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The Apricot Tree
written by "Unknown"
...pricots.' He did not know of your tree, he added; or he should have paid it a visit before. I began to be sorry I had told him, and made him promise that he would not take more than three. When it got dark, and we were set out, I felt that I was doing very wrong. I wished to turn back; but Fred would not let me. He said I need not take any fruit myself if I wanted to back out; but that if I did not go with him to show him the tree, he would beat me within an inch of my life. So we came to the wicket together; it was fastened, and we clambered over the hedge. Fred had a large basket with him, which I had several times asked him about, and tried to make him say what he brought it for. He told me that I should see when the time came. As soon as he got to the tree, he began gathering the apricots as fast as he could, and putting them into his basket. I tried to hinder him, and said I would shout and wake you; but he declared that, if I did, he would kill me; and you know, Ned, he is nearly twice as big as I am, and terribly violent; so all I could do was to hold my tongue, and let him alone. Just as we were going away, he caught up a saw that was lying in the garden, and spoiled the tree with it. I do believe he did this just for the love of mischief, or maybe partly to spite me, because I had told him not to steal all the apricots. He would not let me have one for my share; though I do not think I could have eaten it if he had, I was so much frightened, and so surprised at him for stealing all your fruit. He besides ordered me not to tell what he had done, and bullied me a great deal about it, till at last I got away from him. I was too much afraid to tell you for a good while, but I could not bear that you should think I had been so very wicked; and at last I made up my mind to tell you exactly how it was. "I know that I have been very wrong," continued Tom; "and that if it had not been for me the apricots would not have bee...

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