1817 ad: Toby the Sapient Pig

. Sunday, October 13, 2013

  
Toby the Sapient Pig. The greatest curiosity of the present day. This most extraordinary creature will spell, read, cast accounts, play at cards; Tell any person what o'clock it is to a minute by their own watch; Also tell the age of any one in company; and what is more astonishing he will discover a person's thoughts, A thing never heard before to be exhibited as animal of the swine race. The performance of this truly surprising creature must be seen to be believed. He is now exhibiting every day at the Royal Promenade Rooms, Spring Gardens, where he may be seen precisely at the hours of 1, 2, 3, & 4. Admittance one shilling.
When I first saw this ad it made me think of Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. Little did I know there is a long tradition of "learned pigs" starting in the 1700s. It's a real thing. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

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