Charlie the Pig loved to play. He would wallow in his mud all day. But what he wanted more than anything was to play with all of the other animals.
For some reason, the goats and the cows, the sheep and the chickens, were all free to play together in the same field. But there he was, stuck behind a fence with his brother! Now, his brother was a lot of fun. But it just didn’t seem fair that all of the other animals got to hang out without them.
“Don’t worry about it,” his brother would say. “We are nice and cool here in our mud, and they are out in the hot sun with nothing but grass!”
“Maybe the grass feels nice,” Charlie replied.
His brother laughed. “But look at them! How can they have fun when they are so clean?”
Charlie nodded his head and splashed a little more mud over his back. Still, he wanted to find out what it was like on the other side of that fence.
One night, Charlie got his chance. The farmer left the gate to the pig pen unchained! Charlie waited until the farmer was in the house. Then, he hurried to the gate. He shoved his little snout between the bars and pushed. With a lot of grunting and a lot of shoving, he opened the big gate wide enough to get out. But where should he go?
First, he went to the chicken coop. But it was night, so all of the chickens were asleep in their nests. Then he went to the barn, but all of the cows and sheep were snoring away. Finally, he went to the old tree, but the goats were all asleep there, too!
Charlie decided to wait until morning and then surprise the other animals. They would be so excited!
In the morning though, Charlie didn’t get the response he expected. When the animals woke up, and all went out to the yard for breakfast, Charlie jumped out from behind the barn.
“Surprise! I’m not in the pigpen anymore! We can be friends!” Charlie called out. He squealed with delight.
But the other animals gasped and backed away.
“Ew!” said a sheep. “He’s so dirty!”
“Gross!” said a cow. “Why is he covered in mud?”
“Yuck!” screamed a mother hen to her chicks. “What a mess! Don’t pet that pig!”
And the animals all turned and left for the other side of the yard.
Charlie was so sad! He cried all the way back to the pig pen. But right before he got to the gate, the farmer’s son caught him.
“Hey, Charlie! What are you doing out?” The boy scooped up Charlie, mud and all. He took him to the side of the barn and washed him with the hose.
“I bet you were hot out here! The hose should cool you off.”
Soon Charlie was nice and clean! His soft pink skin looked nice in the sunlight. The farmer’s son laughed, and soon the two of them were playing in the field. Charlie had always dreamed of playing in the field, but he never knew what a good friend he would find there. The other animals watched jealously as Charlie played with the boy until it was time for lunch and Charlie went back to the pen.
As he relaxed in his cool mud, the animals approached the gate and asked him about playing with the boy. Charlie wasn’t sure if he wanted to talk to them at first, but soon they were all friends. It was the best day ever.