"It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend . . ."
Fern Arable, eight year old farm girl, stops her father from killing a piglet who has been labeled the runt of the litter. She names the piglet Wilbur and nurses him from the bottle, surrounding him with her love. When Wilbur is able to eat on his own, they sell him to Fern's uncle Mr. Zuckerman, who lives near by. Soon Wilbur finds himself in a barn full of animals and scents of straw, manure, and slops. The only thing missing - is a true friend.
That's how a great bond of friendship begins between Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. With Christmas time approaching, Charlotte comes up with a plan to save Wilbur from the mean and cold-hearted slaughter of turning him into the bacon. To persuade Mr. & Mrs. Zuckerman that Wilbur is not an ordinary pig and needs to be spared, Chralotte devotes all her time and strength to weaving words into her web. One morning she presents the words "Some Pig" in her web in the top corner of the barn's doorway. A hurdle of people came to see this miracle, a sign from above, the miracle nobody can explain. That's how a Wilbur becomes an attraction of the state, a famous Zuckerman's pig.
Wilbur is not in danger anymore, thanks to Charlotte. But the spider herself is not into loud celebrations - she grows weaker and weaker with each following day. On the day of the Fair, she gets her last strength to accompany her friend on his special trip. Among the cheer of the crowd on the Fair's Grounds, Charlotte quietly makes an egg sac and passes it onto Wilbur's care, quietly staying behind herself: "After all, what is a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while , we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that." Wilbur guards her eggs in the barn until her babies are born in the spring, and while most of them fly away, three baby spiders stay behind and become his friends. He's able to guide them the way Charlotte guided him, which brings a wonderful sense of continuity and satisfaction.
In this tender story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us of the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things. But above all, it is a powerful story of friendship - deeply moving and superbly written - a true, timeless classic.
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