Joe watched Tom for about five minutes. Tom painted very slowly and carefully. He often stopped, ,moved back from the fence and looked at his work with smile. Joe began to get very interested, and said:
'Tom, can I paint a little?'
Tom thought for a second. "I'm sorry, Joe. You see, my aunt wants me to do it because I'm good at painting. My brother Sid wanted to paint, too, but she said no.
'Oh, please, Tom, just a little. I'm good at painting, too. Hey, do. you want some of my apple?"
'No, Joe, I can't
OK, you can have all my apple!'
Tom gave Joe the brush. He did not smile, but for the first time that day he was a very happy boy. He sat down and ate Joe's apple.
More friends came to laugh at Tom, but soon they all wanted to paint, too. By the afternoon Tom had three balls, an old knife, a cat with one eye, an oId blue bottle,and a lot of other exciting things.He was the richest boy in St Petersburg, and the fence — all thirty metres of it -was a beautiful white. He went back to the house.