Today’s post isn’t news; it’s exactly 60 years old this month. But because of the blog’s name, it gets a lot of hits from people looking for E.B. White’s essay “Death of a Pig,” the forerunner of his children’s book Charlotte’s Web. It is rightfully held up as a example of how a writer doesn’t have to use flowery language to convey personality.
The opening paragraph:
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig.
Anyway, I recently dug up a link to the full text for a class and offer it up — and implore you to read it. 60 years old and it’s still beautiful prose.