Interview with Talking Animals #3: Wilbur and a Friend Worth its Weight in . . .Junk?

"Keep fit and don't lose your nerve"--Charlotte

“Keep fit and don’t lose your nerve”–Charlotte

Greetings! Maybe for today, Salutations! On this Labor Day weekend we come to the last of our summertime interviews where we’ve explored the wit and wisdom of talking animals in literature. We’ve talked with the Beavers from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Balaam’s Donkey from the Old Testament book of Numbers. Today, we welcome Wilbur from beloved classic Charlotte’s Web, along with his pal, Templeton.

Sonja: Here they come, now! Wilbur, I do hope you’ll be comfortable–I brought in some nice, clean straw for you–wait, is everything okay? You’re trembling!

Wilbur [looking around and visibly shaking]: I am just v-very excited to be here! You mentioned it’s a blog, but I don’t see it anyplace!

Sonja: You’re standing in it right now!

Wilbur [curly tail drooping just a bit]: Oh, I thought it would be delightfully oozy and sticky and cool.

Sonja: That’s a bog, not a blog. Where is Templeton? I thought he was coming, too.

Wilbur: Don’t mind him, he’s just nosing about for some trash to collect.

Sonja: Hopefully, he won’t find anything trashy here! But, moving along. First question, okay? When you first met Charlotte, you didn’t like her very much, did you? Why was that?

Wilbur [trembling again]: Ch-Charlotte, oh how I miss her! What a terrific friend. She was some spider, all right! But you’re right. At first, all I could see was her bloodthirsty ways–tying up her food in her web and all that. Still, she saved my life and was the best friend I’ve ever had.

Templeton [poking a nose through the straw]: Excuse me, pig, but you’d be bacon on a plate if it wasn’t for me. Don’t forget!

Wilbur [patting his stomach]: How can I ever forget? Who eats first from my trough every meal? You know I’m grateful for the risk you took to save me and get that last word for Charlotte, right before she, right before she. . . .

Sonja [kneeling down to put an arm around the sobbing pig]: Well, Templeton, since Wilbur is in no position to answer any more questions just yet, how about one for you? Why did you risk your life for Wilbur?

Templeton: You heard the pig! I get to eat from his trough every day, before he does, and as much as I want! And, you know, all that love and friendship and sacrifice floating around–I guess it wears off on a person weather they want it to or not!

Sonja: That’s an interesting point. Several times in the story, Charlotte writes a word in her web–Terrific, Some Pig, Radiant–and Wilbur, you didn’t always feel those things, right?

Wilbur [snuffling still, a bit, and blushing]: Not at all! I even told Charlotte that I wasn’t terrific, that “I’m just about average for a pig.” She wouldn’t listen. She said, “You’re terrific as far as I’m concerned. . . .You’re my best friend, and I think you’re sensational.” And you know, Sonja, when she said that, I started to feel terrific!

Templeton [gnawing on a scrap piece of paper he found under the straw]: You wouldn’t believe the way people started treating him, too! Clean straw instead of mud, better food scraps! And then, the best thing of all–they took him to the mecca of all food and junk heaps–the County Fair! Ahh, the glory of it all!

Wilbur: You know, when people start treating you like you’re really something, you start wanting to live up to the reputation. I didn’t want Charlotte to be disappointed. We all know that it was really Charlotte who was amazing! And then, she [sniff, sniff] died. I would have died in her place, you know.

Sonja: Sounds like you all learned what it is to be a true friend. Thank you for sharing your story with us here today! You have reminded me of someone else who is a true friend. I will close with that:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:12-15).

For friends new to this blog, I post an article on Sundays on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley Mouse, the tiniest character in my novel, Sophie’s Quest.

Notice: Wednesday’s Word is taking a hiatus for the summer. See you in the fall!

Image credit:

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
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