A few years ago, right after I retired, the wife and I flew to New Zealand, rented a car, and spent three weeks touring both the North and South Islands. The flight there was quite an experience. We left LAX late at night, and after about fourteen hours in the air, arrived in Auckland early in the morning the same day. [That tricky old International dateline]. Arriving in Auckland, with my mind still groggy from a belly full of sleeping pills, we got into a rental car and drove 250 kilometers north to the Bay of Islands on the wrong side of the road. That was a trip. But we made it.
Rather than renting a camper van, we decided to stay at local Bed and Breakfasts along the way. And I’m glad we did. It was one of the highlights of our trip to meet Kiwi’s (That’s what New Zealanders call themselves) and stay in their homes. Also got a lot of good tips on what to see and which tours (like at Milford Sound) to take.
Some of the B & Bs were on small farms, where they raised sheep. In fact sheep outnumber Kiwis by a large margin in New Zealand. Most of our hosts were more than happy to show off their farms. But is was this one farm in particular that still stands out in my mind.
We stayed in Te Anau before our trip to Milford Sound; and incredibly beautiful fjord on the south western tip of the Southern Island. At this small farm, we stayed in a small cottage near the pasture where the owner kept his livestock. Amongst all the sheep were some goats, an old horse and a three-legged pig. Now I’ve seen three legged dogs before, and even a cat with three legs, but never a three legged pig.
At breakfast that morning in the owners home (good thing about B&Bs, breakfast is included) I couldn’t resist asking about that pig, but I didn’t want to offend our host. I almost got my ass kicked when I asked this one Kiwi at a Wellington hostile,“You sound like you’re from Australia”. Well them is fightin’ words over there, but what did I know, I was just a dumb American who thought all white folks down under there sounded the same, and were just a bunch of Englishmen who got thrown out of the country 200 years ago.
So I proceeded with caution and said, “that’s some pig you got out there.”
“Let me tell you about that pig”, said our host. “That pig saved my daughters life. She fell into the pond, and being too young to swim, almost drowned. But that pig ran into the water, grabbed her by the collar with his snout, and pulled her to safety.”
Wow, that was one hell of a pig. But three legs? Hoping for a little more info, I said, “What an animal, and only three legs.”
“Let me tell ya about that animal”, replied our host. “ he saved our whole household from a fire. A spark from the fireplace shot out onto a pillow nearby and started smoldering. We were all fast asleep at the time and totally unawares that a small fire was burning in the living-room. Well that pig ran into the house, woke us all up, and we were able put out the fire with a minimal amount of damage.
I couldn’t stand it any more and blurted it out,“Why does the pig only have three legs?”
“Let me tell you about that pig”, our host answered, “An animal like that, it just wouldn’t be proper to eat him all at once,”