The Tale of the Three Pigs

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    Sometimes, when we are not looking, our world becomes a very different place. A long time ago there were places where people never looked. Those places were ruled by animals, who lived very much as people do. One such place was a wide valley that had low mountains on its east, west, and north sides. Thick forest clothed the mountains, but the floor of the valley had been cleared for farms and it resembled a patchwork quilt made by stitching together fields, vineyards, pastures, and orchards.

    One day three little pigs came to the valley. They were brothers who had left their parents' home and gone out into the world to find their destiny. They paused in the little village in the center of the valley and made inquiries as to where they might find a good place to take up residence. The town clerk knew just the place for them and showed them the lot on a map. Coins changed hands and the pigs soon discovered that they were the proud new owners of a pig's paradise. There was a broad meadow and near it was a slow-flowing river. There were places where they could wallow in the mud, as pigs like to do, and places to play in the water and get clean after a mud bath. All they needed were houses to give them shelter.

    The youngest pig found a plentiful supply of straw left over from the last harvest and he used it to build himself a tiny and snug house. He tied the straw into sheaves with twists of long grass and then tied the sheaves together to make walls and a roof. More sheaves made a door. It took the youngest pig only one day to make his little house and he was happy with it when it was done.

    The middle pig found a grove of trees that grew long straight twigs from its branches and he cut a goodly number of those to use in building himself a small and snug house. Using string that he bought in the village, he tied the sticks into bundles and then tied the bundles together to make the walls and the roof of his house. More bundles made a door. It took the middle pig two days to make his little house and he was happy with it when it was done.

    The oldest pig had already made arrangements for a supply of bricks, mortar, and lumber to be delivered to the place where he wanted to build a cozy little house for himself. Several days he had to spend mixing the mortar and laying the bricks to build his house. He had to lay each brick on a little bed of mortar that he slopped onto the previously laid bricks with his trowel and then he had to use the handle of the trowel to tap the brick into the right position. Then he had to smooth the mortar where the bricks came together and fill in any gaps. It wasn't hard work, but it was long and tedious. Several more days he had to spend using the lumber to make a strong and solid door and roof for his house. And all the time he could hear his brothers laughing and squealing with delight as they played.

    "Come and play with us," they called to him, but he refused.

    "I can play later," he said, "but first I must finish building my house."

    It took the oldest pig a week to make his little house and he was happy with it when it was done.

    It happened that at the same time that the three pigs moved into the valley a ferocious wolf also came to the valley. He lived in a deep, dark cave in the side of a mountain. This was not a good thing for the inhabitants of the valley. Wolves eat other animals and they are especially fond of eating succulent little pigs. Well, as you might guess, it wasn't long before the wolf found out that three little pigs were living close to his mountain. The very thought made his stomach growl and his mouth water, so he decided to get himself a pig to eat.

    The three little pigs were playing in the river when the wolf came out of the forest. Seeing the danger, the pigs ran as fast as they could to their houses and closed the doors. Now they felt safe.

    The wolf came to the straw house and demanded that the pig open the door and let him come in. "Oh, no, no, no, you can't come in," the pig said. "No, not by the hair on my chinni-chin-chin."

    "Very well then," the wolf said. "I see that I shall have to strike a blow against this shell of yours. So I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down." Then the wolf drew a deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a barrel, so much air did he drink in. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's straw house. The straw quivered and shuddered under the blow. Soon the grass ties slipped apart and the house exploded in a swirling cloud of straw.

    The wolf leaped upon the squealing little pig, grabbed him up, and carried him off to his cave, where he cooked and ate him. The other little pigs didn't dare try to help their brother, lest they be eaten too.

    Some days later the wolf was hungry again and he decided that he wanted to eat another little pig. He left his cave and went through the forest to the meadow where the little pigs lived.

    The two little pigs were wallowing in the mud when the wolf came out of the forest. Seeing the danger, the pigs ran as fast as they could to their houses and closed the doors. Now they felt safe.

    The wolf came to the house made of twigs and demanded that the pig open the door and let him come in. "Oh, no, no, no, you can't come in," the pig said. "No, not by the hair on my chinni-chin-chin."

