Science Education Programs

The Parable of the Swineherd

 

Listen ye to yet another parable: For the kingdom of education is like a lord of the manor who was disenchanted with the level of pork production.

"And the fair Lord of the manor bestowed upon the farmer the title of swineherd. And with your new title," sayeth the Lord, "comes your challenge of a lifetime."

"My good serf," the Lord sayeth, "raise all of my pigs from farrowing to market so that they all become 215 lbs. in six months, are cholesterol free, and their ears are worthy of becoming silk purses."

"You will need to address all of their needs, personally."

"My good swineherd, you will design the most nutritious and growth promoting diet. It must match each piglet's needs. You will organically raise and harvest the most nutritious corn - no pesticides, no fertilizer, no harmful contaminants, - no wasteful high energy technology. It is your responsibility to acquire or manufacture all needed supplements. Of course, your diet will meet or exceed the Government Extension Service Guidelines."

"In addition, it is your job to make the facilities the most perfect environment for growth. The proper lighting, heating, bedding, stimulation, and sanitation is a must."

"My good and faithful servant you must provide exercise to keep muscle tone tops in order to provide a grade A product. Walk the piglets if need be, as their individual needs dictate."

"You are responsible for preventing crowding, stressful conditions, piggish fighting or any other detrimental psychological or behavioral disorders."

"Oh, by the way, the pigs all have to be fully finished, together, by June to meet the market high."

"As you well know, with your newly acquired title of swineherd goes the requirement for continued professional growth. You can pick up the needed knowledge to keep abreast of new developments in the evenings or weekends, at modest cost to you."

"That is your do or die challenge my good swineherd."

Of course, there's nothing cuter than a pig. Being only somewhat elated by the promotion to swineherd from farmer, the newly crowned swineherd couldn't decide whether to thank the master or cry. Finally, the swineherd's lips managed to form a question, "How many pigs will I have as my charge sire?"

"As many as can be stuffed into the hog house," was the reply. "But, in any event, not less than 120 my good swineherd."

"What role will the sow have sire?"

"None," was he reply from his lordship.

"Well then, what responsibility will the pigs have sire?"

"None. But they may eat your food, if they like it."

"My Lord," inquires the swineherd, "what resources does your humble servant have at hand for needed supplies, equipment, utilities, and fuel?"

"The King holds the purse strings, my fine servant," explained the Lord. "And the King's men will not provide price supports. I have nothing. Pigs are selling at only $38 per 100 weight. Do with what you have."

The swineherd tries for support again for his difficult mission, "My generous Lord, how many laborers will I have to complete this important challenge?"

And the Lord of the Manor says, "You may take all of your current helpers and sub servants to your task."

"But my Lord," deplores the swineherd, "There is only me."

"So be it," replies the Lord.

In final desperation, the swineherd asks, "Who will judge my success, my all knowing Lord?"

"The slaughter house will report to me the condition of the fruits of your labor my good swineherd. You need only to worry."

And so the last will be first, and the first will be last.

And that night the former farmer snuck off in the dark and became a prosperous Wall Street commodities broker specializing in pork bellies. Go ye and do likewise.