When I met the piglet a few weeks ago, he was stretched out in front of the wood stove enjoying a life of leisure and diminutive cups of goat milk.  He’d been the runt of the litter and was sure to die if the children on the farm hadn’t intervened and nursed him back to health.  There were pictures of him at another family’s home for what can only be described as daycare.  There were stories of him attending pre-school.  Then it was brought to my attention that he’d be at the Blue Hill Library for story time.  (Follow the link.  He’s there wearing an old wool sock as a sweater.)  And, in a blurring of fiction and reality, the children named him Wilbur.

Wilbur lives at the same farm where my pigs were born.  He’s most likely Mona’s cousin or half-brother.  So I had to ask:  What are Wilbur’s long term plans?  Had his overwhelming adorableness and vulnerability saved him from the sausage grinder?  Was his life to be a bizarre reenactment of Charlotte’s Web?  Would he go on to win the blue ribbon at the Blue Hill Fair?  Can you hold a piglet dressed in an old wool sock in one hand and eat bacon from the other?

Wilbur will most likely become a companion to the boar on the farm who, by virtue of his job, is often segregated and lonely; he will live as an ordinary pig, rooting around and wallowing without drama.  That last question though, the one about a piglet in one hand and bacon in the other, should be difficult to answer in the affirmative, and, yet, inexplicably to me, most people would.  It’s simply not something people care to think about, or, perhaps more accurately, they’d rather not.  Thinking about pigs as anything but pork runs counter to our culture of convenience, and in America convenience is king.  The farm where Wilbur will live out his days will continue to make sausage.



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