Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 28, 2000

Clean feet lead to special privileges


This is the fourth in a 10-week series of stories about Joe, the pot-bellied pig. Last week, Joe helped his owner, Fred, clean up the yard as they get ready to build a porch on their new home in the country. Joe tells the story.

Fred has decided that I will have my very own little porch, next to the kitchen. It will be separate from the new big porch he is adding to the house. I can't wait.

We have been working very hard fixing up the yard and moving flowers away from the construction area. I am able to help with planting the flowers by digging a hole using my nose.

Joe laughs at me when he sees my dirty nose and says that I look just like the other pigs that live out in the barn. But I am not at all like them.

The men had to cut down the old tree that I used to lay under to make room for the porch. I was sad to see it go, but Fred said the tree was very old and probably wouldn't have lived much longer anyway.

I get to have a new tree of my very own. It will be an apple tree, and we will plant it right next to my porch. When it grows up big and tall, I will be able to play under it.

On the day that the men came to work on building the new porch, I stayed indoors so that I would be out of the way. There was machinery and mud all over.

Then, I heard Fred ask the builders if they could enclose the porch and put big windows in it. That means more work, but it will be very nice.

"Well, I guess I don't have to worry about being fenced in," Blackie, the mean old hen, said to me. "It looks like it will be awhile before anyone has time to start building a fence. Too bad for you, you silly pig."

And Blackie started to laugh.

"Why do you alway tease me?" I asked Blackie. "Why can't we be friends?"

"Well, for one thing," Blackie said, "you like to take baths. You are very different from the other animals on this farm."

"Maybe you should try being clean," I answered her. "You could at least wash your feet. And maybe then, Fred would let you walk on our new porch."

"Do you think so?" Blackie asked me.

"Blackie, it is not a bad thing to be clean. And if you stay out of Fred's flower garden and promise not to dig up his flowers, maybe he won't even put up a fence. Maybe you could be free to walk all over the farm," I told her.

"If I stayed clean, and didn't dig in Fred's flower bed, would I be able to wear a ribbon, just like you do?" Blackie asked me.

"Sure," I said. "I can give you one of mine. You know, maybe we could be friends, after all."

"That would be great," Blackie said. "But, please, don't tell the other animals. I don't want them to laugh at me."

It didn't take long and the porch area was done. I love sitting there.

Blackie washes her feet in her water dish, so she can come on the porch and sit with me, too.

Fred said we have many other projects planned for our farm. It will be very pretty when we are done. Why, we may even make new pens for the dirty pigs that live in the barn.

It's time for a nap on my new porch ­ I have to rest up so I can help Fred.

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