"Father! Father! The piglets are coming! The piglets are coming!"
"Oh, no. Not again. Quick boy, fetch my gun! Go!" he instructed his son as he hastily threw the napkin down over his plate. "Why do they always come at night?" he wondered.
No sooner had the boy brought him his weapon when he heard them at the door.
"Coming!" he said as he quickly scanned the contents of his tiny shack. Everything seemed to be in order--
"Coming!" he called out again as he went to open the door.
"Coming!" he said for a third time as he opened the door to greet his visitors. "Good eve--" began the man until he saw what lay before him. Good Lord, he thought, there must be three score or more of them as he looked out into the dead-eyed stare of pork.
"Good evening, Farmer John." spoke the pig in the clipped guttural tones of his kind.
"Good evening, sir." responded the man, "You honour me with your presence."
"Do you always greet your honoured guests in this manner?" said the pig as he gestured towards the weapon in Farmer John's hands.
"No, sir. It's just that it's so late. You never know--"
"Do not presume to know what I know!" shouted the pig "Now kindly stowe your weapon!"
"I'd rather not, sir." said John. In the silence that followed the farmer was left to contemplate the full wrath of this pig's porcine rage. One misstep and he would surely be doomed. "It is my right." he asserted weakly.
Very well then," granted the pig "we wish to ask you a few questions. May we come in?"
"Aye." said John as he bade them entrance. However, due to the limited dimensions of his dwelling, only twenty of his pig-oppressors were able to accompany their leader.
"As you know, the King is worried because his son, the heir apparent, has been missing for a fortnight. After an extensive investigation we've discovered that he was last seen in the vicinity of this hovel. Your hovel. What say you, Farmer John?" inquired the pig.
"I know nothing of Prince Reginald, my lord." he said nervously
"Faugh! you ex--" began the pig as he noticed John's eyes stray towards the dinner table before he quickly continued "Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't realize that we were interrupting your supper. How inconsiderate of us." he said as he advanced towards the table.
"Fret not, lord." spoke John. Worried now.
"Nonsense. We can conduct this business at a later date. We will leave you to eat in peace. What are you having for supper, if I may be so bold?"
"Salad, sir." replied the farmer.
"Salad? Excellent!" commented the pig as he scrutinized the table "What a fine meal you've prepared. What kind of salad is this?" as he gestured towards the serving bowl.
"Romaine, lord" answered John.
"I see, and what kind of dressing have you chosen?" asked the pig as he removed the napkin covering Farmer John's plate.
"Oil and vinegar."
"And these? What are these?" inquired the pig dangerously.
"They don't look like croutons."
"I assure you--"
"LIAR!" exclaimed the pig. "THOSE AREN'T CROUTONS! THEY'RE BACON BITS! YOU HAVE MURDERED AND MUTILATED THE KING'S HEIR AND YOU ARE NOW ATTEMPTING TO INGEST THE EVIDENCE OF YOUR CRIME!"
"LIAR! BY THE CLOVEN HOOVES OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, I CHARGE THEE WITH THE MURDER OF REGINALD HOGSWORTH THE THIRD!"
"It was self defense!" cried John.
"NO MORE LIES! YOU SHALL PAY FOR THIS CRIME IN KIND! AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A SNOUT FOR A SNOUT! TAKE THE BOY!" shouted the pig.
"NOOOOOO!" screamed John and faster than thought he wrestled the boy away from his ham-fisted assailants and placed the barrel of his gun against the boy's head. More calmly than he thought was possible he said "I will kill him myself before I allow you to take him!"
The pig considered his options and decided, "So be it."
Every ounce of John's will was focused on his index finger, trying to make it move. It was a simple plan really: Breathe and squeeze. Kill the boy. Charge the swine and die fighting. Except--
"I can't!" cried John as he slumped to the floor and dropped his gun and said "I can't kill my only son!" with tears of shame running uncontrollably down his face.
"Humans." muttered the pig before spitting upon the floor of the hovel.
And they took the boy. The last thing that John saw that evening, before taking his own life, was the gentle bobbing of their curly little tails as they disappeared into the night.