Once-upon-a-time, there was a
farmer named Fred, who owned a pig. The pig's name was
Edwina, and she weighed about twelve hundred pounds. Fred
was very proud of her. Everywhere he went, he brought
Edwina along. People passing him along the sidewalk would
say good morning and comment on how beautiful Edwina was.
Fred would smile and raise his hat good morning.
By the time of the spring fair,
she weighed in at slightly over one thousand, five
hundred pounds. When word spread that there was a pig at
the spring fair that weighed one-thousand pounds, people
came from all over the tri-state area. Someone even gave
Fred a hundred dollars for the right to sell Edwina
T-shirts and baseball caps.
Crowds gathered in front of her
pen. People pointed cameras and flashes at her. On the
third day of the fair, a television crew came down to do
a story for the five o'clock news. Fred couldn't have
Even after the fair was over,
and Edwina was in her own pen, the people still drove up
every morning to see Edwina and have their picture taken
Every day she seemed to get
bigger and bigger. News crews camped outside Fred's house
so they could give up to the minute coverage on the ever
growing pig. One of the news crews arranged to have a
scale brought down so they could weigh her.
One day a group of government
officials came by to see the pig. They took blood
samples, soil samples, air samples, groundwater samples.
They asked Fred all sorts of questions. How old was she?
Where did he get her? Where are the rest of the litter?
What did she eat?
The next day the government
officials declared the area of Fred's farm to be off
limits to the public. The crowds were restrained at the
entrance to the driveway. There were scientists all over
the farm taking measurements, while men in dark suits
with sunglasses sat in the kitchen asking Fred the same
questions over and over, and asking if there was
something, just something that he was forgetting.
Helicopters landed from time to time, and people with
walkie-talkies got out and gave orders to the other
anonymous government officials. Soldiers patrolled the
area to keep unauthorized people away from the area.
For days, these anonymous
soldiers, scientists and government officials hurried
frantically around, and Edwina grew larger and larger.
She began to grow not only wider and wider, but taller
and taller. She grew until she was taller than the trees,
until she could look down and see the crowds that had
formed on the edge of the restricted area. She grew
taller, and the people on the ground grew smaller and
One morning a scientist sat Fred
down to explain to him what was going to happen. Fred
couldn't understand why the scientist seemed so uneasy.
The scientist looked him in the eyes and told him that
Edwina was simply going to keep growing larger and
larger. Eventually she would become so large that she
would affect the rotation of the Earth. She would develop
her gravitational field. At first she would attract small
asteroids, and then moons and small planets. She would
pull the sun and the rest of the solar system toward the
earth. Eventually she would become so large and so dense
that even light would not be able to escape her
gravitational field. Once things reached that stage all
of matter in the known universe would begin to draw in on
itself until it reached critical mass and the next big
bang occurred. This, they believed would happen in just a
few short years. Fred looked at the scientist and asked
him if he thought there was still time to move.