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A Bigger Prize by Margaret Heffernan

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INTRODUCTION

On a beautiful August day, the New Hampshire sunshine streams through the tall pine trees surrounding the Cheshire County Fair. On the outer perimeter, cart horses and pigs are scrutinized and judged, some garnering rosettes, others being returned to their owners, for whom they are both livelihood and pets. Kids try their hand at milking cows and goats or driving their first tractor. After lunch, Slackwire Sam unicycles up and down his loose clothesline; in the far corner of the fairground, tug-of-war is scheduled for the end of the day.

An inner circle of food stalls offers fried dough, blossoming onions, corn dogs, and cotton candy. ...

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