October comes and goes, and then November arrives, bringing with it brisk air that hints at the winter to come. For weeks, Mr. Peck looks at Pinky every day, checking for signs of heat, but none show. He suggests that Robert try feeding her different things and mix scraps of meat into her food, but the advice has no effect. One day Robert meets Mr. Tanner on the ridge between their properties and mentions that he thinks that Pinky is barren. Mr. Tanner says that he will take a look at her and rolls up to the Peck farm later that day with his prize boar, Samson, in tow.
Mr. Tanner explains that sometimes a pig needs to be courted before she comes into heat. The very large and masculine Samson, he thinks, will be just the thing that Pinky needs to awaken her passions. Mr. Peck isn't home, but Robert and Mr. Tanner decide to go ahead and try to mate Pinky anyway. They move Samson into a holding pen, and Robert goes to get Pinky. Pinky is stubborn, and Robert has to hit her with a switch several times, but he finally gets her into the pen with Samson. As she goes by, Mr. Tanner slaps a handful of lard on her behind.
Pinky and Samson court for some time, moving around each other, with Samson trying to sniff Pinky's behind. Pinky does not want to let him, and she even bites Samson's ear before Mr. Tanner pushes her away. As the pigs get on with each other, Mr. Tanner and Robert talk. Mr. Tanner asks about Robert's father's health, to which Robert weakly replies that his father is fine. Changing the subject, Robert points out his barn cat as she comes out of the barn with her three kittens. Looking at them, Mr. Tanner is sure that it has to have been his cat that fathered the kittens. Mr. Tanner also explains that for having Samson breed Pinky, Robert would owe him fifty dollars or two picks of the litter if they were successful. Robert agrees, and they are in business.
After more tentative sniffing and butting, Samson uses his size and strength to pin Pinky against the fence of the pen and forces himself upon her. Pinky tries to escape but cannot. And with every breath, she screams in agony at the weight of Samson on her hindquarters and the pain of his forcing her. When Samson is finished, Pinky's rump is badly bruised and blood runs down from between her legs. Even when it is over, she does not stop screaming.
Robert is horrified as he watches all this happen, hating Samson for forcing himself on Pinky and making her scream. When Samson finishes, and he sees Pinky bleeding, he tries to jump into the Pen to comfort her. But Mr. Tanner stops him. "You crazy, boy?" Mr. Tanner reprimands him, "You go into that pen now and go near her, and that boar will have you for breakfast." "How old be you, Rob," he then asks. Robert tells him that he is twelve, going on thirteen. Mr. Tanner explains that that is good because twelve is the age of a boy and thirteen is the age of a man. Like Pinky, who just went from being a girl to a brood sow, Robert will be all grown up soon.
Mr. Tanner asks if Haven is slaughtering pig today, which of course he is. Robert then explains to Mr. Tanner that he thinks that his father works so hard because he is chasing something with which he cannot catch up. Mr. Tanner compliments Robert on his perceptiveness and asks Robert how he does in school. Robert tells Mr. Tanner about his report card and how his father and his teacher hope that he can become something more than a farmer because of his education. Mr. Tanner becomes defensive about his livelihood and explains to Robert the greater glory of farm work, saying, "There's no higher calling than animal husbandry, and making things live and grow."
The ox is Solomon; Mr. Tanner's boar hog is Samson.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
1 out of 2 people found this helpful