Pigs Feet, Scales, and a Good Game Of Chess

There was a dragon that slept high atop Baker’s Mountain.

And there was a lone old farmer that tended the land at the mountain’s feet.

The lone, old farmer had been tilling soil and feeding his chickens, pigs, and cows his entire life.

His wife had left him. His son had gone on to see the world, and all he had left was a pig to keep him company.

He named the pig “Oinker” and raised the pig lovingly. He spoke to his only friend every day and, Oinker being a very intelligent pig, one day Oinker spoke back.

Oinker and the lonely farmer spoke so long, and the farmer read Oinker so many books, that Oinker became the most intelligent pig that anyone had ever seen. The farmer and the pig became good friends, and the day the pig beat the farmer at chess the farmer realized that he would be very lucky to spend the rest of his life teaching Oinker everything he knew. On this day the farmer swore that he would never eat another animal again.

Oinker would awake, climb out of his hay bed, and talk with the farmer as he plowed his fields and milked his cows, and the farmer never ceased to be amazed at how well the pig could carry on a conversation.

Oinker spoke of his theories on the stars. He spoke of the stories they had read, and he wove new stories that were better than any book either of them would ever read.

One day the dragon asleep deep within the peak of Baker’s Mountain awoke from his 1,000 year slumber to the rumbling of his belly. The dragon stuck his head from his cavern to see a field below filled with crops and cattle, and the dragon, without asking any permission at all, flew down and swooped a milking cow from the field and flew back to his lair to eat.

Dragons are the type that never ask permission or “beg your pardon” or even “how do you do?” and when the farmer saw the dragon in the sky he feared the worse.

That night, instead of chess, he told Oinker tales of his days as a soldier as he sifted through an old chest filled with armor, sword, and shield.

When Oinker awoke the next day he saw the farmer dressed in rusty old mail and practicing with his sword in the yard.

“The dragon will eat you.” Oinker said solemnly as the old farmer swung his sword through the air.

“There’s only one way to deal with a dragon. He will eat us all if I don’t kill him.” said the farmer.

“Talk to him.” Oinker said brightly “It kept you from eating me.”

“Nonsense,” said the farmer trudging toward the mountain “now don’t follow or he’ll eat you too.”

Oinker had never disobeyed the farmer so he waited until the farmer left and, deciding that he had waited long enough for it not to be considered following, headed up the mountain.

As he headed up the mountain he heard the farmer yelling words Oinker was not allowed to say and as he came around the bend he saw a mighty dragon with black scales, bat wings, long claws, horrible jaws full of pointed teeth, and red eyes looming over the farmer. The farmer was laid upon his back swearing loudly and swinging his dull, old sword.

“Chess!” Oinker squealed running at them “Chess! Dragon do you play chess?”

The dragon looked up as Oinker came close and said in a childish British accent “Bloody hell it’s a talking pig.”

“Chess.” Oinker said bravely as he stopped before the dragon “Bet the farm you can’t beat me at chess!”

“You can’t reason with a dragon!” shouted the farmer as he swung his sword, but the sword bounced off the dragon’s scales with a loud clang.

The dragon clucked “Stereotypes, stereotypes” and with that he snatched the farmer up in his front claws, dug a deep furrow with his two back claws, shoved the farmer into the hole, and buried him up to his head.

The dragon then began to hum a little tune and went back to his layer and brought out a beautiful, oversized, stone chess set as Oinker began the conversation.

Over a lovely game of chess the dragon and Oinker talked. At first the farmer swore at the dragon and the dragon smacked him in the face with his tail, but being buried up to his shoulders, and knowing Oinker to be good at chess, the farmer tried not to grumble overly much.

Oinker made his first move slowly and slowly he began to lose the game. One cannot, after all, beat a dragon at chess, but he took his moves slowly and deliberately and talked of many things.

He talked of the kindness of the farmer, the peace of the farm, he spoke of the weather, books, the speed of a dragonfly, and by the time the dragon had a checkmate he was laughing right along with Oinker.

“You know,” said the dragon, “I usually eat pigs but you are a very friendly swine. ”You shouldn’t eat pigs.” snuffled Oinker, “And you shouldn’t eat the farmer and you shouldn’t eat his cows and I know I will never keep a dragon from being a dragon…”

“…and I know I would never eat such an intelligent friendly pig.” Said the dragon.

“And I would very much like to use the bathroom.” said the farmer.

“Your friend here,” said the dragon, “was very rude. Dragons eat humans.”

“Stereotypes, stereotypes…” clucked the pig, “If we are to be friends and ever play chess again you are to leave the farm and the farmer alone.”

“Well” said the dragon “I haven’t had anyone to play chess with in quite some time.” And with this the dragon freed the farmer and reset the chess board.

Now a talking pig fending off a dragon in a game of chess is very rare. Over time the farmer came to appreciate watching the pig and dragon play chess. Over time they would play chess again and again, and over time the pig began to beat the dragon at chess on his oversized board.

Now the farmer could have eaten Oinker. The dragon could have eaten the farmer, and Oinker could have been left alone but there is very little a good conversation can’t conquer.

Oinker grew old and, as pigs do not live overly long, Oinker passed on.

That day the dragon cried over Oinkers grave with the farmer burying his head in tears in the scales of the beast. They held each other over Oinker’s grave and they never fought again.

The farmer grew even older and one day the farmer passed away in peaceful sleep as old men do. The dragon wept over the farmer’s grave. He was his last opponent at chess and over the years and games they had talked, and they had found one another to be dear friends.

Now a dragon, unlike the rest of all of earth’s other beings, does not age. So in remembrance of his dear friends the dragon took to caring for the farm. The dragon tended the crops and fed the cows and never ate another animal ever again.

The dragon had once been a feared beast, but now thanks to the words of Oinker and the farmer, had become a noble monster.

The dragon never stopped talking to the pigs on the farm and, one day, the dragon leaned in to the pig pen to wish them a good morning, and one of the young little piglets said a bright, oinky “Hello!”

Then the dragon knew he had found someone else to play at chess, and that he had someone to tell all about his old friends, the farmer , and, of course, the very intelligent, noble little pig Oinker after which he had been named.

The End