There are a lot of strange creatures on the farm and some of them are scary! When Sassy pants wanders into places she doesn't belong, she must learn how to tell the difference between dangerous, and different. Chapter One Bad News
Sassy Pants was hiding. She squeezed under the big blackberry bush at the very end of the lowest pasture on the farm. The bush was so big it lived on both sides of the fence at the same time. Sassy Pants lay in the soft black dirt beneath a covering of prickly vines, and tried to be very still and quiet. Because she was waiting for the big Boss Hog to pass by. But being very still wasn't easy. Every time she laid her snout down to wait, she could smell something good and delicious under the ground somewhere. So delicious, her nose—which was just right for digging—began to root and turn over the soil, looking for whatever that delicious thing was. She couldn't help it. Sassy Pants loved to dig. She even dreamed about digging. There was only one thing she liked better, and that was eating. So, finding something delicious to eat while she was digging was the most wonderful thing of all. So wonderful that it wasn't long before she forgot all about hiding and Boss Hog, and began to make happy snorting sounds every time she dug up another delicious blackberry root to munch on. That's why she almost jumped out of her skin when she heard a giant snort somewhere very close to her. Oh, no! The big Boss Hog was here! Sassy Pants froze like a statue and tried not to move. Not even when a tickling clump of dirt toppled off her nose. She stayed very still and quiet, peeking out from under the blackberry leaves as he went by. The Boss Hog was the biggest pig on the farm. He had huge fangs— called tusks—that curled up from his lower jaw. Sassy Pants had heard that he once tossed a wild stranger-dog high up into the air with those scary things, when he had sneaked in through a hole in the fence. He was the boss of all the pigs on the farm. He was the one who decided which pigs got to stay, and which ones had to go, when Farmer White came to separate their herd. There were a lot of pigs on the farm, and Boss Hog was everybody's dad. Sassy Pants did not know him very well, though, because she was the smallest pig in her litter. With too many brothers and sisters for one mom to feed, she had been taken to the Big House, where Farmer White's children had fed her, and spoiled her, and played with her like she was a people. Just like them. For a long time, Sassy Pants thought she was a people. Not a pig. And that's what started all the trouble. Sassy Pants had caused a lot of trouble on Farmer White's farm, and that's why they named her Sassy Pants. Most of those troubles got straightened out (along with her tail!) but she had to learn the hard way. Then she had to spend a lot of time trying to fix all the friendships she broke, and it was hard work. Because when you break something as special as a friendship, it isn't enough just to say you are sorry. Sometimes you have to make amends. Which is a fancy word she learned from a horse named, Old Clyde, that means doing more than just paying for the trouble you caused. It is making what is important to the one you hurt, important to you. It helps their heart trust you again. Now, she had made amends with almost everybody. Except her mama and the Boss Hog. What if he didn't accept her apology? Or, what if he already decided she was too much trouble and would have to be separated from the herd? What if he took one look at her, remembered all the bad things she did, and just tossed her up into the air the way he'd tossed that stranger-dog? Halfway to Waukon county (according to Sir Reggie, the father of all the lambs). Sassy Pants did not know where Waukon county was but she was pretty sure she didn't want to go there. So, she didn't say one word when the big Boss Hog passed by. Not even hello. Even though she knew better. In fact, she did not want to dig in his favorite pasture anymore, either. Instead, she decided to go dig in the pasture next to the walnut trees. One of the lambs had said something about little patches of late strawberries growing along the fence, over there. Sassy Pants loved strawberries so much; she ate the whole plant—the leaves and the roots, and everything. Besides that, only Old Clyde was over there right now, and he was friends with everybody. Even little runty pigs like Sassy Pants. He usually made her feel better when she felt bad. She knew she should have talked to Boss Hog but could not make herself do it! So, as soon as the Boss Hog was far enough away to care more about where he was going than where he had been, she took off at a trot in the opposite direction. She hurried along the fence line, making quick little furrows in the dirt whenever she smelled something delicious under the ground. Sometimes she found something good to munch on, and sometimes she didn't. Soon, she was making happy snorting sounds, again, and forgot all about her apologies to the big Boss Hog.
She did not forget about the Great Separation, though. She thought about that all the time. Because being separated meant she would have to leave the pigpen and go somewhere else. Somewhere far away from Farmer White's farm. She didn't want to leave the pigpen, now. No, she did not! But every morning that passed with the pigs being let out into the pastures to forage, instead of herded into the waiting pens that were specially made for separation day, she knew it would not be that day. That's how she knew the Great Separation was not today. So, there would be plenty of time to eat delicious strawberries. But she better hurry or someone else would find them first. She thought about all these things as she moved along the outer fence at a fast trot, hardly stopping anywhere in-between. “Sassy Pants,” said a deep voice from very high up. She froze like a statue. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”