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Milton’s Fate

by Patrick Parker 12 months ago in Fable
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A brave little pig’s desire to return home to his momma leads him to challenge his fate.

Milton’s Fate
Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Momma! Momma! Momma!

Milton squealed in anguish as farmer Hendrick picked him up from his pen and took him to the old red barn. His screams echoed across the meadow and over the hills for all of the animals to hear.

Every animal on the farm knew the fate of Milton on this day. They all had grown accustomed to farmer Hendrick kidnapping a piglet and locking it away in the old red barn that lay at the edge of the meadow far away from the main house.

The old red barn is where Milton unknowingly would spend his last night of his life. Milton was no different than the other piglets who had been taken to the barn. He would be blissfully unaware of his tragic fate because of the delicious slop that farmer Hendrick would drop off every morning for him to feast on.

The distraction of food and shelter help all the piglets forget about the squealing on that first day. That’s what hand fed food does to animals, it takes the wild out of them. It gives farmer Hendrick the power to control them until the night he decides he wants to eat them.

Milton is dropped off in the old red barn that only has two windows high in the rafters that let in sunlight. Old farm equipment is scattered about the dusty barn with a small pie of hay for Milton to sleep in at night.

A trough of slip that consists of fruit and vegetables that had begun to rot were Milton’s only source of food. It would fatten him for farmer Hendrick’s birthday feast. Milton thought he was all alone in the old red barn until a soft voice answered his pleas for help.

“Hello, is anyone here?” Milton whimpered as he looked over the menacing tractor equipment used to tear up the fields.

“Momma!” Milton cried out in a vain attempt to be rescued by her.

A faint sound of little legs running above caught Milton’s attention. Bright eyes reflecting the dusk sunlight peered down at him from above. The eyes were many and Milton did not know if they were from a single source or a few unknowns watching him.

“Anyone there? I can hear you up there, can you please help me get back to my momma?” Milton said softly.

“I just want to go home to my Momma. You can have some of my food if you help me.”

The tiny legs began tapping on the wood as if whoever was up there was working on something. Suddenly Milton heard the tapping stop and the ball of eyes lowered closer to him on the barn floor hovering just a few inches from his head.

“Hello dear boy, What is your name?” said the ominous figure dangling from a web string.

“My name is Milton, I’m Sally’s son.”

“Hi Milton, I’m Sawyer. I know your mother, we both came to this farm together many years ago on old man Peabody’s truck.”

Sawyer unraveled her web a bit more and came full view in front of Milton’s nose in rising moonlight.

“Are you the Sawyer that spins beautiful webs with flowers in them?” Milton asked with curiosity.

Sawyer chuckled at the thought of her early web designs.

“Yes, I’m that Sawyer. I was quite an artist in my youth. Nowadays I just spin a web with one purpose and that is to catch my dinner.” Sawyer said with a melancholy tone.

“My Momma told me all about you! How you would make all these beautiful flower scenes in your web and when the wind would blow it looked like a field of flowers moving in the moonlight!” Milton said with excitement.

A smile came across Sawyer’s face and her eyes lit up as she remembered the days of her youth spinning intricate webs near Sally’s pen. They were two different types of creatures, but they were best friends when Sawyer lived there.

“Yes, I love flowers and making those webs was a great deal of fun. Your mother and I had a lot of fun in that pen until farmer Hendrick saw me as a nuisance. He destroyed my webs and chased me out of there. I had to leave in order to survive. I sure do miss your momma and all the others on the farm. It gets lonely out here in this old red barn.” Sawyer said with a bit of heartbreak in her voice.

Milton sat down on his hind legs and Sawyer lowered herself to the edge of the trough.

“Yes, it sure is lonely out here, but we have each other now. We can keep each other company forever!” Milton said with a spark of happiness.

“Yes, we sure can keep each other company. Tell me about how your Momma is doing and how that side of the farm is.” Sawyer asked.

Milton began telling Sawyer of the wonderful life he had in the pen with his Momma and siblings. How life was grand and full of laughter with his family. Sawyer was looking at Milton as he explained, but she was deep in thought about what she knew would transpire the following morning for Milton.

Milton was totally unaware that this would be his last night alive. That in the morning farmer Hendrick would come to take him to slaughter. That he would be the birthday feast for the farmer and his family. Sawyer debated in her mind about whether or not it was better to tell Milton of his fate.

Milton continued telling her of the fun he had frolicking in the mud and the delicious food he had to eat that morning. Sawyer, still deep in thought, silently lol asked herself, “Would I want the truth? Would I want to know what was about to happen or to be unaware of my fate?”

“Sawyer, Sawyer, are you listening to me? Did you hear what I said about making a big splash in the mud and covering momma in mud?” Milton said with a big smile on his face.

