WHEN it cum to raisin' hogs, I don't s'pose thar wuz ever enybody in Punkin Centre that had quite so much trouble as Jim Lawson. One fall Jim had a right likely bunch of shoats, but somehow or other he couldn't git 'em fat, it jist seemed like the more he fed 'em the poorer they got, and Jim he wuz jist about worried clar down to a shadder. He kept givin' them hogs medecin' and feedin' of 'em everything he could think on, but it wan't no use; every day or so one of 'em would lay down and die. All the neighbors would cum and lean over the fence, and talk to Jim, and give him advice, but somehow them hogs jist kept on a-dyin', and nobody could see what wuz alin' of 'em, 'til one day Jim cum over to Ezra Hoskins's store, and he looked as tickled as though he'd found a dollar, and he sed: "I want you all to cum over to my place; I've found out what's alin' them hogs." Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Wall, what is it, Jim?" and Jim sed: "Wall, you see the ground over in my hog lot is purty soft, and when it rains it gits right smart muddy, and the mud gits on them hogs' tails, and that mud it gits more mud, and finally they git so much mud on their tails that it draws their skin so tight that they can't shet their eyes, and them hogs air jist a-dyin' fer the want of sleep."
Wall, the followin' winter Jim had his hogs all fat and ready fer markit, and he jist conclooded he'd drive 'em to Concord. Wall, he started out, and when he'd drov 'em two whole days he met old Jabez Whitaker. Jabe sed: "Whar you goin' with your hogs, Jim?" Jim sed: "Goin' to Concord, Jabez." Jabez sed "Wall, now, I want to know. That's what cums from not readin' the papers. Why, Jim, they've got more hogs up Concord way than they know what to do with. Lige Willit took his hogs up thar, and Eben Sprosby took his'n, and Concord's jist chuck full of hogs, and so consequintly the markit's away down in Concord. But the paper sez it's good in Manchester, and you'd make money, Jim, by goin' thar." So Jim shifted his chew of terbacker over to the northeast, and sed: "Wall, boys, I calculate we'll hav to go to Manchester, so jist head the hogs off and turn them round." Wall, they druv them hogs 'bout three days towards Manchester, and jist 'bout when they wuz gittin' thar, along cum Caleb Skinner, and he sed: "Wall, thunder and fish-hooks, whar be you a-goin', Jim." And Jim sed: "As near as he could figure it out from his present bearin's, he wuz most likely goin' to Manchester." And Caleb sed: "What fer?" Jim sed: "Didn't know exactly what all he wuz goin' fer, but if he ever got thar, he'd most likely sell his hogs." And Caleb sed: "Wall, your goin' to the wrong town. Manchester has got a quarantine agin' any more hogs comin' in, 'cos what hogs they is thar has all got colery, and you'd better go to Concord. Besides the paper says markit is purty well up in Concord." Wall, Jim sed a good many things that wouldn't sound good at a prayer meetin', and then he sed: "Wall, boys, gess we'll start back fer Concord, so turn round." Wall, they went along 'bout two days, and them poor hogs couldn't stand it no longer 'cos they wuz jist clean tuckered out, so Jim had to sell 'em to Josiah Martin fer what he could git, 'cos it wuz jist right at Josiah's place whar the hogs gin out, and thar wan't no way of moovin' them from thar fer some time to cum.
Wall, along 'bout two weeks after that we wuz all over to Ezra Hoskins's store, and some one sed: "Jim, you didn't do very well with your hogs this year, did you?" And Jim sed: "Oh, I don't know; that's jist owin' to how you look at it. I never caught up to that blamed markit, but I had the society of the hogs fer two weeks."