I have a favorite book from my childhood to share with you. One that despite the passage of time, is held in my happy memories and continues to teach me as I share it. Small Pig by Arnold Lobel
There is a delightful story about an adored Small Pig on a farm. The Farmer and his Wife think that Small Pig is the best pig in the world. On the farm, Small Pig has a sweet little spot with a little house and a beloved little mud puddle.
The story is that one day the Farmers Wife gets the notion to clean up the dirty old farm. She starts inside, scrubbing and polishing, washing the curtains and the windows until the House positively shines.
However, as she is surveying her tidy home, she happens to look out on the farm. It is much more dirty than the house so she gets her supplies and goes to work.
One particular thing she uses is absolutely horrifying to Small Pig. It’s big and noisy and it eats things up. Small Pig watches in shock as the farmers wife pulls the monster over to his little house and uses the monster to suck up ALL the good soft mud AND SHE GIVES HIM A BATH… A BATH!!
Poor Small Pig cries unfair to the farmer but, when no help is given, he decides to run away from home.
Small Pig’s first stop is a swamp and even though the right elements are there for him to make a home, the welcome is not. He assaulted by a swamp critter who’s spot he unknowingly usurped and his exit is hasty.
Weary, down the road Small pig trots in search of a new home.
A sign catches Small Pig’s attention, a Junk Yard. Behind the rickety fence there is the hope that with so much junk there will be mud. Stacks of chairs, buggies, beds and cars are all nice and good, but no mud to be found.
Small Pig sees, leaning menacingly in a shadowy corner, his great nemesis. The monster waits, now he knows why there is no soft mud to be found here!! Small Pig RUNS away from there!
Back on the road, there in the distance, is a vast, smoggy, dirty, noisy, TALL city.
Surely there Small Pig can escape the monster and finally find a home. He walks on, down the road, through the buildings, past the fast moving cars. Looking all the while for the soft mud that will finally welcome him home.
There it is! And it is indeed as glorious as Small pig believed it would be. Small Pig sits down and sinks down into the good soft mud. His eyes began to drift closed and suddenly Small Pig finds his mud much changed! Gone is the squishy softness it has begun to harden, holding him tightly. Small Pig is trapped!!
Unbeknownst to Small Pig, the Farmer and his Wife have been searching desperately for him. They have driven all the way to the city and attracted by a gathering of people, rush over to see their dear Small Pig stuck in the hardened concrete.
Small pig is, at last, rescued by the fire department. He runs to the arms of the Farmer and his Wife and they all go home together. As they drive up to the farm, the clouds open and rain falls down restoring Small Pig’s Beloved mud puddle. The Farmers Wife promises that she will not, EVER AGAIN, clean up Small Pig’s mud. EVER.
It is a sweet story full of truth to be shared.
I have been the characters in this book, maybe they sound familiar to you too?
Small Pig, confident with my place in the world only to be chased by things made monsters in my head. Ultimately, rescued by those who love me and a lesson learned. The Farmers Wife, In my desire to do something good, been a force of nature with hurricane like results. Not realizing the harm left in my path that would need mending for far longer than I imagined.
I have also been the Farmer, helpless to change the actions of another, sadly resigned to a new reality but determined to try to make the best of it.
They all found out that the most important thing though, if we make a mistake, if we work on it, we CAN overcome the bad things and grow stronger together.
Real love isn’t perfect, it’s messy and flawed but in the end real love will be what saves us.
P.S. Small Pig is a delightful book full of charming illustrations and definitely worth reading!! I was lucky enough to be given a vintage copy by my Mother in law and it has sat (and will sit again, when the new shelves are finished) proudly on my bookshelves for many years.