The apple crop is not good, and Papa can't seem to catch anything when he goes hunting, although he goes out almost every morning before work.
Papa develops a cough, and his health takes a turn for the worse.
He starts sleeping in the barn so his cough doesn't wake up Mama in the nighttime. Could this get any worse?Oh, yes it could.
Pinky still doesn't have any piglets. Although she's been bred with Samson twice, there's been no sign of her going into heat. "And she ate too much to keep as a pet," Rob tells us (14.6).
We can sense something big is about to go down here, huh?
Then, on a Saturday in December, Papa and Rob sit at the breakfast table, neither one able to eat anything.
They both somehow know what they have to do. Going outside, Papa sharpens his knife and puts on his butchering apron.
He and Rob go over to Pinky's pen. Pinky is glad to see Rob, wagging her little tail and nuzzling his leg.
Rob puts her into the box pen and gives her a big hug.
Papa tells Rob that it's time and asks him to back away.
At first Rob says he can't do it, but Papa tells him that it's what they have to do, so Rob backs away and closes his eyes. Papa uses a crowbar to stun Pinky, and then they roll her over and kill her by cutting the artery in her throat.
Rob wants to run away and cry, but he helps to hold Pinky's body still while Papa butchers her and sets the body into a pot of boiling water.
Rob cries and says that his heart is broken.
Papa says that his is, too, but they have to do what they have to do. Papa gently touches Rob's face and Rob kisses his hand, knowing how hard it was for Papa to kill Pinky.