One day last summer - come to think of it it must have been more or less this time last year - I met a most remarkable man. I had been on my way to the annual pig fair in Brinsleyford, more to see the gypsies than anything. I was walking down the lane with my knapsack carrying my picnic on my back when a man in a three-cornered hat stepped out of a bush.
'Hullo,' he said.
'Hullo,' said I, 'who might you be sir?'
'I am Silas Kilmarnock, pig-fucker extraordinaire,' he replied.
'Golly,' I replied, 'I thought the last pig-fucker in these parts had been burned centuries ago.'
'Singed, merely,' quoth he with a cheery grin. 'Are you, er, on your way to the pig fair by any chance?'
'That I be,' I assented.
'Then could you, perhaps, run me a small errand there? For reasons too abstruse to go into I daren't show my face around there.'
'Can do, squire. What was it you wanted?'
'I, er-' Here my interlocutor bashfully looked down and started to kick at the dirt with the toe of his silver-buckled shoes. 'I was wondering if you could possibly procure a small pig for me? I have a most awful craving for a bacon sandwich.'
'Perhaps it would be simpler merely for me to buy you a bacon sandwich? There is a most excellent delicatessen.'
'No, no, I couldn't possibly ask you to do that. It would be much easier for you to bring me the pig and for me to butcher it here.'
Well, in less time than it takes to tell I had hied me to Brinsleyford and returned with a bonny young piglet. I presented it to my new friend and he took it eagerly and quickly retreated with it into the bushes where, I presume, he commenced to butcher it - at any rate, I heard the pig squealing like billy-o for quite some time.
'Need any help?' I called.
'No, no,' he muttered distractedly.
'Why do they call you pig-fucker?' I wondered aloud.
'It is an honorary title of no real significance,' he explained with a curious urgent tension in his voice.
'An archaic survival?'
'Precisely,' he grunted.
'Would you like a tomato with your sandwich?'
'Run along now, there's a good chap,' said this remarkable man.
I lay down against a tree chewing ruminatively on a piece of straw. Presently the pig fell silent and Silas emerged from the bushes with a contented air.
'That hit the spot,' he said with a handsome smile. 'Here, take this for your trouble.' He handed me a silver coin with the head of Brian Clough engraved upon it. 'Take care of it, for it has magical properties. If ever you are in trouble, rub it three times and spin it in the air, and I will be there to lend you my aid. Don't hesitate to use it, especially if the trouble you are in involves pigs in any way.'
And with that he disappeared in an instant, swirling his cloak over his head and then boarding the bus to Chippington.
I still keep the coin as a keepsake of my quaint adventure, but I have never seen Silas from that day to this. The story had a curious sequel, however, for two days later as I was traversing that same stretch of road I was accosted by a man in a red mackintosh who offered to trade me his sock-suspenders for a drink of my Vimto - but I wasn't born yesterday.