Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Test Your Knowledge of Literature's Greatest Swine Flu Scares

Identify the work of literature in which each swine flu scare occurs:

A. A group of farm animals rebels against their human masters and takes over the farm. At first all the animals are considered equals, but soon the pigs emerge as the leaders of the collective. Over time the pigs adopt more and more human characteristics until finally they become indistinguishable from people. They enjoy wearing pants and drinking alcohol, but are surprised to discover that in the course of this transformation, they have somehow infected themselves with swine flu.

B. A young pig living on a farm befriends a barn spider. The spider repeatedly saves the pig from slaughter by using her web to display flattering words about him, such as “some pig,” “terrific,” and “radiant.” As the pig’s behavior grows erratic and he starts to show signs of disease, the spider’s messages change, with words like “infectious,” “quarantine,” and “H1N1” appearing in the web. These warnings go unheeded, and the pig is brought to a busy county fair, where he wins a prize. The spider also goes to the fair to weave additional warnings about the pig’s condition. She dies before she is able to do so, leaving hundreds of fairgoers at risk of infection.

C. A baby pig and a silly old bear go hunting heffalumps and woozles, but the expedition is cut short when the bear comes down with a sore throat. The bear characterizes this as a “bother,” suspecting that the piglet is to blame for his infection. They proceed to the nearby home of their friend, a rabbit, who ladles honey into the bear to soothe his throat. The bear does not object. When it is time to leave, the bear is so swollen from infection and the multiple pots of honey he’s consumed that he becomes stuck in the rabbit’s doorway, his top half outside, his bottom half inside. This becomes an issue for the rabbit when the bear develops diarrhea.

D. Several British schoolboys are stranded on a deserted island and quickly descend into savagery. Some of the boys hunt and kill a wild pig, and create a totem by placing the pig’s severed head on a stake driven into the ground. The pig’s head seems to exert a sinister influence over some of the boys, particularly when they start complaining of fever and body aches. Ironically, a boy named Piggy is the only one who doesn’t exhibit swine flu symptoms, because he has fallen off a cliff.

E. A heroic Greek warrior tries to sail home after a war, but is cursed by the gods with a deplorable sense of direction. Eventually he and his men find themselves on the island of a sorceress who infects half the crew with the rarest strain of swine flu there is—the kind that actually turns them into swine. On the advice of the gods, the warrior treats his men with sacred herbs, plenty of rest, and fluids. The crew recovers with no apparent ill effects, but their joy is short-lived as they all drown soon afterwards.

F. The Son of God determines that a demonic strain of swine flu is responsible for the severe symptoms exhibited by a man who lives in proximity to a herd of swine. Using His miraculous powers, He transfers the contagion back into the herd, whereupon the swine run into the sea and drown themselves. This causes great wonderment among the multitudes; for this was in the days before the CDC or vaccines or even the widespread practice of personal hygiene. The Son of God’s reputation as a healer and miracle worker grows, though He is unable to mollify the irate swineherd, who’s left with a lot of drowned swine on his hands.

Answers: A: Animal Farm B: Charlotte’s Web C: Winnie-the-Pooh D: Lord of the Flies E: The Odyssey F: The New Testament, Mark 5:1-14

Try our other quiz, Test Your Knowledge of Literature’s Greatest Bird Flu Scares.

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