Charlotte’s Web

by E.B. White

Excerpt from Chapter 1 “Before Breakfast”

Read by John Graves

Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors.
The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime.
Fern’s sneakers were sopping by the time she caught
up. with her father. “Please don’t kill it!” she sobbed. “It’s unfair.”
Mr. Arable stopped walking.
“Fern,” he said gently, “you will have to learn to
control yourself.”
“Control myself?” yelled F em. “This is a matter of
life and death, and you talk about controlling myself.”
Tears ran down her cheeks and she took hold of the ax
and tried to pull it out of her father’s hand.
“Fern,” said Mr. Arable, “I know more about raising
a litter of pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble.
Now run along!”
“But it’s unfair,” cried Fern. “The pig couldn’t help
being born small, could it? If I had been very small at
birth, would you have killed me?”
Mr. Arable smiled. “Certainly not,” he said, looking
down at his daughter with love. “But this is different.
A little girl is one thing, a little runty pig is another.”
“I see no difference,” replied Fern, still hanging on
to the ax. “This is the most terrible case of injustice I
ever heard of.”
A queer look came over John Arable’s face. He
seemed almost ready to cry himself.
“All right,” he said. “You go back to the house and
I will bring the runt when I come in. I’ll let you start
it on a bottle, like a baby. Then you’ll see what trouble
a pig can be.”