Gateway to the Classics: The Irish Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins
The Irish Twins by  Lucy Fitch Perkins

How They Sold the Pig

Although they had come so far, they were among the earliest at the Fair. People were hurrying to and fro, carrying all sorts of goods and arranging them for sale on counters in little stalls, around an open square in the center of the grounds.

Cattle were being driven to their pens, horses were being brushed and curried, sheep were bleating, cows were lowing, and even the hens and ducks added their noise to the concert. Diddy herself squealed with all her might.

Larry and Eileen had never seen so many people together before in all their lives.

They had to think very hard about the Secret in order not to forget everything but the beautiful things they saw in the different stalls.

There were vegetables and meats, and butter and eggs. There were hats and caps. There were crochet-work, and bed-quilts, and shawls with bright borders, spread out for people to see.

There were hawkers going about with trays of things to eat, pies and sweets, toffee and sugar-sticks. This made the Twins remember that they were dreadfully hungry after their long walk, but they did n't have anything to eat until quite a while after that, because they had so much else to do. They followed their Father to the corner where the pigs were. A man came to tell them where to put Diddy.

"You can talk with these two farmers," said Mr. McQueen. He brought the Twins forward. "It 's their pig."

Then Larry and Eileen told the man about finding Diddy in the bog, and that their Father had said they could have her for their own, and so they had come to the Fair to sell her.

"And whatever will you do with all the money?" asked the man.

The Twins almost  told! The Secret was right on the tip end of their tongues, but they clapped their hands over their mouths quickly, so it did n't get out.

The man laughed. "Anyway, it 's a fine pig, and you 've a right to get a good price for her," he said. And he gave them the very best pen of all for Diddy.

When she was safely in the pen, Eileen and Larry tied the red ribbon, which Eileen had brought in her pocket, to Diddy's ear and another to her tail. Diddy looked very gay.


When the Twins had had a bite to eat, they stood up before Diddy's pen, where the man told them to, and Diddy stood up on her hind legs with her front feet on the rail, and squealed. Larry and Eileen fed her with turnip-tops.

There were a great many people in the Fairgrounds by that time. They were laughing and talking, and looking at the things in the different booths. Every single one of them stopped to look at Diddy and the Twins, because the Twins were the very youngest farmers in the whole Fair.

Everybody was interested, but nobody offered to buy, and the Twins were getting discouraged when along came some farmers with ribbons in their hands. They were the Judges!

The Twins almost held their breath while the Judges looked Diddy over. Then the head man said, "That 's a very fine pig, and young. She is a thoroughbred. Wherever did you get her, Mr. McQueen?"

Mr. McQueen just said, "Ask them!" pointing to the Twins.

The Twins were very much scared to be talking to the Judges, but they told about the Tinkers and how they found Diddy in the bog, and the Judges nodded their heads and looked very wise, and finally the chief one said, "Faith, there 's not her equal in the whole Fair! She gets the blue ribbon, or I 'm no Judge."

All the other men said the same. Then they gave the blue ribbon to the Twins, and Eileen tied it on Diddy's other ear! Diddy did not seem to like being dressed up. She wiggled her ears and squealed.

Just then there was the gay sound of a horn. Tara, tara, tara!  it sang, and right into the middle of the Fairground drove a great tally-ho coach, with pretty young ladies and fine young gentlemen riding on top of it.

Everybody turned away from Diddy and the Twins to see this grand sight!

The footman jumped down and helped down the ladies, while the driver, in livery, stood beside the horses' heads with his hand on their bridles.

Then all the young gentlemen and ladies went about the Fair to see the sights.

" 'T is a grand party from the Castle," said Mr. McQueen to the Twins. "And sure, that 's the Earl's daughter, the Lady Kathleen herself, with the pink roses on her hat! I haven't seen a sight of her since she was a slip of a girl, the size of yourselves."

Lady Kathleen and her party came by just at that moment, and when she saw Diddy with her ribbons and the Twins beside her, the Lady Kathleen stopped.

The Twins could hardly take their eyes off her sweet face and her pretty dress, and the flowered hat, but she asked them all sorts of questions, and finally they found themselves telling her the story of how they found the pig.

"And what is your pig's name?" said Lady Kathleen.

"Sure, ma'am, it 's Deirdre, but we call her Diddy for short," Eileen answered.

All the young gentlemen and ladies laughed. The Twins did n't like to be laughed at—they were almost ready to cry.

"And why did you call her Deirdre?" asked Lady Kathleen.

"It was because of finding her in the bog all alone with herself, the same as Deirdre when she was a baby and found by the high King of Emain," Eileen explained.

"A very good reason, and it 's the finest story in Ireland," said Lady Kathleen. "I 'm glad you know it so well, and she is such a fine pig that I 'm going to buy her from you myself."

All the young ladies seemed to think this very funny, indeed. But Lady Kathleen did n't laugh. She called one of the footmen. He came running. "Do you see that this pig is sent to the Castle when the Fair is over," she said.

"I will, your Ladyship," said the footman.

Then Lady Kathleen took out her purse. "What is the price of your pig?" she said to the Twins.

They did n't know what to say, but the Judge, who was standing near, said, "She is a high-bred pig, your Ladyship, and worth all of three pounds."

"Three pounds it is, then," said the Lady Kathleen. She opened her purse and took out three golden sovereigns.

She gave them to the Twins and then almost before they found breath to say, "Thank you, ma'am," she and her gay company had gone on to another part of the Fair. The Judge made a mark on Diddy's back to show that she had been sold.


The Twins gave the three golden sovereigns to their Father to carry for them, and he put them in the most inside pocket he had, for safe keeping! Then while he stayed to sell his butter and eggs, and to do his buying, the Twins started out to see the Fair by themselves.

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