The Adventures of Tom Sawyer CHAPTER ONE Aunt Polly Keeps her Promise
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Aunt Polly Keeps her Promise
"Tom! ... TOM!"
There was no reply.
"Now, where could that boy be?" the old woman said as she looked around the room.
"You had better hope I don't find you, because when I do ... "
Without finishing her sentence she searched the room and found only the cat under the bed. Then she thought he might be in the garden. Looking out of the window, she shouted "Thomas Sawyer!"
And suddenly she heard something behind her. Quickly turning around, she was just in time to catch a young boy trying to run out of the room.
"What were you doing just now? Why didn't you come when you heard me calling you?"
"I wasn't doing anything. Really, I wasn't."
"Well, how can I believe that when all I have to do is to look at you and see your dirty hands and face? How did you get so dirty?"
"I don't know, Aunt Polly."
"Well, I know. You've been eating junk food again, haven't you! How many times have I had to tell you not to eat sweets?!"
She raised her hand to hit Tom, but just before she brought it down on him he shouted: "Hey, there's something behind you!" And when his aunt turned to look, he ran away as fast as he could out of the house and quickly disappeared from Aunt Polly's sight. Even though she had been so angry with Tom, she couldn't help laughing and saying to herself, "That boy! He's always getting into trouble. I hate to punish him so often, and I really hate to hit him, but sometimes there's nothing else an old woman can do. He doesn't like to work and he doesn't like to go to school. He doesn't like to do anything but play. But I promised my sister before she died that I would take care of her son and make sure he grows up to be a good man; and I plan to keep that promise. If I find out he hasn't gone to school today, I'll make him work all day Saturday."
Of course, Tom did not go to school that day. He played down by the river instead. Later that evening, when he returned home late, his brother, Sid, was finishing his housework. Tom liked Sid, but hated that he was always being a "good boy" and trying to please Aunt Polly. Sid didn't know how to have fun like Tom did. He was boring.
After doing his own housework, Tom sat down to eat. During the meal his Aunt Polly began to ask questions about his afternoon at school.
"Tom, did you bring home any books to study?"
"Yes, Aunt Polly."
"Oh good. And, tell me ... did you go swimming today, Tom?"
Hearing this, Tom started to fear that she knew about his afternoon.
"No, Aunt Polly. Why do you ask?"
She put her hand on his shirt. Luckily, it was dry. But Tom knew his pants were still wet and before she could touch them he quickly said, "Because of the hot weather, some of us poured water on our heads. You know, to keep cool."
Aunt Polly believed him and was happy to hear he'd been so good.
Later that evening, as Tom was out walking and enjoying the warm summer air, he met a stranger. It was a boy, a tall boy, taller than Tom. And he was dressed well, wearing what seemed to be new clothing. He even wore shoes. Tom suddenly felt a little embarrassed about his own clothing.
Neither boy spoke. They simply stared at each other and began to walk in a circle, never looking away from the other's face. Tom felt he had to teach this boy a lesson, so he said:
"I could make you cry!"
"No, you couldn't!"
Tom just looked at him silently for a moment and then said:
"I could make you cry like a little girl."
"Then do it! You think you're so strong!"
"I am! I'm so strong I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back!"
"I'm waiting for you to stop talking and start fighting! I think you're afraid."
They began to push each other with their shoulders, again moving in a circle. And then suddenly they were fighting on the ground, hitting and kicking each other, and pulling hair. But soon Tom was on top of the new boy hitting him with his fists.
"Have you had enough?" he asked.
The boy tried to get away. He was crying angrily.
"Have you had enough?"
Then the new boy said, "OK, stop!" Tom got off of him and started to walk away, but as soon as he turned, the boy threw a rock and hit Tom in the back. The boy ran away, but Tom followed him home and waited until the boy's mother came out and yelled at Tom to go away.
When Tom arrived at his home, he had to enter through his bedroom window, because he was late and he didn't want his Aunt Polly to see him. But his aunt was waiting for him. Sid had told her about Tom's afternoon. And when she saw from his clothes that he'd been fighting, she started to plan all the work Tom would do on Saturday.
(END OF SECTION)