The wild herd numbered several dozen swine and had grown fat on the roots, nuts and berries the forest provided. The old peasant who lived near the forest looked upon the herd with hungry eyes and an even hungrier stomach. Many a night he would fall asleep in his izbah and dream of salt pork and pickled pig's knuckles, but every trap he set for the swine was for naught. The tuskers and sows, wise to the way of man, avoided his snares and pits and never allowed their young within rope range.
One evening after yet another meal of watery shchi and hard black bread, the farmer told his wife of his failed dream. “That's because they fear you,” his wife said. “You must win their trust.”
The next morning the farmer went to the edge of forest and dumped a bushel of spoiled cabbage and beets. Later that day a few piglets, emboldened by their youth, ventured out and ate what the farmer had offered. As the youngsters ate, the wary older swine hid behind the trees and watched.
The next day the farmer brought some rotted apples and potatoes and again the piglets ate. Within a week, all the swine gathered at the edge of the woods and awaited the farmer's food.
That evening the farmer installed a sturdy section of fence near the spot where he had placed the food. The swine were curious but saw no danger. Two days later, the farmer added another section and on the next day yet another. By the fourth day a gate-less corral circled the food. The pigs, enticed by the food still saw no threat.
On the fifth day the farmer added a gate and on the afternoon of the sixth, as the pigs were eating their fill, he closed it.
Excerpted from "Slogans: Our Children, Our Future."