“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
I turned and ran to the center of the yard. With my ears back and every muscle straining, I ran as fast as I could toward the fence.
And then I jumped.
I jumped with everything I had, and I was ﬂying. Through the air, over the fence, and down in the cow ﬁeld I landed.
I ran toward the burning barn and Spots.
If I could just bark loud enough, perhaps I could make Spots run around the burning hay and out to the safety of the ﬁeld. I barked and barked but Spots was so afraid that he couldn’t move.
I even ran inside the barn and tried snapping at his legs to make him go, but he just stood there with his eyes wide staring at the ﬁre and mooing with a fearful sound.
Soon the ﬁre would be bigger and there would be no way past it.
Suddenly I heard a loud squeaking sound from the fence, and there sat Marvin on top of a fence post with his rope in his little hands.
“I found a use for the rope!” he oinked as loud as he could.
That little rascal had tied a loop in the end of the rope! It would be perfect for me to throw over Spots and pull him out of the barn.
I ran and grabbed the rope from Marvin with my teeth, ran back into the barn and slung it with all my might toward Spots head.
The loop on that rope landed right around his neck, just as if an invisible hand was guiding it.
I grabbed the other end of the rope with my teeth and pulled as hard as I could. It was just like playing “tug the rope” with Brother.
Slowly Spots legs began to move, and then faster as I led him out into the ﬁeld, away from the ﬁre and to his mama and daddy.
“Thank you, Jake” the daddy bull said with his deep voice in perfect pig language. And then a smaller voice spoke in pig.
“Th, Th, Thank you Jake. You saved my life.”
Spots could talk!
The siren from the ﬁre truck ﬁlled the air as the ﬁremen pulled up in front of the ﬁeld.
“You’re very welcome,” I said. “I’ve got to go” I oinked back over my shoulder as I ran and jumped the fence back into my yard.
Marvin scurried back to his branch pile and I ran behind the house and around to the front porch before anybody could see me.
As I ran up on the front porch, Mama and Daddy were standing there watching the ﬁremen stretch out their ﬁre hoses to put out the ﬁre in the barn.
“Jake, where have you been?” Mama said.
“You are soaked to the skin. I can’t believe that you’ve been out wandering around the yard in this storm. We’ve been calling and calling. Your Daddy and I were starting to get worried about you.”
Mama went inside and came back out on the porch with a towel to dry me off.
“That’s OK Mama. I’m all right. You don’t have to worry about me,” I oinked and grunted, but as usual she couldn’t understand the pig sounds I was making.
Dad sat in his rocker on the porch while Mom and I watched the ﬁremen put out the ﬁre. I gave an occasional bark just to let the ﬁremen know that I was there and keeping everybody safe.
The rain had stopped, and Mama walked out to talk to one of the ﬁremen.
I overheard him say that it sure was good luck that none of those cows were in that barn when the ﬁre started.
They believed that the lightning strike had scared the cows out into the ﬁeld before the hay caught ﬁre.
But they couldn’t understand how that rope got around the calf’s neck. The knot that was tied in the rope was like none they had ever seen before.
When I heard that, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I guess they had never seen a knot tied by possum hands.
Marvin and I decided that it might be best if Mom and Dad didn’t know just yet that I could jump over the fence.
There was an unspoken rule that I should never go outside of the yard unless I was on a leash and with one of them.
I would never disobey Mom or Dad unless it was a matter of life and death, and in that case I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. But I just didn’t want to worry them.
The mama cow pulled the rope off of Spots the next day, and the daddy bull gave it back to Marvin.
Marvin and the cows wanted to have some sort of ceremony and give me an award, but I just didn’t feel right about it. They kept saying that I was a hero, but I didn’t think of myself that way.
I know how scared I was, and it was only the love of God that took away the fear from my heart, just like Daddy had read in the Bible.
If any thanks should be given, it should be given to the Creator. He is the One who takes away the fear from our heart and helps us to be brave when we need to be.
The cows insisted on doing something to show their appreciation, so after some men came to repair their barn and replace their food, they gave me the best thing they had to offer.
The next morning, piled neatly on my side of the fence where the cows had dropped it, was my own small stack of hay.
I humbly accepted this wonderful gift from some very thankful parents, and Marvin ended up having a very soft bed to sleep on.
Marvin, Spots, and I spent the rest of that spring playing and chasing butterﬂies. We would lie under the cool shade of a tree by the fence and laugh and talk and have the very best of times.
And something strange seemed to have happened in each of us after that terrible night.
Maybe it was because of what we had all been through, but Spots was no longer afraid of making new friends, and Marvin was no longer afraid of coming out in the daytime.
Well, from then on when I would hear the rumble of distant thunder, I would just smile and know that everything was going to be all right.