“Yes darling I heard you alright and that sounds like you had a great deal of fun. Let me ask you an important question, Milton.” Sawyer said firmly.

“Okay, what is it? If it’s about how to make mud, the answer is easy! Just a little rain and dirt creates the best mud!” Milton said gleefully.

“Oh no darling I know how mud is made. Do you want to know what will happen tomorrow morning when farmer Hendrick comes to the barn door?” Sawyer said with a lump in her throat.

“I already know he’s going to bring food and I hope he brings Momma too! She would love to see you!” Milton said innocently.

Sawyer knew she had to tell Milton of his fate. She realized that only awareness of one’s fate can bring any animal peace, especially when life is about to end.

“No Milton. Tomorrow morning when farmer Hendrick comes he is not going to bring your Momma. As much as you want to see her, you will not see her again.” Sawyer said gently.

“What do you mean! Why won’t I see her ever again?” Milton said with sadness.

“Milton, tomorrow farmer Hendrick is going to come to take you to the slaughter house. Do you know what that means Milton?” Sawyer asked in anguish.

Tears began to build on Milton’s eyes.

“Yes, I know what the slaughterhouse is. My aunt Peggy went there last year and she never returned. Momma said she went to heaven.” Milton said, full of sadness.

“Yes, it’s a place from which no animal ever returns and that is where farmer Hendrick will take you tomorrow. I’m sorry Milton I did not want to tell you, but your Sally’s son and I thought it was best you know your fate.” Sawyer said gently.

“But what if…what if I convince farmer Hendrick to let me go back to my pen with my Momma? Maybe, he’ll listen to me like he does to Peter the parrot!” Milton said with hope in his voice.

“Oh Milton parrots just repeat what the farmer says to him. He’s just a mindless bird who does what he’s told. He can’t really speak to the farmer.” Sawyer said firmly.

Anger began to build in Milton’s eyes. He knew talking to farmer Hendrick and pleading his case would get him home to his momma.

“No! You’re wrong Sawyer! I have to try and talk to the farmer or even to Peter the parrot! Maybe if the farmer cannot hear me he will listen to Peter!” Milton said strongly.

“My dear boy it is better to accept your fate as awful as it is than to cause yourself any more anguish on your last night in this world. Look at the beautiful full moon.” Sawyer said.

Milton shook his head in defiance as the full caught his eye. He stared into it and knew that he had to try to talk to the farmer. He wanted to see another full moon with his Momma by his side.

“A beautiful sight to see Milton. I’m really sorry I had to tell you the bad news, but I hope a night of rest will help you go with the farmer in peace. Goodnight Milton.” Sawyer said as she pulled herself up the web string to her web above.

Milton curled up in the hay pile facing the full moon which was in perfect view through the front window of the old red barn and fell asleep thinking about his Momma.

Morning came fast for little Milton and the sound of the roosters crowing echoed across the meadow to his little ears. He leapt to his feet and knew that he had to talk to farmer Hendrick when he arrived at the barn.

Just then he heard the farmer’s truck start and move across the gravel road towards the barn. Milton had practiced his speech in his dream to his Momma and was certain the farmer would change his mind if he listened to him. Milton looked up to see Sawyer fast asleep in her web and he knew she too would be surprised by what he had to say.

Suddenly the truck arrived at the old red barn and Milton heard farmer Hendrick talking to Peter the parrot.

“Okay, Peter you stay here and watch the truck for me. I’m going to get my birthday present and then we will tend to the farm.” Farmer Hendrick said in an authoritative tone.

“Sounds good to me!” said Peter

Farmer Hendrick unlocked the padlock on the old red barn door and opened it to let it more sunlight.

“Here little piggy, I’ve got some fresh apples for you!” Farmer Hendrick called out.

Milton backed out the hay and into a dark corner hoping the farmer would not see him, but suddenly a flash of light was upon him.

“There you are little piggy, come eat a fresh apple.” Farmer Hendrick said with an outstretched arm.

“No! I will not go to the slaughterhouse!” Milton screamed at the farmer.

Sawyer awoke to Milton’s screaming. Farmer Hendrick developed a puzzled look upon his face as if he had seen a ghost.

“What did you say little piggy?”

“No! I will not go to the slaughterhouse! I want to go back to my Momma in the pen with my brothers and sisters! I want to see the full moon again tonight with them!” Milton yelled at the farmer.

Farmer Hendrick shook his head in disbelief.

“Are you talking little piggy?”

“My name is Milton! I’m not going to the slaughterhouse!”

“My God, my wife was right, animals can speak to humans!”

“Yes we can if you listen to us! I want to go home to my Momma!” Milton cried.

Farmer Hendrick dropped to his knees and removed his hat.

“Dear Milton, Don’t worry, I'll take you home to your Momma.”


About the author

Patrick Parker


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