page 1 of 2
As Robert and Haven finish up their work on the fence and head home for lunch, Pinky becomes more and more a part of the family. She plays around sniffing their heels and follows them back to the house. Mrs. Peck and Aunt Carrie both agree that "Pink was just about the prettiest pig they ever saw," but they still won't let him into the house for lunch. Instead, Robert brings Pinky a bowl of cereal, which Pinky is unsure of at first. But after Robert allows her to eat some off of his finger, she finishes the whole thing.
After lunch, Robert and Haven heard toward the barn to figure out a place for Pinky to live. After walking around the barn several times, Haven decides that the family's old corn cratch would make a good home for Pinky. Robert agrees but notes that the cratch is too close to the barn for the cows to be comfortable, and too heavy for Solomon, their ox, to move. Haven already has a plan, however, and explains that they will use a capstan to help Solomon move the cratch.
Haven sets the plan in motion, and as the two watch it working, Robert begins to question his father about religion. "Papa, do you believe all the Shaker Law?" he asks. Haven responds that he believes in most and that he is glad that they are written down in the book of Shaker. Robert then asks how Haven could have read them since he could not read. Haven looks at Robert for a second and answers, "because I could not read, I knew how to listen with a full heart."
Robert then reveals that there is one Shaker Law in particular that he does not like: the one that forbids them from going to baseball games on Sunday. He explains that Jacob Henry's family goes every Sunday and that he wants to see the Green Mountain Boys play. Robert thinks that the Green Mountain Boys, with their captain, Ethan Allen, are a baseball team because of a question on a history test that he had gotten wrong. The question had been, "Which Vermonter played a key part in our history." Robert had thought that the question was referring to baseball, and so he answered Abner Doubleday. When the teacher, Miss Malcolm, was passing the tests back, she had laughed at Robert and told him that the correct answer was Ethan Allen. Still thinking that the question had been referring to baseball, Robert assumed that Ethan Allen must have been an even better baseball player than Abner Doubleday.
Haven stays mostly quiet while Robert goes off, and when the tirade about Abner Doubleday is over, he says, "Thanks be praised all the history I need's in our Family Bible And in the book of Shaker." Robert then tells him that Miss Malcolm thinks that all Vermonters should be proud of their heroes like Ethan Allen and Calvin Coolidge. Robert asks if Haven had voted for Calvin Coolidge, and Haven tells him that he was not allowed to vote because of his illiteracy. "Men look at me and do not take me for what I be," because he wears plain clothes and can only sign an 'X'. Robert asks if that makes him heartsick, and Haven replies that is does not, "because I am rich and they are poor." Robert tries to respond that they are not rich, but Haven interrupts them and explains that they are rich in all the things that they needed. Still not fully convinced, Robert says that, "it seems to me what we have most is work and dirt." Haven replies that though the work is hard, in another year, the dirt will be completely theirs, and that is why he slaughters pigs, because it is his, "mission." Robert asks if that is the mission that they talk about in prayer meetings, and Haven replies that it is and that he is just glad to be in the picture of things in Vermont. He explains that Vermont is a good state because it is so simple. "We can turn grass into milk and corn into hogs," he expounds proudly.
As they are talking, Solomon finishes moving the cratch, and Robert and Haven firm it up with some fresh wood. Robert throws down a layer of straw and spends the first night in the cratch with Pinky. "With Pinky next to me that night," Robert exclaims, "I guess I must have been the luckiest boy in Learning."
The ox is Solomon; Mr. Tanner's boar hog is Samson.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
Take a Study Break!