"A young boy grows up in the antebellum South on the Mississippi River in the town of St. Petersberg, based on the town of Hannibal, Missouri."--Wikipedia Show Excerpt to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged. Jim came skipping out at the gate with a tin pail, and singing Buffalo Gals. Bringing water from the town pump had always been hateful work in Tom's eyes, before, but now it did not strike him so. He remembered that there was company at the pump. White, mulatto, and negro boys and girls were always there waiting their turns, resting, trading playthings, quarrelling, fighting, skylarking. And he remembered that although the pump was only a hundred and fifty yards off, Jim never got back with a bucket of water under an hour--and even then somebody generally had to go after him. Tom said: "Say, Jim, I'll fetch the water if you'll whitewash some." Jim shook his head and said: "Can't, Mars Tom. Ole mi.