Beautiful Joe
Chapter 28


Please be aware that this book was originally published in 1894 and may contain words, descriptions, or other passages that may be considered offensive today.


In a few days, thanks to Mr. Harry's constant care, the horse and cow were able to walk. It was a mournful procession that came into the yard at Dingley Farm. The hollow-eyed horse, and lean cow, and funny, little thin pig, staggering along in such a shaky fashion. Their hoofs were diseased, and had partly rotted away, so that they could not walk straight. Though it was only a mile or two from Penhollow to Dingley Farm, they were tired out, and dropped down exhausted on their comfortable beds.

Miss Laura was so delighted to think that they had all lived, that she did not know what to do. Her eyes were bright and shining, and she went from one to another with such a happy face. The queer little pig that Mr. Harry had christened "Daddy Longlegs," had been washed, and he lay on his heap of straw in the corner of his neat little pen, and surveyed his clean trough and abundance of food with the air of a prince. Why, he would be clean and dry here, and all his life he had been used to dirty, damp Penhollow, with the trees hanging over him, and his little feet in a mass of filth and dead leaves. Happy little pig! His ugly eyes seemed to blink and gleam with gratitude, and he knew Miss Laura and Mr. Harry as well as I did.

His tiny tail was curled so tight that it was almost in a knot. Mr. Wood said that was a sign that he was healthy and happy, and that when poor Daddy was at Penhollow he had noticed that his tail hung as limp and as loose as the tail of a rat. He came and leaned over the pen with Miss Laura, and had a little talk with her about pigs. He said they were by no means the stupid animals that some people considered them. He had had pigs that were as clever as dogs. One little black pig that he had once sold to a man away back in the country had found his way home, through the woods, across the river, up hill and down dale, and he'd been taken to the place with a bag over his head. Mr. Wood said that he kept that pig because he knew so much.

He said the most knowing pigs he ever saw were Canadian pigs. One time he was having a trip on a sailing vessel, and it anchored in a long, narrow harbor in Canada, where the tide came in with a front four or five feet high called the "bore." There was a village opposite the place where the ship was anchored, and every day at low tide, a number of pigs came down to look for shell-fish. Sometimes they went out for half a mile over the mud flats, but always a few minutes before the tide came rushing in they turned and hurried to the shore. Their instincts warned them that if they stayed any longer they would be drowned.

Mr. Wood had a number of pigs, and after a while Daddy was put in with them, and a fine time he had of it making friends with the other little grunters. They were often let out in the pasture or orchard, and when they were there, I could always single out Daddy from among them, because he was the smartest. Though he had been brought up in such a miserable way, he soon learned to take very good care of himself at Dingley Farm, and it was amusing to see him when a storm was coming on, running about in a state of great excitement carrying little bundles of straw in his mouth to make himself a bed. He was a white pig, and was always kept very clean. Mr. Wood said that it is wrong to keep pigs dirty. They like to be clean as well as other animals, and if they were kept so, human beings would not get so many diseases from eating their flesh.

The cow, poor unhappy creature, never, as long as she lived on Dingley Farm, lost a strange, melancholy look from her eyes. I have heard it said that animals forget past unhappiness, and perhaps some of them do. I know that I have never forgotten my one miserable year with Jenkins, and I have been a sober, thoughtful dog in consequence of it, and not playful like some dogs who have never known what it is to be really unhappy.

It always seemed to me that the Englishman's cow was thinking of her poor dead calf, starved to death by her cruel master. She got well herself, and came and went with the other cows, seemingly as happy as they, but often when I watched her standing chewing her cud, and looking away in the distance, I could see a difference between her face and the faces of the cows that had always been happy on Dingley Farm. Even the farm hands called her "Old Melancholy," and soon she got to be known by that name, or Mel, for short. Until she got well, she was put into the cow stable, where Mr. Wood's cows all stood at night upon raised platforms of earth covered over with straw litter, and she was tied with a Dutch halter, so that she could lie down and go to sleep when she wanted to. When she got well, she was put out to pasture with the other cows.