Tom felt that it was time to wake up. He thought
over various plans to change his mood and finally decided to pretend to be fond
He asked for it so often that he became a nuisance, and his aunt finally told
him to help himself and stop bothering her.
If it had been Sid, she would have trusted him, but since it was Tom, she
watched the bottle carefully. She saw that the medicine was disappearing, but it
did not occur to her that the boy was mending the health of a crack in the
sitting-room floor with it.
One day Tom was in the act of treating the crack when his aunt's yellow cat came
along, purring and begging for a taste of the medicine. Tom said,
"Don't ask for it unless you want it, Peter."
But Peter signified that he did want it.
"You’d better be sure."
Peter was sure.
"Now you've asked for it, and I'll give it to you, because there isn’t anything
bad about me. But if you don't like it, you mustn't blame anybody but yourself."
Peter was agreeable. So, Tom opened his mouth and poured down the pain-killer.
Peter jumped a couple of metres in the air, and then made a loud noise and ran
around and round the room, banging against furniture, breaking flower-pots, and
making a total mess.
Next, he rose up on his back legs and walked around crying with happiness.
Then he ran around the house again spreading chaos and destruction.
Aunt Polly entered in time to see him jump high in the air, cry with joy and
jump through the open window, taking the rest of the flower-pots with him.
The old lady was surprised and looked over her glasses. Tom lay on the floor,
"Tom, what’s wrong with the cat?"
"I don't know, aunt," said the boy.
"I’ve never seen anything like it. What made him behave like that?"
"I don't know, Aunt Polly. Cats always behave like that when they're having a
"Oh, they do, do they?"
There was something in her voice that made Tom nervous.
"Yes ma’am. That is, I believe they do."
The old lady was bending down, Tom watching, with interest emphasized by anxiety.
He noticed too late. The handle of the teaspoon was visible under the bed. Aunt
Polly picked it up.
Tom looked down at the floor. Aunt Polly raised him by the usual handle - his
ear - and hit him on the head.
"Why did you want to give that poor cat medicine?"
"I felt sorry for him because he doesn’t have an aunt."
"Doesn’t have an aunt! You idiot. What has that got to do with it?"
"A lot, because if he had an aunt, she'd treat him the same way and give him
that horrible medicine exactly as if he was a human!"
Aunt Polly suddenly felt guilty. This was putting the thing in a new light. What
was cruelty to a cat might be cruelty to a boy, too.
She began to soften. She felt sorry. Her eyes watered a little, and she put her
hand on Tom's head and said gently,
"I did it for the best, Tom. And, Tom, it did do you good."
Tom looked up into her face and tried to be serious.
"I know you did it for the best, aunty, and so was I with Peter. It did Peter
good, too. I’ve never seen him so happy!"
... to be continued!
* The text has been adapted from the Adventures
of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
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