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A Day No Pigs Would Die

A Day No Pigs Would Die

by Robert Newton Peck

A Day No Pigs Would Die Chapter 4 Summary

  • While Rob and Papa finish their work on the fence, Pinky hangs out with them, sniffing the ground and rubbing up against their boots and just generally doing piggy kinds of things.
  • When they all head back to the house for lunch, Rob's Mama and Aunt Carrie (who lives with the family) both admire Pinky.
  • After lunch, Rob and Papa go outside to try to figure out where Pinky can stay.
  • Papa decides that she can stay in the crib next to the barn (don't worry—they're not keeping a baby outside—this is a crib as in "a stall or pen for cattle").
  • The only problem, Papa says, is that the crib is too close to the cow barn.
  • Papa decides that the crib has to be dragged farther away from the barn before it can serve as a home for Pinky.
  • He tells Rob that they need to use a capstan (a kind of pulley system) to drag the crib. Papa uses a tool to make a hole in the ground, puts a pole in it, attaches a handle, and strings a rope around it. Honestly, Shmoop had a hard time visualizing all this, too, so if you're not following completely, it's okay. Just go with it.
  • Anyway, Papa and Rob then hitch up Solomon the ox to the capstan contraption.
  • Rob doesn't believe it's going to work, but Solomon manages to pull the crib a good distance from the barn.
  • Papa teases Rob, telling him that Solomon "abides by Shaker law" (4.35).
  • Rob and Papa talk about Shaker law, and whether all of it should be believed and obeyed. The law, Papa says, is written down in the Book of Shaker, and even though he can't read, he's heard it read aloud and so he knows it well.
  • Rob doesn't like that the law forbids them from going to baseball games on Sundays.
  • He says he especially wants to see the Green Mountain Boys playing the game, along with their captain Ethan Allen.
  • Rob tells Papa about a question on the history test in school that he had trouble with.
  • He had read a book about the history of baseball which prominently featured Abner Doubleday, but didn't mention Ethan Allen at all. So when he came across a question on the history test that asked which Vermonter played a key part in the state's history, he answered that it was Abner Doubleday.
  • The right answer, of course, turned out to be Ethan Allen. (If you're thinking maybe Rob's getting his history a little mixed up, Shmoopers, you get a gold star for sure.)
  • Rob and Papa talk about history, and about President Calvin Coolidge, and Papa tells Rob that he isn't allowed to vote—because he can't read, Papa says, the law says he can't vote.
  • Despite this, Papa considers himself and his family to be rich in the things that matter—they have each other, they have their work, and they have the land they live on, which will be theirs free and clear in just a few more years.
  • Once Solomon the ox has pulled the crib to its new spot, Papa shores up the outside with fresh wood.
  • That night, Pinky and Rob sleep in the new pig sty together, because Rob doesn't want her to be lonely in her new home.
  • This is one sweet pig-owning kid.

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