Dolly caught herself chawing on the end of her braid again, and quick flicked it out of her mouth. If Mama saw it all pasted together from spit when she got home, well, last time Mama had threatened to chop her braids right off if it happened again, and Dolly believed she just might do it.
Dolly could smell the hogs almost as soon as she could see them, where they’d been rooting around under the apple trees all day while Pa and Uncle Sy cleaned out the barn. Dolly rattled the bag of beans in her pocket and the biggest one picked up his head. Hogs was smart, that was sure.
She swung open the old gate. Orange and green-white bits that grew on the gray wood crumbled off under her fingers. The hogs were big, near as big as she was, and she didn’t want to get too close. She tossed out a bean, and the biggest hog trotted over to the grass where it fell, the other ones hurrying along behind.
One of them must have found the bean, Dolly couldn’t tell which, but as soon as they lost interest in hunting she dropped another one just outside the gate. On they came, their fat, furry flanks shaking, the loose skin hanging beneath their jaws dangling just like old Mr. Crawford’s up the road. Dolly walked back toward the barn, dropping beans as she went. The dust cloud the hogs raised gleamed gold in the late sun, their grunts mixed with the first evening peeps of the toads in the canal.