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Profitable Wonders

Regulars | By James Le Fanu | August Issue


The whole hog

The pig has contributed more to human happiness and well-being, in diverse ways, than any other creature.  ‘During its lifetime the pig was an important member of the family,’ recalls Flora Thompson in her evocative Oxfordshire memoir, Lark Rise to Candleford. ‘Its health and condition were regularly reported on in letters to children away from home, together with news of their brothers and sisters.  ‘Male callers on Sunday came not to see the family but the pig, and would lounge with its owner against the pigsty door for an hour, scratching piggy’s back and praising his points.’ At that time, in late Victorian England, a quarter of rural households kept a cottage pig. Not to do so ‘was almost unthinkable’, observed a Buckinghamshire man, quoted in Robert Malcolmson’s classic The English Pig: A History. ‘To have a sty in the garden was thought as essential to the happiness of a...

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