Poor Wilbur was dazed and frightened by this hullabaloo. He didn’t like being the center of all this fuss. He tried to follow the instructions his friends were giving him, but he couldn’t run downhill and uphill at the same time, and he couldn’t turn and twist when he was jumping and dancing, and he was crying so hard he could barely see anything that was happening. After all, Wilbur was a very young pig – not much more than a baby, really. He wished Fern were here to take him in her arms and comfort him. When he looked up and saw Mr Zuckerman stand-ing quite close to him, holding a pail of warm slops, he felt relieved. He lifted his nose and sniffed. The smell was delicious – warm milk, potato skins, wheat middlings, toasted corn flakes, and a popover left from the Zuckermans’ breakfast. ‘Come, pig!’ said Mr Zuckerman, tapping the pail. ‘Come, pig! Wilbur took a step towards the pail. ‘No-no-no!’ said the goose. ‘It’s the old pail trick’ Wilbur. Don’t fall for it, don’t fall for it! He’s trying to lure you back into the capitivity-ivity. He’s appealing to your stomach.’ Wilbur didn’t care. The food smelled appetizing. He took another step towards the pail. ‘Pig, Pig!’ said Mr Zuckerman in a kind voice, and began walking slowly towards the barnyard, looking all about him innocently, as if he didn’t know that a little white pig was following along behind him. ‘You’ll be sorry-sorry-sorry,’ called the goose. Wilbur didn’t care. He kept walking towards the pail of slops. ‘You’ll miss your freedom,’ honked the goose.
‘An hour of freedom is worth a barrel of slops.’ Wilbur didn’t care. When Mr Zuckerman reached the pigpen, he climbed over the fence and poured the slops into the trough. Then he pulled the loose board away from the fence, so that there was a wide hole for Wilbur to walk through’ ‘Reconsider, reconsider!’ cried the goose. Wilbur paid no attention. He stepped through the fence into his yard. He walked to the trough and took a long drink of slops, sucking in the milk hungrily and chewing the popover. It was good to be home again. While Wilbur ate, Lurvy fetched a hammer and some eight-penny nails and nailed the board in place. Then he and Mr Zuckerman leaned lazily on the fence and Mr Zuckerman scratched Wilbur’s back with a stick. ‘He’s quite a pig,’ said Lurvy. ‘Yes, he’ll make a good pig,’ said Mr Zuckerman. Wilbur heard the words of praise. He felt the warm milk inside his stomach. He felt the pleasant rubbing of the sticks along his itchy back. He felt peaceful and happy and sleepy. This had been a tiring afternoon. It was still only about four o’clock but Wilbur was ready for bed. ‘I’m really too young to go out into the world alone,’ he thought as he lay down.