ONCE upon a time, when pigs could talk and no one had ever heard of bacon, there lived an old piggy mother with her three little sons.
They had a very pleasant home in the middle of an oak forest, and were all just as happy as the day was long, until one sad year the acorn crop failed; then, indeed, poor Mrs. Piggy-wiggy often had hard work to make both ends meet.
One day she called her sons to her, and, with tears in her eyes, told them that she must send them out into the wide world to seek their fortune.
She kissed them all round, and the three little pigs set out upon their travels, each taking a different road, and carrying a bundle slung on a stick across his shoulder.
The first little pig had not gone far before he met a man carrying a bundle of straw; so he said to him: “Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house?” The man was very good-natured, so he gave him the bundle of straw, and the little pig built a pretty little house with it.
No sooner was it finished, and the little pig thinking of going to bed, than a wolf came along, knocked at the door, and said: “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”
But the little pig laughed softly, and answered: “No, no, by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.”
Then said the wolf sternly: “I will make you let me in; for I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!”
So he huffed and he puffed, and he blew his house in, because, you see, it was only of straw and too light; and when he had blown the house in, he ate up the little pig, and did not leave so much as the tip of his tail.
The second little pig also met a man, and he was carrying a bundle of furze; so piggy said politely: “Please, kind man, will you give me that furze to build me a house?”
The man agreed, and piggy set to work to build himself a snug little house before the night came on. It was scarcely finished when the wolf came along, and said: “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”
“No, no, by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin,” answered the second little pig.
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” said the wolf. So he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house in, and gobbled the little pig up in a trice.
Now, the third little pig met a man with a load of bricks and mortar, and he said: “Please, man, will you give me those bricks to build a house with?”
So the man gave him the bricks and mortar, and a little trowel as well, and the little pig built himself a nice strong little house. As soon as it was finished the wolf came to call, just as he had done to the other little pigs, and said: “Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
But the little pig answered: “No, no, by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.”
“Then,” said the wolf, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”
Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and he huffed, and he puffed; but he could not get the house down. At last he had no breath left to huff and puff with, so he sat down outside the little pig’s house and thought for awhile.
Presently he called out: “Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips.”
“Where?” said the little pig.
“Behind the farmer’s house, three fields away, and if you will be ready to-morrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together and get some breakfast.”
“Very well,” said the little pig; “I will be sure to be ready. What time do you mean to start?”
“At six o’clock,” replied the wolf.
Well, the wise little pig got up at five, scampered away to the field, and brought home a fine load of turnips before the wolf came. At six o’clock the wolf came to the little pig’s house and said: “Little pig, are you ready?”
“Ready!” cried the little pig. “Why, I have been to the field and come back long ago, and now I am busy boiling a potful of turnips for breakfast.”
The wolf was very angry indeed; but he made up his mind to catch the little pig somehow or other; so he told him that he knew where there was a nice apple-tree.
“Where?” said the little pig.
“Round the hill in the squire’s orchard,” the wolf said. “So if you will promise to play me no tricks, I will come for you tomorrow morning at five o’clock, and we will go there together and get some rosy-cheeked apples.”
The next morning piggy got up at four o’clock and was off and away long before the wolf came.
But the orchard was a long way off, and besides, he had the tree to climb, which is a difficult matter for a little pig, so that before the sack he had brought with him was quite filled he saw the wolf coming towards him.
He was dreadfully frightened, but he thought it better to put a good face on the matter, so when the wolf said: “Little pig, why are you here before me? Are they nice apples?” he replied at once: “Yes, very; I will throw down one for you to taste.” So he picked an apple and threw it so far that whilst the wolf was running to fetch it he had time to jump down and scamper away home.
The next day the wolf came again, and told the little pig that there was going to be a fair in the town that afternoon, and asked him if he would go with him.
“Oh! yes,” said the pig, “I will go with pleasure. What time will you be ready to start?”
“At half-past three,” said the wolf.
Of course, the little pig started long before the time, went to the fair, and bought a fine large butter-churn, and was trotting away with it on his back when he saw the wolf coming.
He did not know what to do, so he crept into the churn to hide, and by so doing started it rolling.
Down the hill it went, rolling over and over, with the little pig squeaking inside.
The wolf could not think what the strange thing rolling down the hill could be; so he turned tail and ran away home in a fright without ever going to the fair at all. He went to the little pig’s house to tell him how frightened he had been by a large round thing which came rolling past him down the hill.
“Ha! ha!” laughed the little pig; “so I frightened you, eh? I had been to the fair and bought a butter-churn; when I saw you I got inside it and rolled down the hill.”
This made the wolf so angry that he declared that he would eat up the little pig, and that nothing should save him, for he would jump down the chimney.
But the clever little pig hung a pot full of water over the hearth and then made a blazing fire, and just as the wolf was coming down the chimney he took off the cover and in fell the wolf. In a second the little pig had popped the lid on again.
Then he boiled the wolf, and ate him for supper, and after that he lived quietly and comfortably all his days, and was never troubled by a wolf again.