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Jim is kind of like a little mouse on the boat. He is small and inconspicuous. Jim falls in the apple barrel and then overhears silver talking about his mutinous plans. The apple barrel is a vehicle of sorts which allows Jim to be privy to secret information. The barrel also provides a good cover. He is a boy and he was hungry. Anybody else in the barrel would arouse suspicion but Jim can get away with it and have a snack at the same time.