If 4H Rewrote Charlotte's Web
Wilbur's eyes filled with tears as he looked up at his family. He had been sure that his beloved Fern would save him. And he would have bet his life that Zuckerman would never sell him for slaughter. Yet, here he was at the country fair with a price tag on his pen.
Zuckerman looked over to Fern and said, "Be brave little one. We need to make a profit off this famous pig before people lose interest. He is only a pig. And it is our right to do as we please to him. Don't worry, his death will be quick and painless."
"Can death really be quick and painless?" asked a slightly comforted Fern.
Not wanting to lie, Zuckerman adjusted his story, "Well, no. Quite often the attempts at slaughter are botched and the pig will flop about in extreme pain and suffering requiring an unskilled worker to try and finish him off as he twist and turns in terror. But, eventually, he will be dead and no longer in pain. And we will have the money in our pockets all the same."
Fern's eyes filled with tears and she trembled. But, not wanting to disappoint Mr. Zuckerman and her parents, she pushed through and boldly turned to the highest bidder with a forced smile and said, "Enjoy your Holiday Ham. I bet Wilbur will make some great bacon."
And something inside her snapped. She no longer felt compassion or love for animals. Instead, they were mere commodities to be bought and sold. And instead, she began worrying about plants and the pain they must feel. Fern couldn't bear to think of a law being mown without shuttering.
Zuckerman smiled, patted Fern on the back, and whispered in her ear, "You are one of us now. Congratulations. Next year will be a breeze. Now kill that damn spelling spider. Those things are creepy."
Fern reached up a squished Charlotte, and had already come up with a dozen justifications for why Charlotte's life didn't matter. She let slip a wicked grin... she had become an adult.