The Wild and Free Pigs
of the Okefenokee Swamp
Some years ago, about 1900, an old trapper from North Dakota hitched
up some horses to his Studebaker wagon, packed a few possessions
-- especially his traps -- and drove south. Several weeks later
he stopped in a small town just north of the Okefenokee Swamp
in Georgia. It was a Saturday morning -- a lazy day -- when he
walked into the general store. Sitting around the pot-bellied
stove were seven or eight of the town's local citizens.
The traveler spoke. "Gentlemen, could you direct me to the
Okefenokee Swamp?" Some of the oldtimers looked at him like
he was crazy. "You must be a stranger in these parts,"
they said. "I am. I'm from North Dakota," said the stranger.
"In the Okefenokee Swamp are thousands of wild hogs."
one old man explained. "A man who goes into the swamp by
himself asks to die!" He lifted up his leg. "I lost
half my leg here, to the pigs of the swamp." Another old
fellow said, "Look at the cuts on me; look at my arm bit
off! Those pigs have been free since the Revolution, eating snakes
and rooting out roots and fending for themselves for over a hundred
years. They're wild and they're dangerous. You can't trap them.
No man dare go into the swamp by himself." Every man nodded
his head in agreement.
The old trapper said, "Thank you so much for the warning.
Now could you direct me to the swamp?" They said, "Well,
yeah, it's due south -- straight down the road." But they
begged the stranger not to go, because they knew he'd meet a terrible
fate. He said, "Sell me ten sacks of corn, and help me load
it in the wagon." And they did. Then the old trapper bid
them farewell and drove on down the road. The townsfolk thought
they'd never see him again. Two weeks later the man came back.
He pulled up to the general store, got down off the wagon, walked
in and bought ten more sacks of corn. After loading it up he went
back down the road toward the swamp.
Two weeks later he returned and again bought ten sacks of corn.
This went on for a month. And then two months, and three. Every
week or two the old trapper would come into town on a Saturday
morning, load up ten sacks of corn, and drive off south into the
swamp. The stranger soon became a legend in the little village
and the subject of much speculation. People wondered what kind
of devil had possessed this man, that he could go into the Okefenokee
by himself and not be consumed by the wild and free hogs.
One morning the man came into town as usual. Everyone thought
he wanted more corn. He got off the wagon and went into the store
where the usual group of men were gathered around the stove. He
took off his gloves. "Gentlemen," he said, "I need
to hire about ten or fifteen wagons. I need twenty or thirty men.
I have six thousand hogs out in the swamp, penned up, and they're
all hungry. I've got to get them to market right away." "You've
WHAT in the swamp?" asked the storekeeper, incredulously.
"I have six thousand hogs penned up. They haven't eaten for
two or three days, and they'll starve if I don't get back there
to feed and take care of them."
One of the oldtimers said, "You mean you've captured the
wild hogs of the Okefenokee?" "That's right." "How
did you do that? What did you do?" the men urged, breathlessly.
One of them exclaimed, "But I lost my arm!" "I
lost my brother!" cried another. "I lost my leg to those
wild boars!" chimed a third. The trapper said, "Well,
the first week I went in there they were wild all right. They
hid in the undergrowth and wouldn't come out. I dared not get
off the wagon. So I spread corn along behind the wagon. Every
day I'd spread a sack of corn. The old pigs would have nothing
to do with it."
"But the younger pigs decided that it was easier to eat free
corn than it was to root out roots and catch snakes. So the very
young began to eat the corn first. I did this every day. Pretty
soon, even the old pigs decided that it was easier to eat free
corn. After all, they were all free; they were not penned up.
They could run off in any direction they wanted at any time."
"The next thing was to get them used to eating in the same
place all the time. So I selected a clearing, and I started putting
the corn in the clearing. At first they wouldn't come to the clearing.
It was too far. It was too open. It was a nuisance to them."
"But the very young decided that it was easier to take the
corn in the clearing than it was to root out roots and catch their
own snakes. And not long thereafter, the older pigs also decided
that it was easier to come to the clearing every day."
"And so the pigs learned to come to the clearing every day
to get their free corn. They could still subsidize their diet
with roots and snakes and whatever else they wanted. After all,
they were all free. They could run in any direction at any time.
There were no bounds upon them." "The next step was
to get them used to fence posts. So I put fence posts all the
way around the clearing. I put them in the underbrush so that
they wouldn't get suspicious or upset. After all, they were just
sticks sticking up out of the ground, like the trees and the brush.
The corn was there every day. It was easy to walk in between the
posts, get the corn, and walk back out."
"This went on for a week or two. Shortly they became very
used to walking into the clearing, getting the free corn, and
walking back out through the fence posts." "The next
step was to put one rail down at the bottom. I also left a few
openings, so that the older, fatter pigs could walk through the
openings and the younger pigs could easily jump over just one
rail. After all, it was no real threat to their freedom or independence.
They could always jump over the rail and flee in any direction
at any time."
"Now I decided that I wouldn't feed them every day. I began
to feed them every other day. On the days I didn't feed them the
pigs still gathered in the clearing. They squealed, and they grunted,
and they begged and pleaded with me to feed them. But I only fed
them every other day. And I put a second rail around the posts."
"Now the pigs became more and more desperate for food. Because
now they were no longer used to going out and digging their own
roots and finding their own food. They now needed me. They needed
my corn every other day. So I trained them that I would feed them
every day if they came in through a gate. And I put up a third
rail around the fence. But it was still no great threat to their
freedom, because there were several gates and they could run in
and out at will."
"Finally I put up the fourth rail. Then I closed all the
gates but one, and I fed them very, very well. Yesterday I closed
the last gate. And today I need you to help me take these pigs
to market." -- end of story -- The price of free corn The
allegory of the pigs has a serious moral lesson. This story is
about federal money being used to bait, trap and enslave a once
free and independent people. Federal welfare, in its myriad forms,
has reduced not only individuals to a state of dependency. State
and local governments are also on the fast track to elimination,
due to their functions being subverted by the command and control
structures of federal "revenue sharing" programs.
Moral of this story: "Just say NO
to federal corn." The bacon you save may be your own.