Painting the Fence
One World English Course 3 (2021) pg. 98-101
|Painting the Fence|
It was a bright summer morning. Tom usually was free to do anything he wanted to do, but this day was different. His aunt Polly got very angry at him when he came home the night before. His clothes were all dirty because he had a fight. She decided to punish him. "Tomorrow you will paint the fence out front all day!" she yelled. So, instead of a day of adventure and fun, he had to paint the fence.
Tom started to paint as fast as possible. After a while, he looked at the fence. It was long and high. "Oh, today is really going to be awful!" he thought. "Soon the other boys will come and laugh at me for working." He wondered if he could give his friends something to do the work for him, but he didn't have anything interesting to give in his pocket. At this dark moment, a wonderful idea came to him.
Soon his friend Ben appeared. He was eating an apple and pretending to be the captain of a riverboat. "Turn her!" he shouted. "Stop!" Tom continued to work.
Ben said, "Hello! You are in trouble." No answer. Tom was concentrating. Ben became curious. "You have to work today?" he asked. "What do you mean? Work?" Tom said with a surprised look. "I'm enjoying it! How often does a boy get a chance to paint a fence?"
Ben stopped eating the apple. "Let me paint a little," he said. Tom replied, "No, Ben. Aunt Polly wants this fence to be perfect. It must be done very carefully." "Oh, Tom, let me try. Only a little. I will give you this apple." Tom gave the brush to Ben reluctantly, but with joy in his heart. While Ben was painting, Tom sat under the tree and ate the apple.
The whole afternoon, again and again, friends came by. They stopped to laugh, but stayed to paint. Each one paid with a little toy, and Tom let them paint.
By the end of the afternoon he was rich and the entire fence was painted. Tom learned a great law of human nature that day. A person will desire something if it is not easy to get.