In Chapter 2 of Charlotte’s Web we learn more about the tiny pig named Wilbur. Fern adores him and takes very good care of feeding him before and after school while Mrs. Arable gives him his noontime bottle.
For the first few days Wilbur lives in the house but as he grows he is moved to a pen outside. It’s apple blossom season and the days are getting warmer.
Concerned that the pig might get cold when the temperatures drop, Fern is relieved to see Wilbur dig a tunnel inside the straw in the wooden box house she provided which will keep him warm when he sleeps at night.
Each morning Wilbur walks to the bus stop with Fern and as soon as she gets home from school she plays with him. Oftentimes he’ll walk alongside her as she pushes a doll carriage and sometimes when he gets very tired she puts the pig in the carriage with her doll and lets him sleep while she carefully maneuvers the carriage so as not to bump it and wake him up.
As Wilbur grows, Mr. Arable tells Fern that it’s time to sell him. All of Wilbur’s brothers and sisters had already been sold. Pigs eat a lot of food and is not worth the cost to keep him.
Naturally Fern is upset because not only will she lose Wilbur but it’s very likely that Wilbur will end up on someone’s breakfast plate. As a farm girl, she knows what will happen.
Seeing her daughter’s distress, Mrs. Arable suggests that Fern “Call up the Zuckermans. Your Uncle Homer sometimes raises pigs.” The Zuckermans live down the road so it appears to be a good compromise.
Fern calls her Uncle who agrees to take the pig and the next day Wilbur is moved from his home under the apple blossom tree to go live in a manure pile in the cellar of the Zuckerman’s barn.
Chapter 2 – Lessons Learned
Wilbur is fed at least three times a day. He is a content and happy little pig.
Lesson learned – never underestimate the importance of a good and constant meals.
Wilbur is very loyal to his friend Fern and as a result he gets lots of attention.
Lesson learned – true loyalty has it’s perks and can show whose in your tribe.
Wilbur is moved outside but manages to stay warm by tunneling under the straw.
Lesson learned – a safe warm bed is priceless.
Wilbur follows Fern around as she pushes her doll carriage and they both delight in the game. When Wilbur is placed in the carriage, he is so comfortable he falls asleep.
Lesson learned – sometimes the best fun is the fun you make on your own.
Lesson learned – everyone likes to be taken care of once in a while.
All of Wilbur’s brothers and sisters are sold early on.
Lesson learned – appreciate your family, you never know when they will be gone.
Fern disagrees with Mr. Arable decision to sell Wilbur and registers true objection. Mrs. Arable takes notice and offers a compromise to which Fern agrees. Fern makes the call to the Zuckemans.
Lesson learned – taking control of a situation early is more effective than waiting until it’s a done deal.
Lesson learned – Good negotiation skills will often help you get what you need.
Bonus Lesson learned – once again, it never hurts to thank your mom.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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