Once upon a time there was a pig. He wasn’t a cute little pink pig. He was a big, dirty, hairy pig with little beady eyes and a miserable disposition. He didn’t talk, especially not with a stutter, and he didn’t have any spider friends to weave words into their web for him. So when he got large enough, which was soon, the pig would be slaughtered for meat.
It’s a miserable business, being a pig for slaughter. The cows got to go out into the pasture, but the pig stayed in his pen, gaining weight. And talk about your weight issues. The pig had been trying to slim down for as long as he could remember, but he just kept getting bigger. It didn’t help that his slop had recently doubled in calories because of the oil farmer Izquierda had been adding.
The pig was memorable for only one thing. Every day, at the same time each day, he would scratch himself on a fence post in the back of his pen. He’d done it every day since he came to the pen, and never questioned it after the first scratch.
Where the pig had scratched was well worn, and had bowed outward even before the pig had gained weight. Now when the pig leaned against the railing it bowed out dangerously. If Izquierda had been around to look, he would have fixed the board, but the time the pig chose to do his scratch was always just after feeding and just before he went to roll in his mud wallow and sleep all afternoon.
It had just rained the night before, and the farmyard was thick with puddles that the geese and chickens were splashing in. The pig looked at them disinterestedly, and went to eat. For the farmer these last few days were mouth-watering ones, and he watched the pig with a hunger that the pig might have been concerned about if he’d really cared about anything.
Once the slop was finished, the pig went to his rail. He leaned up against it, and it bowed outward. Then the pig got a good scratch going, back-and-forth, back-and-forth. He was really getting into it when the end of the rail, softened by rain and stretched beyond its socket by the weight of the pig, popped free. The pig flopped into the mud outside the pen.
Another animal might have made a run for it. But the pig was simply annoyed that his rail had popped out before he was finished. He stepped over the rail and started scratching his other side. The weight of the pig pushed the rail back, and when he got into it again, the rail jostled and bumped until it slid back into place. Then the pig, satisfied, rolled in the fresh mud of the wrong side of the fence and fell asleep in the sun.
Nothing would have happened except the farmer had visions of pork chops in his mind and had called his brother about coming over the next day for the pig. A local delivery man tooted his horn, dropping off a bag of chicken feed, and the farmer waved him off. The man dropped the feed and left.
When the farmer’s brother asked how big the pig was now, the farmer estimated high. His brother didn’t believe him, and the farmer thought he would have another look at the pig before he bet his brother than the animal was more than three hundred pounds. So, still talking on the phone, he walked out to the pen. He didn’t see his pig. The pen wasn’t that big, and a big pig makes a pretty big mound. The farmer didn’t look outside the pen for the pig because clearly the pen fence was all in place. If he’d looked around the other side of the pen, he would have seen his pig, but who would have thought of that.
“Someone has stolen my pig!” Farmer Izquierda yelled to his brother. “It must have been that no-good delivery man. My pig was just here and now he’s gone! The delivery man is going to slaughter my pig and say it is his pig.” His brother was livid at the other end of the phone. “He’s coming your way. We’ll trap him between us!”
Farmer Izquierda got into his old truck, and –after a couple of false starts- took off down the road after the delivery man. Because it explains where he’ll be for the next few hours, he and his brother missed the delivery man. They backtracked and missed the delivery truck a second time, then went to the head office of the delivery company and demanded to know the delivery schedule. When they were refused, they got the local police involved and all of them, company manager, police, and both brothers, went to find the delivery truck. The truck driver had been having a very nice lunch with someone he didn’t happen to be married to, so he’d hidden the truck behind her house. So that’s what happened to Farmer Izquierda. Now back to the pig.
The pig slept in the sun until the shade of the trees covered his spot. Then he heaved himself up and looked resentfully at the trees. If he could have, he would have wandered over to his wallow and gotten back into the sun, but that was blocked by the fence. Instead the pig smelled the air, where Farmer Izquierda’s wife was preparing lunch.
Now Ms. Izquierda was using up the last of her bacon because the pig would be slaughtered soon. This should have smelled horrible to the pig, but instead it smelled wonderful. The pig trotted over to the farmhouse door and rooted at the door. The latch, which hadn’t been fastened properly, opened.
Once inside the farmhouse, the pig headed for the kitchen. But the family cat, who had been stalking the bacon since it came out of the icebox, hissed at him and looked so ferocious that the pig turned around and went into the bathroom instead. For humans, there is not much to eat in a bathroom. But to a pig a bar of beeswax and olive oil soap is an appetizer. So the pig rooted around happily in the bathroom.
Ms. Izquierda was a fastidious housekeeper and a very superstitious woman. She came out of the kitchen for a moment to ask her husband a question about the time of slaughter tomorrow. What she saw was an open door and mud strewn all across her clean floor. Farmer Izquierda had a habit of coming into the house for “just one thing” and tracking mud everywhere. So Ms. Izquierda blew her top. She ran to the bathroom door, which had closed because the pig was rooting around behind it, and pounded on the door.
“You filthy pig!” She screamed. “You filthy, filthy pig! I should make you sleep out in the pigpen, or invite the pig in to live with me instead of you. He’d probably be cleaner. Well, answer me, what have you got to say for yourself?”
The pig, being a pig, grunted like a pig. Ms. Izquierda took this as a mortal insult. “That’s it! I’ve had it with your manners. You know God is watching you. He’ll punish you for your piggy ways. You see if he doesn’t. And I’ll be glad when he does!” She turned to go back into the kitchen and the door swung open behind her. The pig, having finished what the bathroom had to offer, was interested in more from this loud human. He grunted.
Ms. Izquierda whirled on him. “That’s just mean! You…you’re a pig! Oh, Dios mio, God has struck you down! Oh, my poor baby! What have I done? I didn’t mean it! Oh, how can you ever forgive me?”
The pig grunted, as if to say: “food would be a good start.”
So while Farmer Izquierda was hunting for his pig, his pig ate his lunch. Ms. Izquierda had an old Studebaker of her own, so she decided that the pig needed to go see padre to be cured of his curse. She bundled the pig into her car, and they drove off to town.
Padre was quite sympathetic, and prayed over the pig. But nothing worked. The pig stayed a pig. Ms. Izquierda took the pig home. She put the pig back in the wallow, where padre said he would be happiest. And he was.
Ms. Izquierda went to sleep that night in sorrow. But Farmer Izquierda came home and got into bed, exhausted after a fruitless search for the delivery truck. The delivery truck man had gotten a call from one of his friends and laid low rather than coming back to work.
In the morning, Ms. Izquierda awoke to find her husband next to her. She was overjoyed, and farmer Izquierda enjoyed a morning of rapturous praise. His day just got better when he saw his pig had been returned in the night. But it faded somewhat when he found out that Ms. Izquierda had gotten into her mind that his pig was now blessed and not for eating.
If you go by their farm, you will see a sign for a holy pig. And now you know how that happened.
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