It really made it all worthwhile, not just at that age, but now too! I remembered loving it then and laughing my guts out.
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