Elya Yelnats fell in love with Myra Menke at the age of fifteen. Myra was fourteen and would turn fifteen in two months, which was when Myra's father decided to get her married. Elya wanted to marry her, but so did Igor Barkov, the pig farmer. Igor was fifty-seven years old. He had a red nose and puffy cheeks.
Elya went to Myra's fathers house to ask for her hand but Igor was also there. He would trade his fattest pig for Myra. When Myra's father asked Elya what he would give him and Elya said a heart full of love. Myra's father agreed to marry his daughter to Igor as he wanted the fat pig.
Competition of the pigs
Elya went to Madam Zeroni for help. Madam Zeroni tried to tell Elya that Myra didn't know much and that her head was as empty as a flowerpot but Elya didn't listen and still wanted to marry Myra. Madam Zeroni gave Elya a small pig and told him to go up the hill to the stream and make the pig drink from it while he sings the pig a song that she taught him. She also told him that after he gave his pig to Myra's father, he would take Madam Zeroni up the hill and she will drink from the stream, or else Elya's family would be cursed for all eternity,
Out of Myra's house
Elya did what Madam Zeroni told him to do. Every day, he would take the pig up the hill to the stream. He would also sing the song to the pig that Madam Zeroni taught him. He would call it a pig lullaby. Each day, the pig grew bigger and Elya became stronger. At the day the pigs would be weighed, Madam Zeroni told Elya to take the pig up the stream and make it drink again but Elya didn't listen and instead took a bath. He didn't want to go smelling like a pig.
On Myra's fifteenth birthday Elya took the pig to Myra's father. Myra's father was impressed with the pig and Elya as he had grown much bigger and stronger. When Myra's father weighed the two pigs they both weighed the same. Elya thought he should've taken the pig to the stream that day.Myra's father left the decision to Myra because he couldn't figure it out. Myra also had trouble choosing. 'Marry Igor,' said Elya,'Keep my pig as a wedding present.'
Elya wandered aimlessly through the town, he couldn't belive the Myra found it difficult choosing between him and Igor. He decided he was going to go to America, as Madam Zeroni told him. He had no sailing experience but a captain of a ship signed him up as he looked very strong. In America, Elya learnt how to speak English and fell in love with a girl named Sarah. Elya translated the pig lullaby to English and told it to Sarah. When they had their son, Sarah named him Stanley and would sing the English version of the pig lullaby to him every night.