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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: The Pig Pen
By Suzanne R
04/30/06


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Lots of young people marry for love now. Perhaps one day our son will do that. Times are changing. Our modern pig pen is evidence of that.

Life has been good to me. I am mistress in my own home, and have a healthy son. These days, we even have electricity and a TV.

Just look at the grain waving in the breeze. Wheat, millet, oats, barley and corn – there will be plenty for our family and extra to sell. The vegetable plot has done well too. Tomatoes, cabbages, eggplants, cucumbers and beans – enough to eat and more to preserve for the winter.

Watch out for that stinky pit. They’re our ‘traditional pigs’ down there. Over here is the ‘scientific pig pen’ – that’s an experiment – one that has changed our lives.

This is a good year. We’ll have meat, vegetables and noodles all winter. Such luxury.

Almost equal to the luxury of marrying for love.

But that’s not the best thing.

My sister and I moved here after a man approached our parents offering significant dowries for brides. We traveled a day and a night to reach this village. The moment I met my husband, his kind eyes, muscled arms and calloused hands assured me that this was a hard-working man who would provide for a family. It was a simple affair, our wedding. My sister and I were sent to the same village. Few brides have that support. Such luxury.

We’ve had good years and bad. Not even my strong husband can produce food from parched earth. Yet the drought could not detract from the wonder of our newborn son. I took one look at my baby’s almond shaped eyes and fell head-over-heels in love. Twelve years later, my love for this boy remains unchanged.

Yet even our wonderful son isn’t the best thing.

Until this year, we had no expectations of doing anything different to the generations before. Except perhaps that our son might marry for love.

Earlier this year, some funny foreigners came to our village. They advertised a pig-raising class. My husband decided to attend. He brought home a piglet and a list of rules, including instructions for building heating units under a fancy pig pen. Good grief. As if it isn’t difficult enough to keep our own little family warm and well-fed some winters.

Next my husband insisted on calling the vet to artificially inseminate the pig. Better strains lead to a higher return in the future, apparently. Fancy throwing good money at a man in a white coat with a syringe of pig sperm. What a ridiculous concept!

I control the finances. Yet that husband of mine insisted the vet be paid. If the high-class pig wasn’t treated exactly as the trainers insisted, we would lose it. It was only on loan until we could return two perfect piglets in its place. Grudgingly, I handed over the precious cash.

Sure enough, the pig produced quality piglets. I’ve never seen such fine swine. Not even I complain at the expenses now. Times change.

But the biggest change was in my husband. He shocked me by wanting to read the Bible and pray together as a family. He had been through school, as I had. Surely he knew that religion was only a superstition and not for sensible hard-working people. I refused to participate, busying myself with knitting the thick red long underwear that would keep us warm throughout the coming winter. But I listened well enough. It wasn’t long until I put down my knitting and asked to join in. The changes in my husband were amazing. Whatever he had, I wanted too.

Love. That’s what he had. That’s what this religion is all about. The love of the Creator for common people. The love of His people for one another. Love that even makes strange foreigners leave their luxurious homes so they can radiate love in our dry dusty country.

It is the harvest season now, the busiest time of the year. Yet every Sunday, we get on our large black bicycles, and cycle 45 minutes to church. Perhaps we’ll start a church in our village someday. The people here need God’s love too.

I hope our son can marry for love one day. Regardless, he already knows the greatest love. It is given to us by the Creator of life itself.

I didn’t marry for love. Unexpectedly though, through my marriage and an experimental pig pen, love found me.

Life is good indeed.


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This article has been read 1183 times
Member Comments
Member Date
david grant05/04/06
Liked it. Very readable and enjoyable without a lot of bull. Good Gospel!
Jan Ackerson 05/04/06
I love this woman's voice! It rings absolutely true--plain and simple, no nonsense--but with strong passions, too. Wonderful.
Pat Guy 05/05/06
I absolutely love this voice! I love how it was written with the flowing thoughts of this woman of custom and hard work.

There is a unique/special quality to this story and I immencely enjoyed the read.

A really great job of writing!
Debbie OConnor05/08/06
Great job! I really like the voice of your narrator and the repetition that the good things that had come were not the best thing. The conclusion was strong. Excellent writing, creative angle.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/08/06
I didn't quite understand what the pigs had to do with the husband's salvation, but I too, enjoyed this story. I like the tone. Great job!
Maxx .05/08/06
The thing that really stands out in this piece is the character development... you really brought out the character... we got to know her very well. I think in the process we sacrificed a little of the story's cohesiveness, but the strong character pulled things home. Good job!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/09/06
I loved it. Great job.
Kathleen Morris05/09/06
Your story was very enjoyable to read. Good job! I especially liked the line, "Love found me." This is so true!
Purity Snowe05/09/06
I didn't quite follow the storyline but I sure loved the writing. What a wonderful character!
Judy Hollins05/10/06
I really liked this one, it had such atmosphere with details about the food, climate, farming, marriage traditions, etc. Gives me just a tiny glimpse into all that I have to be grateful for, as well as maybe some of the blessings we overlook by not having such simplicity in out way of life - well done!
dub W05/10/06
Interesting, read it twice.
Joanne Malley05/10/06
This really stands out for its unique voice! I enjoyed it...it was sweet and well-written. Jo
Valora Otis05/11/06
I not only found love in your story, but hope for a better future as well. I felt the love that you have for the people of this particular country. I too, read it twice!