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Chanky Pig


By James Owen

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Chanky Pig lived on a small farm in the South of England, not far from the

Market town of Birenchester. He was the happiest smiliest pig in the pen,

the others used to squeal,

'Hey Chanky, give us a smile and cheer us up!' and Chanky would wrinkle up

his snout and give them the biggest, happiest smile he could muster. The

other pigs would squeal in delight and run round and round and round waving

their wiggly tails and laughing at each other. This also made Chanky very

happy and he would smile harder and harder until his eyes were tight shut

and his snout started to go all white.

The pigs all had a very happy life because whenever they felt sad Chanky

would cheer them up with one of his magic smiles, but then with a terrible

event everything changed.

On a cold windy winter's day Chanky woke up to see all the other pigs being

rounded up by the farmer and his boy, they forced them into a huge metal

cage on the back of a lorry. The other pigs were squealing and snorting in

absolute terror and they were stamping on each other to try and escape.

Chanky looked on in disbelief, he was crying and squealing but he was locked

in his pen and couldn't go and help them. Chanky could see fear in the other

pig's tear glistening eyes and he tried to smile to reassure

them............and he tried...........and he tried. He wriggled his snout,

wiggled his tail, screwed up his eyes........but he couldn't smile, he could

only cry.

The lorry pulled off from the farm gates, the other pigs were making the

most awful noise Chanky had ever heard and he fell to the ground

heartbroken, lonely, and scared. As the squeals subsided Chanky pushed his

face into the muddy floor and soaked it with his tears.

Later that day the farmer returned, the metal cage was empty apart from a

few muddy trotter-prints. Chanky lifted his face from the mud and stared at

the farmer, hoping for some explanation, some justification. The farmer

looked at him for a long while, lowered his eyes and removed his cap, and


'Chanky, you are too ugly to sell at market, your twisted grimacing face

would turn the stomach of even your own mother, the other pigs used to make

fun of you, but you never even noticed, you don't have the brains dear boy.

Chanky, you're my favourite you know, the runt of the litter who I dropped

by mistake, I'm afraid it's my fault that you are slightly retarded, and I

do feel sorry, but that's the way it is.'

Chanky's little heart sank, he suddenly realised how the other pigs had

laughed at him, how they derided him for his unusual looks and simple ways.

He sank deeper and deeper into a miserable state of mind, feeling sorry for

himself, and embarrassed by his own stupidity. Eventually he raised his head

and looked the farmer in the eye. The farmer seemed to notice some change in

Chanky, and he met his gaze directly. After some moments the farmer spoke,

'Chanky, the other pigs are dead now, they have all been turned into

sausages, they are butchered, packaged and sold already. You though, you

will live here forever because you are too ugly to sell, so count your

blessings young pig, count your blessings......' and with that he turned and


Chanky stared forlornly at the setting sun, in the course of one day his

life had changed forever.......he sat.......he watched.......he

thought.......and then..........................

Chanky began to smile, and the change that had come over him settled deep in

his heart. The old Chanky, who used to laugh and run with the others, was

pushed away inside, and a new expression crept across his face.




Chanky Pig was a strange kind of fellow. He became the kind of pig that

always hung around the farmyard, getting old and fat, while the other pigs

are sent for slaughter. In Chanky's case his preservation was due to the

fact of his supreme ugliness. Chanky had a face like a rotting potato, long

and pointed, with unprecedented growths and protrusions that took away any

kind of symmetry or balance. His teeth grew out of the sides of his mouth,

he had small bent ears that stuck up like little flags, his eyes were always

looking in different directions, and his chin had long growths of spiky hair

that were always covered in drool. The other pigs made sure to avoid him,

they knew that he was unlike the common swine in the pen, and he always had

an unsettling air of knowingness about him. Occasionally one of the stronger

pigs would say something about his looks or his perpetual smile, but Chanky

would just stare right back at them and stay silent, he did all his crying

in private.

Chanky knew that he would never be sent to market, the farmer always spoke

to him when he returned late on Wednesday evenings and recounted tales of

the day's business. Chanky loved this time best of all, he liked it when the

farmer boasted that,

'Those are some of the finest porker's I've ever reared, they're goin' to

make luverly sausages, absolutely luverly...'