    "Very well, then," the wolf said. "I see that I shall have to strike a blow against this shell of yours. So I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down." Then the wolf drew a deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a barrel, so much air did he drink in. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's house of twigs. The twigs quivered and shuddered under the blow but the strings held fast and the little house was still standing when the wolf ran out of breath. The wolf drew another deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a haystack. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's house of twigs. The twigs quivered and shuddered under the blow; they rattled and clattered and soon the strings broke and the little house collapsed.

    The wolf leaped upon the squealing little pig, grabbed him up, and carried him off to his cave, where he cooked him and ate him. The other little pig didn't dare try to help his brother, lest he be eaten too.

    Some days later the wolf was hungry again and he decided that he wanted to eat another little pig. He left his cave and went through the forest to the meadow where the last little pig lived.

    The little pig was gathering firewood when the wolf came out of the forest. Seeing the danger, the pig ran as fast as he could to his house of bricks and closed the door. Now he felt safe.

    The wolf came to the house made of bricks and demanded that the pig open the door and let him come in. "Oh, no, no, no, you can't come in," the pig said. "No, not by the hair on my chinni-chin-chin."

    "Very well, then," the wolf said. "I see that I shall have to strike a blow against this shell of yours. So I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down." Then the wolf drew a deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a barrel, so much air did he drink in. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's house of bricks. The bricks did not budge under the blow, not even a hair's breadth, and the little house was still standing when the wolf ran out of breath. The wolf drew another deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a haystack. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's house of bricks. Again the bricks did not budge under the blow, did not so much as tremble, and the little house was still standing when the wolf ran out of breath. The wolf drew another deep breath. Deeper and deeper he drew his breath. His belly swelled up and he grew to the size of a barn. Then he blew the air out, blew it against the pig's house of bricks. Again the bricks did not budge under the blow, gave no sign of weakening, and the little house was still standing when the wolf ran out of breath. The wolf staggered around in little circles, so dizzy had he become. He felt as though the whole world was spinning around him and he couldn't see straight. Suddenly he didn't feel hungry anymore, so he went home to lie down.

    Wolves are sneaky creatures. Even the most ferocious of wolves can pretend to be harmless and friendly when it suits his purpose to do so. A few days after he tried to blow down the pig's house he went back and knocked on the door. When the pig called out and asked who was knocking on his door, the wolf said in his sweetest voice, "It is I, your neighbor. I have been thinking about what a smart little pig you are and I believe that we could be friends. To prove my good intentions I will tell you where we can find a field of just ripe turnips. It's right by the bend in the river. Would you like to go dig turnips?"

    Well, of course the little pig wanted to get some turnips. Pigs love to eat turnips. Oh, how pigs love to eat ripe, succulent turnips! So the pig agreed to meet the wolf in the turnip field at six o'clock in the morning.

    At five o'clock the next morning the little pig got out of bed, dressed himself, and ran to the turnip field. Because pigs have such keen noses, he was able to sniff out the ripest and tastiest of all the turnips. Working quickly, he dug them up and soon filled his sack with them. The bright flame of the sun was just peeking over the mountains when he finished and ran home. When the wolf came to the field, he saw the holes where turnips had been before the pig had dug them up.

    A few days later the wolf went back to the pig's house and knocked on the door. When the pig called out and asked who was knocking on his door, the wolf said in his sweetest voice, "It is I, your neighbor. I have been thinking about what a smart little pig you are and I believe that we should be friends. To prove my good intentions I will tell you where we can find an orchard of just ripe apples. It's right by the big curve in the road. Would you like to go pick apples?"

    Well, of course the little pig would like to go pick apples. Pigs love to eat apples. Oh, how pigs love to eat ripe red apples! So the pig agreed to meet the wolf in the orchard at five o'clock in the morning.

    At four o'clock the next morning the little pig got out of bed, dressed himself, and ran to the orchard. It was still dark when he came to the orchard, but because pigs have such keen noses he was able to sniff out the ripest and reddest of all the apples. He climbed one tree after another to pick the apples and fill his sack with them. All too soon, though, day began to spill over the mountains in the east and fill the land with light. The pig started to climb down out of the tree he was in, but he stopped when he saw the wolf come into the orchard.

    "Ho, there!" the wolf called out. "How are the apples?"

    "Quite delicious," the pig replied. "The best that I have ever tasted. Would you like to try one?"

