I’ve been doing triage on some of Thistle’s stuffed toys lately. This trio of squeaky chipmunks live in a plush log. We hide treats inside and she has to remove the toys to get at them. When she was a puppy, she would have destroyed this toy in short order, but now that she’s a mature lady of nine, she just nibbles at it.

Seeing these little guys lined up with their missing hind quarters reminded me of a mountain story I’ve heard more than once. I think it sums up the wit and the practicality of Appalachia. It’s about a three-legged pig . . . brace yourself.

A fella stopped off to visit some friends he hadn’t seen in a while. As they were catching up on all the news of their kin, a three-legged pig walked by in the yard. The visitor commented on how unusual it was to see a pig missing a hind leg.

“That there is the world’s best pig,” said his friend. “He saved the whole family when the house caught fire. He run inside squealing and carrying on, woke us up, and we all got out safe. Saved the house, too.”

The first fella was duly impressed. “That’s amazing. Did he lose the leg in the fire?”

“Naw, pig that good you can’t eat all at once.”