Animal Tales Part I: Four Little Pigs

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

Once upon a time I had four pigs. They were wee things when they arrived, several hundred pounds when they left. I think I called all four of them “Peter Porkchop” to remind me why I was feeding them, Danish style, barley and milk. But while they lived on the farm, they were a delight and constant source of entertainment.

They shared the pasture with the several goats. The pasture, fenced with woven wire, did a good job of keeping them contained. But sometimes the gate between the horses and goats was left open and they were free to range into the (non)electric fenced area. So they took themselves for walks around the neighborhood. My neighbor, sitting on the ground, painting her garage doors, was startled to find the four at that time very large pigs staring at her.

The first time I took the new piglets for a walk in the woods with the goats, I learned that they would not stay with me and the goats, but instead wandered off on their own. And they did not return with us. A friend stopped by to see them that afternoon. When I told her I didn’t know where they were, she was astounded and wondered why I wasn’t out looking for them. I allowed as how there was 40 acres of woods and where would I start? “I figure they’ll come home at feeding time.” And so they did. Around 4:30 that afternoon here they came romping across the horse pasture. So I learned they always would return home.

But my favorite story about the four little now big pigs is this: They loved being in the goat barn, but as they got bigger there wasn’t room for them and the goats, so I would lock them out at night to sleep in their own shelter. When I opened the goat door in the morning, the pigs would rush in, grab mouthfuls of hay and race over to their shelter. Then I noticed they would run down to the woods and bring back sticks in their mouths. It made me think of the folk tale “The Three Little Pigs” and the houses they built. So…straw, twigs…my pigs were “building” two out of the three houses. Then one day I noticed one of them running around with a salt block in his mouth….ah, the house of bricks was now being built!

And I was the big bad wolf who had them for dinner….

And painted a portrait…which I sold to a woman in New York City where I hope Peter Porkchop lives on.

What folk tale have you seen play out in your life?

48 thoughts on “Animal Tales Part I: Four Little Pigs”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Oooh, the possibilities here: ogres (supervisors at work), wicked witches (same), handsome princes, frog-kissing. Definitely not Rapunzel–I have always worn my hair short–but I could tie bedsheets together!

    I cannot just come up with one quickly, but I am sure there is one

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Fun images, Cynthia – is the pig portrait a photo of your painting?

    I can remember feeling lost like Hansel and Gretel a couple of times, once in the Rocky Mtns. when 3 of us got separated from the rest of the group and it was getting dark. We’d taken a wrong turn, and were longing for some shiny white pebbles to guide us back. Found the path at dusk. Will think more…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Morning all. I’ll have to think on the question, but today is good animal topic day. Barb in Blackhoof’s herd is one larger this morning. First baby goatlet of the season born yesterday!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My favorite Norwegian fairy tale is “Tre Bukkene Bruse” or Three Billy Goats Gruff. My co-favorite is Luvrehette or Tatterhood about a girl who is born riding a goat and carrying a wooden spoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just finished a short story, really a closet drama which turns Wizard of Oz into an Ionesco-esque bit of absurdity. That was fun. What triggered it all is the fact that when I saw Wizard of Oz as a small child it terrified me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It terrified me, too. I remember hiding in the lobby when the wicked witches came on the screen. I still hide during scary movies…or, violent ones. I left The Godfather for breather at least once…or, did I even see the end?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My grandson, Liam, is fascinating to watch on this issue of scary stories. He just turned six. Like most boys his age, he is wildly involved with fantasies about spaceships and clashes between good and evil. That is a way of saying his worldview is perfectly reflected by George Lucas’ Star Wars films.

        Liam wants to see the latest Star Wars film, but he won’t let himself. He calculates that he will be so frightened that he would be out of balance afterward. He has done extensive research on this issue by reading about the film and interviewing kids who have seen it. One day he decides he could probably handle seeing the film, but the next day he changes his mind. He knows this is all make-believe. He knows he will be able to enjoy scary movies when he is a bit more mature. But as of today he feels he is several months too young to watch this Star Wars movie. He knows he will have trouble sleeping afterward.

        What surprises me most in all of this is how precise he is in his estimation of his own character. I’ve never encountered a kid who was this self-aware.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. When Young Adult was about Liam’s age, she always wanted to fast forward through the scarier parts of a couple of movies. Mulan is the one that comes to mind. She was really afraid of the Huns when they popped out of the snow after the avalanche. Took a few years before she decided we didn’t have to fast forward anymore.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Liam comes by this naturally. His mother was highly reactive to screen violence. One day in fourth or fifth grade her class watched a movie about Martin Luther King. When King was assassinated, my daughter fell apart, wailing so long and hard that the whole school was disrupted.

