We have been reading a fantastic book by Ralph Moody called Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers out loud to the kids. It is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. Lots of great nuggets of wisdom, including this passage about killing hogs:
As we came near our house I could see what looked like three big white sacks of grain hanging from a crossbar at the back of our barn. I jumped off while the bays were making their circle in bur yard, and ran around the barn. Our three biggest pigs were hanging there dead, with all the hair scraped off them. It kind of startled me at first, and I guess Father noticed it. He came right over and bent down on one knee beside me. Then he put his arm around my shoulder, and said, “There isn’t a thing to be afraid of, or to feel bad about, Son. The only time to feel sorry for anything— or anybody—that dies is when they haven’t completed their mission here on earth. These pigs’ mission was to get big and fat so as to make food for us. They have done a good job of it and their mission is completed. And I do want you to know this: they didn’t know what was happening, and they weren’t hurt a bit—they didn’t even squeal.” Father could always explain things like that so I’d understand.
Ralph Moody, Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers 135 (1950). With all of the pigs who have recently left the farm and went to the butcher and returned as vacuum-sealed packages of meat around here, this passage was very timely!