She loved him with all her heart.
She ran to the fence line and didn’t know what to do. Should she go? Should she turn around? Should she try to talk to her family about this?
The little pig bounced around in her teddy bear back pack, nose and front feet peeking only to tumble back down with every other step. She was only four, but she had the heart and wisdom of a noble warrior. The family was given the pig for Christmas. This was the Serbian orthodoxy, and that was the tradition. Being a little child of only four, Anica only knew one thing: her heart did not want this living creature to be slaughtered for some dinner. What made things worse, the family even named him. How could they name him and plan to eat him. Were the adults all insane? What was wrong with her parents? How could she be related to such murderous and callous people such as this?
She could not understand. She only knew she needed to escape.
The farm property sprawled for acres. The grasses were long near the fence-line. She waded through it to the rickety wood border that some how kept the cows in.
She turned to look back at them. She thought it was good that her evil parents needed to keep them alive for the milk and cheese.
She blew a kiss to them and said a silent prayer in her head for God to watch over them, then turned and ducked between the weatherbeaten rails.
Down the gravel path she walked. When she was a few farm yards away she began talking to the pig. Eventually, to ward off boredom, she began singing little french children’s songs she learned in her music class.
“Don’t worry, Dragi. We will get you safe. I will sing to you to keep your mind off the trouble… Sur le pont d’Avignon… l’on y danse, l’on y danse… Sur le pont d’Avignon.. l’on y danse tout le rond…”
This filled her heart up with a little more happiness and she almost wanted to skip if she thought the little fellow wouldn’t bounce entirely out of her back pack.
She had gotten far enough away by the time the sun began to go down so the adults would not be able to see her and she would not be able to hear them. She decided to sit under a tree for a bit. She knew the town was close now. She pulled a wrapped peanut butter and jam sandwich from her dress pocket and decided she needed to solidify her plan except that she had no plan.
The street light was ensconced by a shape coming her way. By the glow, she thought it might be a holy person or an angel of some sort, but she was still a little afraid. She drew her forearm up to block the glare. Chewing still, sandwich in hand, she called out, “Who’s there?”
The jogger with a curious dog came over and knelt down next to her revealing herself from the shadows.
“Whatcha got here, little one? Are you okay? You lost? You look pretty okay judging by the sandwich,” she said and she smiled.
“Do you eat pigs?” Anica asked.
“Haha. No.. I don’t actually. That’s a strange thing to ask,” said the jogger.
“Well, my family wants to eat little Dragi here and I have to save him,” Anica replied.
“Hmmm… that IS a dilemma,” said the jogger. “I can help. I’m not in the habit of this, but my farm is right there. I’ll give you a lift home and if you like, Dragi can stay with me and you can visit any time you like.”
Author's note: Many of these stories are inspired by real people. Some of them are fiction stories based off of an encounter with a stranger or co worker and I'd often tell them when the story was published. In this case, she had actually come from a Eastern European family and when this happened, well, partially happened, she had indeed heard the word Draga often which was an endearing nickname for darling or sweetie which was what she nicknamed the pig.