At this point the farmer would drift off, a hungry look in his eye, and he

would then turn on his heel and head for the farmhouse shouting,

'Goodbye Chanky, there'll be a new load in next week!'

Chanky would feel really excited, his stomach would tie itself in knots, his

body would shiver right from his hairy head to his wiggly tail, and he would

run on the spot giggling to himself. He loved to think of all those other

pigs being cut into chops, ground into mince, packed into sausage skins, or

baked in pies. Chanky smiled at the dusk deepening sky and rolled his eyes

up into his head, before swooning in delight at the prospect of more little

swine to come.

The next week Chanky was woken earlier than usual by the sound of farm

machinery. He stood up immediately and scampered out of his sty into the

grassy area outside. At the fence Chanky pushed his snout through his usual

lookout hole and watched eagerly as the new arrivals were herded off the

lorry. The new pigs were scared and confused, the farmer and his boy had to

beat them with sticks so that they would run the right way. As they

approached the gate to the sty Chanky quietly crept to his favourite

observation point behind the feed trough and ducked down low so that they

wouldn't be able to see him.

The pigs came in like a winter tide, tumbling over one another in their

panic. When the last one was in, the farmer slammed the gate shut and leaned

over the fence. He looked over at the feed trough where Chanky was hiding

and bellowed,

'Here's the new arrivals Chanky, make 'em welcome!'

The farmer and his son walked away laughing loudly with the good humour of

two men who have worked hard together all day. Chanky raised his head above

the trough and watched them leave, he was proud of the strong farmer who had

brought him new pigs. He looked around, the new arrivals were all staring at

him, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. He stared back, smiling as ever, and began

to walk towards them. Chanky saw handsome young pigs all around him, they

all looked at him as though he was a rat in the feed trough, some even

backed away in real fear. Chanky hated all these beautiful pigs, he knew

what was going to happen to them, and he knew that he wouldn't ever suffer

the same fate, but nevertheless they reminded him that he was different. The

pain of being different gnawed at Chanky daily, and it was making him more

and more unhappy.

As Chanky pushed through the staring crowd he caught sight of another pig,

standing outside the group. This pig, a sow rather, was the most beautiful

Chanky had ever seen. She had skin as pink as cotton candy, eyes that

sparkled like running water, and a tail as curly as a corkscrew. Chanky felt

himself go red with embarrassment as she lowered her big pink eyelids and

smiled at him. Chanky smiled back, feeling a buzz of electricity fizz along

his spine and out through his tail.

Over the next few weeks Chanky saw the beautiful sow every day, and although

he hated all the other pigs, she became the most important thing in his

life. Every morning they would pass each other at the trough, Chanky

standing at the far end, as he always did. Every morning she smiled at him,

and Chanky always smiled back. Eventually, Chanky decided that he was going

to talk to her, he knew he couldn’t go through the rest of his life without

doing so. That night Chanky stayed awake late, worrying and excited about

what he wanted to do the next day.

Next morning Chanky awoke as usual and trotted out into the yard, his heart

was pounding, and the blood that rushed around his head was making him feel

faint and dizzy. He was so nervous in anticipation of talking to the

beautiful sow that he didn’t notice the feeder had not been filled, the

water trough was empty, and the farmer’s truck had gone.


Chanky Pig ran over the green hill behind the pigsty as fast as his legs

could carry him, he was blinded by the tears that started to flow as soon as

he realised what had happened to his beloved sow. Chanky ran heedlessly

towards the horizon, he never wanted to stop, he wanted to run and run until

he collapsed and passed away, so that his thoughts would never catch him.

His beautiful sow was gone. He had never even spoken to her, too slow to get

to know her. He stopped suddenly and fell to the ground, breathless, lost,

and alone. Chanky’s thoughts were rushing around his head like woodlice

suddenly brought into the open. He couldn’t control his anger and sorrow, he

did his very best to quell the rising passion within him, but his long

period of denial was over. Chanky knew, as he slipped into sleep, that when

he awoke things would seem very different.

Some time later Chanky arose, it was getting dark and cold. In the distance

Chanky could see the outline of the buildings in the big city. Chanky had

heard tales of this place from the farmer’s dogs, who told him that there

were pig-stys the size of mountains, and that it was light even at night,

lit by a thousand tiny suns. He headed in the direction of the city with a

sense of hope for the future, and a conviction that perhaps he would find

happiness there.


