The story opens on a farm with the birth of a litter of pigs. The farmer, Mr. Arable, is about to destroy the tiniest one--the runt--but his young daughter, Fern, implores him to rethink his decision saying that she will take over the special care of this special pig that she names Wilbur. Wilbur flourishes, but again Fern pleads with her father when the time comes to sell him (to the slaughterhouse) and again Mr. Arable listens and Wilbur is sold to Fern's Uncle Zuckerman, who lives just down the road. Here Wilbur meets many new animals--Goose and Gander, Sheep and Templeton the Rat--but he is lonely until that night he hears the voice belonging to a beautiful grey spider named Charlotte. Does Charlotte manage to keep Wilbur from the slaughterhouse?