    "Of course I would," the wolf said, for he still had to pretend that he had come for the apples.

    So the pig tossed an apple to the wolf, so aiming it that it passed over the wolf's head and landed in a patch of tall grass that extended down into a ravine. The wolf went after the apple, diving into the grass and calling out, "Wait for me! I'll want another when I have finished this one."

    The little pig agreed to wait, but as soon as the wolf had disappeared into the grass he dropped quietly out of the tree with his sack full of apples and ran home as fast as he could.

    A few days later the wolf went back to the pig's house and knocked on the door. When the pig called out and asked who was knocking on his door, the wolf said in his sweetest voice, "It is I, your neighbor. I have been thinking about what a smart little pig you are and I believe that we really must be friends. To prove my good intentions I will tell you that a fair has come to the village. There will be delicious food and wonderful entertainments. Would you like to go to the fair?"

    Did the little pig want to go to the fair? What a question! Of course the little pig wanted to go to the fair. Pigs love going to the fair. Oh, how pigs love going to the happy, carefree fair! Best of all, the little pig knew that the wolf would not dare to be at the fair itself, for the wolf had done so many bad things that the other fair-goers would very quickly put an end to him. So he agreed to meet the wolf on the road that ran by the river so that they could walk together to the fair.

    The very next morning the little pig got out of bed, dressed himself, and went to the fair. But instead of going by the easy road that ran by the river, he went by the hard road that went over the hill.

    The little pig had a wonderful time at the fair. He enjoyed strange and delicious foods and was delighted by wonderful entertainments. He spent the whole day at the fair and the time to go home seemed to him to come much too quickly.

    As he was leaving the fair he bought a big black iron cauldron, one as big as he was. It was so big and heavy that he had to roll it along the road to get it home. When he came to the top of the hill, he saw the wolf walking down the road. He didn't want the wolf to see him, so he climbed into the cauldron and rolled down the road in it.

    When the wolf saw a big, black round thing banging and bonging down the road straight at him, fear shot through him like an arrow. His legs flailed wildly, kicking up clouds of dust, as he scampered off the road and ran into the forest. The sound of the cauldron, still rolling down the road and bouncing off rocks, kept his panic fresh and only when he had reached his cave did his fear begin to wilt.

    The pig arrived home, a little dizzy but safe. The cauldron was unharmed and soon it was hanging from a thick iron hook by the fireplace. The little pig used the cauldron to heat water for cooking his meals, brewing tea, and to warm up his bath water.

    A few days later the wolf went back to the pig's house and knocked on the door. When the pig called out and asked who was knocking on his door, the wolf said in a harsh voice, "It is I, your neighbor, and I have come to eat you. Open the door and let me in!"

    "Oh, no, no, no, you can't come in," the pig said. "No, not by the hair on my chinni-chin-chin." Quickly he barred the door and all the windows of his little house.

    The wolf paced around the house and then said, "I know an opening that you can't close." He went away for a time and then came back carrying a ladder.

    The pig saw what the wolf was about to do, so he swung his cauldron over the fireplace and piled straw and twigs under it. Using the flint and steel in his tinderbox, he struck a spark into the straw and soon fire leaped up from the straw and the twigs. The flames cupped the cauldron as a man cups a bowl in his hands and soon the water was turning over. The pig heard the wolf climbing onto his roof. It was slow going because wolves don't climb ladders very well. By the time the pig heard the wolf's footsteps by the chimney, the water in the cauldron was boiling.

    The wolf was already licking his lips when he started to climb into the chimney. He had waited long enough to taste this little pig and he was not going to let a little smoke stop him. Holding his breath, he slid down the chimney and fell right into the cauldron full of boiling water. In no time at all the wolf was thoroughly cooked and the pig ate him. When the news got out that the valley was inhabited by a pig who eats wolves, all of the wolves in the neighboring valleys moved as far away as they could.

    But the little pig didn't eat all of the wolf. When he was done he still had the wolf's skin and bones left over. He was a clever little pig, though, and he was able to use the wolf's skin and bones to make a set of bagpipes. Then on nights when the moon was full he played the pipes and filled the valley with the sound of demons being tortured by the Devil himself and all potential predators left as quickly as they could. Thus the little pig became the protector of the valley.

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