Time passed, seasons changed, the big city rumbled on through the days,

uncaring, brutal and cold-hearted.

Chanky Pig sat alone and neglected in a dirty alleyway. The nooks and

crannies of the big city had harboured him since his flight from the farm

after the night that his sow was taken. Crystalline tears dribbled down his

snout and plopped onto the tyre dusty asphalt. He watched the droplets as

they made a little pattern on the ground, running into one another and

growing gradually larger. Chanky was alone, really alone. He had been lonely

before, he had been lost, he had been scared, he had even been lonely and

lost and scared all at one time, but he had never been truly alone. The

tears carried on plopping into the dust as Chanky began to give up all hope

of finding a home.

Then, suddenly, and without warning, a bright light illuminated the

alleyway. Chanky's tear-filled eyes were dazzled by it and he had to put his

trotter across his face to be able to see. The light seemed to pulsate and

grow, shining so brightly that Chanky could feel its power on his skin.

Then, in a gracious and orchestrated manner, a figure approached through the

glare. The figure seemed to have no form, no substance, but it began to

merge with the light, absorbing it and solidifying until there was no light

left, just a man.

The man looked at Chanky with eyes that seemed to swallow your thoughts and


'Be at peace pig, you are not lost, none of God's creatures are ever truly

lost, they are all safe under the watchful gaze of the Lord. You are as

important to the Lord as any of his creations and will be offered the same

concern. There is no place for sorrow here, you should rejoice that you have

time alone to consider the incredible gift of life that has been entrusted

unto you.'

Chanky looked at the man in awe, he had never seen anyone so wonderful, even

the farmer had not filled Chanky with such happiness. The very presence of

this wonderful man was enough to turn Chanky's thoughts from deepening

depression to happiness. The world seemed to sink under his curly-tailed

behind as Chanky sat and stared into the eyes of this incredible stranger.

Then, the stranger spoke again,

'Chanky, for I know that is your name, why have you been so cruel?'

Chanky didn't know where to look, he was surprised to be addressed by his

name when this stranger could not possibly have known it. He stared up at

the man again, and suddenly little pieces of the alleyway began to

disappear. The dustbins vanished in a misty haze, the damp, cold, brick

walls exploded in a shower of tiny stars and he was no longer in the dirty

alleyway. Clouds and flowers were swirling around Chanky's head and

multi-coloured birds were flying past singing operatic bird-song. As far

into the distance as he could see, the sky was flooded with radiant gold

light. Chanky couldn't believe his eyes and as he tried to comprehend what

was happening, the man spoke again.

'You could have died in that alleyway Chanky, but I am prepared to give you

one more chance. You were a very good pig until that fateful evening of the

farmer's revelation. The other pigs treated you very harshly, I understand

that, but it does not excuse you from anything. Chanky, you must make

amends, you must do penance for this or you will never again find real


Chanky wiped the tears from his snout with a grubby trotter and with a

lop-sided grin gave the man his most quizzical expression. The man smiled

right back and said,

'I know what you're thinking Chanky, who am I? Well, that is a question that

I have no need to answer, you will find out who I am in good time. Chanky my

friend, if you turn your life around now, I promise we will meet again, and

I will tell you my name.'

Chanky smiled a smile that he felt warm him deep inside, the shallow, sorry

form of happiness he used to feel drifted away like a summer shower, leaving

his mind clear and ready for change. Chanky knew that he had to go out into

the world and make a difference, and he had an idea of just how.

Seconds after Chanky realised how his life should progress, the clouds,

birds, and golden light were all gone, as was the man. Chanky found himself

back in the dirty, cold alleyway.

This time though, the alleyway had a very different feel, it had potential

that was not there before. Chanky looked around and saw that there were

others in the same position as him. A skinny chicken was propped up in a

corner, coughing profusely. A mangy dog was biting furiously at its ravaged

coat. A battle-scarred alley cat hissed at him and bared its claws, and in

the furthest corner of the alley Chanky saw a young beaver trying to keep

out the cold night air by huddling deeper and deeper into a filthy pile of


'Friends' cried Chanky, eliciting very little response, 'Friends, we are all

very badly off here, we must raise ourselves from this place and better our


He looked around at the assembled animals, they were all looking at him now,

presuming him to have eaten some funny mushrooms whilst foraging. Their

faces showed absolute dejection, years of struggling to survive had worn

down their hope. Chanky sighed, he wanted to help, he wanted to achieve

something. Then, unexpectedly, the cat spoke up.

