As I am frequently engaged in conversations regarding matters of great importance, at least to myself and to my friends, and even, I should say, some matters of deep triviality, I possess a certain level of familiarity with events on The Farm. As a result I am often asked such questions such as: Have you read those stories written about us? Are they suitable for anyone to read, whether young or old? What messages or themes do they convey, are they positive or inspiring?
As one might expect there is quite some interest in the stories about our lives among the residents here on The Farm. But having lived some of the events recorded in the books I most often mention the stories are mysteries and adventures with themes conveying the importance of friendship, courage, hope, and love. At least, this characterization is how many of us aspire to live. Although I am only a character and not the author, after collaborating for so long together and knowing him as closely as I do, I asked him once how he might characterize the chronicles of life on The Farm. In his reply he said only this: the stories embody everything one father wished to say to his young daughter on her birthday. When we first met, this was his intention in recording life on The Farm, to create a special gift of all he believed he had learned over the course of a lifetime, to give to his daughter so she could have it with her always.
To be more specific regarding the subtleties of the stories, I wish to offer a few examples. As my cohorts and I have always endeavored to uphold, there is a strong message of civility, and of being loving, caring and kind to each other. There are other, related themes: if you see suffering or injustice, be courageous and seek to bring things to right, regardless of your size or age. Move mountains to help a friend in need, because you can. Be curious, be persistent, be courageous, and there is nothing more powerful than love and a good heart.
As the author likes to say, books are magic. Tracing over some squiggly shapes on a page one can become absorbed in another world, perhaps in another time and place. Books with inspiring stories touching on the little truths about this world can add richness to our experience and help us learn to empathize with others, even if those others exist only in our imaginations.
I do hope I have been of help in providing a bit of an answer to the aforementioned questions. To conclude, I wish to suggest any story, whether real or only imagined, containing the themes mentioned above has the potential to fill a heart with a needed dose of hope or give one a reminder of what is truly important in life. Hope is the very thing which drives us onward when faced with the adversities of life. A hopeful or inspiring story can act just as that one kind word or action which has the power to turn someone’s dark day into light. As the ducks here on The Farm are rather too fond of reminding me, a poet in the author’s world named Emily Dickinson once wrote:
“Hope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all”
Alas, at times I wish she had written hope had four legs and fur. But still do I have hope, for there must be many poets capable of writing a similar sentiment and having a fine appreciation for pigs.