'Mr Pig!' announced the cat in a spiky, street tough voice, 'I am quite

willing to better myself, but why would I require your assistance to do so,


Chanky replied calmly and in what he thought was his most leader-like tone,

'Mr Cat, it is well known indeed that the feline is a competent and hardy

survivor. A fine hunter...a sharp thinker. But imagine how...easy....your

life would be with three others to share the work.'

The cat looked at all three others, sat down, licked a paw thoughtfully, and


'I see your point Pig, I am not entirely.... err.....shall we say not

entirely OPPOSED to the occasional nap or an easy life. Perhaps you have a

good idea. I would be willing to TRY for a while at least, but I have no

time for leaders, a cat like myself is an independent creature, untamed,

unpredictable, you know the score....'

'I do, I do!' said Chanky. 'We shall form a loose alliance, there will be no


'But I really want one!' bellowed the dog with alarm. 'I need someone to

work for, I can't deal with all this wandering around finding stuff to eat.

I will happily follow you Mr Pig, as long as you take me somewhere better

than this alley.'

The beaver and the chicken looked at each other, and then, in perfect

unison, smiled and promised to follow Chanky.

The animals set off into the night, walking one behind the other they formed

a bedraggled and rather half-hearted crew. Chanky walked in front, standing

as tall as he could and turning round often to try and cheer up the others.

When the crew looked tired Chanky would use his magic smile to cheer them

up, and this time he knew they appreciated it. No one made fun of Chanky,

they saw him as their leader, and he didn't look ugly to them, he looked

fierce and proud.

After several days they came to the woods, dark green, wet, and unfamiliar.

Chanky stopped on a grassy knoll that allowed a clear view of their future

home. He turned to the animals, and when they had all shuffled into line and

stopped panting he spoke,

'Friends, this is our future home!' declared Chanky, sweeping his hand

dramatically across the horizon. 'We shall want for nothing here, as long as

we can work together.'

The animals looked at one another, nodding and murmuring agreement.

'I promise to go hunting every day and catch us all we can eat!' meowed the


'I promise to guard our territory and sniff out enemies!' growled the dog.

'I promise to gnaw down trees and build a wonderful house!' chattered the


‘I promise to do my best at whatever I do!’ clucked the chicken.

Chanky smiled with pride, gave each animal a pat on the head and said,

'I promise to do all I can to keep our spirits lifted and our dream alive!'

Then, all the animals trooped into the forest, where the beaver began to

gnaw down trees, the dog patrolled the area to make sure it was safe, the

cat disappeared into the undergrowth in search of prey, and the chicken

scratched around finding nuts and berries. Chanky found a beautiful clearing

in the woods where shafts of dusty golden sunlight shone onto a lush mossy

floor. He instructed beaver to make their home there, and then started

gathering rocks and sticks to aid in the construction.

That evening, the animals sat around a fire, eating the fish that the cat

had caught, in their new home that beaver had built, listening to the

chicken tell stories, and feeling safe because the dog had patrolled the

area. They were all content, they were all happy. Chanky looked around the

fire and with a smile he said,

'Friends, this is the happiest I have ever been. I have learnt a lot about

life in recent times, and I think I know how it should be lived. It is no

good to live in ignorance, although you may be happy, and knowing the whole

truth can be disturbing. It is no good to live in anger, because eventually

you will shrivel up inside and suffer yourself what you made others suffer.

It is no good to live in denial, for you will only be denying yourself a

chance to be you. No, to be happy you must understand all these things and

use them to understand yourself. I know that I can cheer people up, that I

can bring people together, dog knows that he can guard others, cat knows she

can hunt, beaver knows that he can build, and chicken knows that she always

help us all. We are all good at something, and when we find that we should

use it. If we use what we know for others, then we bring happiness to


Chanky fell silent, smiling, he knew now who the man was that appeared in

the alley way, and he felt certain that he had met him again, in the company

of friends. The others all smiled too, and they all knew, deep in their

hearts, that they would be smiling, together, forever.

The End

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