          We had to work with her carefully. I remember when we ran a tape of a movie so scary that she several times ran behind the TV and covered her ears, but she was so intrigued by the story she kept returning to watch more of it.

          I’ve mentioned this before. The first scary movie she watched was something called Orca, a blatant copy of Jaws using killer whales instead of sharks. As the orcas moved in to chomp pieces of oblivious folks on plastic rafts, this ominous music would build. At one point my daughter said something like, “Those STUPID people! Don’t they know when they hear that music they need to get out of the water?”

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Young Adult does not come by this naturally. In fact it’s funny to look back to those scared days because nowadays we are completely reversed. She adores creepy/gory/scary stuff that makes my skin crawl.

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  6. Very good story about your pigs, Cynthia. The folk tale of the Princess and the Pea frequently came to our minds during our child rearing days. I am thinking of times when one or the other of our young children couldn’t be pleased because they were acting like they were the princess that could not stand to have a small pea under her mattress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim: there are people whose lives are made difficult because they have such a struggle with the “princess and the pea” sort of aggravation. They are sometimes called HSPs, for Highly Sensitive People. I knew a woman who had to run her laundry on three rinse cycles to wash out all the soap. If she only put laundry through two rinse cycles (which she did as an experiment) her sheets and clothes felt harsh and scratchy. Most people, when they first encounter a HSP, wonder if this great touchiness is just silly or affected. It is not. Some people are doomed to live with incredible sensitivity to their surroundings.

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      1. Of course, my kids were not Highly Sensitive People. They were just more or less normal kids who sometimes acted as though they should be treated that way. In other words they could be brats, at times, like most kids.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m thinking of a couple 2-year-olds I know. They are currently into having a certain color plate or bowl for their meals (they have these sets of plastic plates and bowls that come in a multi-colored set). You should hear the yelling and fussing when their meal is served on the “wrong” colored plate. And, of course, you can’t predict which color they will want on any given day.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I have an in-law who, because of neck surgery she’s had, can hardly sleep on any mattress anyone would have in their home. The floor is her best bet when traveling, or a firm futon – some relatives, of course, think she’s just being a prima donna, and reference to this story has been made…

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  7. We will be in the area of Germany this May called The Fairytale Road, as the Grimm brothers lived in the area. I am excited to see the Bremen Town Musicians statue in Bremen.

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    1. I just heard that the Grimm Brothers were cultural scientists whose research allowed them to gather a huge storehouse of old legends and myths. Their collection is a remarkable treasury of fears and phobias from early times when all cultural knowledge was acquired by telling stories around fires.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was the timid little girl that fantasized at bedtime…when sleep would elude me. One fantasy…whisked away by the handsome prince. Sleeping Beauty?

    I did get whisked in a manner of speaking. My husband and I were married after dating for about five months…and he whisked me (willingly) though twelve home moves and eight company moves.

    I knew if I married him I would never be bored…and so far I have not..fourty five years and counting…

    Liked by 5 people

  9. John Henry: Man versus Machine
    As is often the case with flooring installations in remodeling projects, removal of existing adhesive is required.
    How that is accomplished to acceptable standards, has always been a problem. For me, Wesley John Henry, doing so on hands and knees with a 4 inch scraper is the fastest and most effective method. It’s physical activity. I bring a change of t-shirts rather than get the car smelling like a locker room. Other people want to use machines. The race was on in classrooms at Wadena, Minnesota. By the time the competition set up their stand up machine, I was half a room ahead. Gradually they caught up with me and even pulled ahead for a bit but I worked through coffee break and barely edged out the machine. The problem was the machine didn’t remove enough material and two other people had to go over the room by hand. I was the very sweaty winner.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I take on the role of John Henry when shoveling snow. I can usually get my walks and driveway cleared by hand as fast or faster than the people near me who are using snow blowers. I have a little trouble staying ahead when we have heavy snow. However, most of those blowers are also not too good at moving really heavy snow. For that kind of snow a snow plow is needed and i wouldn’t win working by hand against one of those.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I used to have a neighbor who had a leaf blower. I’m pretty sure he could have raked his yard in half the time it took to blow all his leaves (and with a lot less noise). Seems like he raked his yard in a couple of hours before he got the blower and with the blower it took him at least 6 hours. Yet he was convinced it saved him time.

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      1. Anyone devolve asbestosis? Back in the late seventies, I worked in another school there during the asbestos scare. Asbestos exposure is a problem if you make it friable ie dusty. Well, the abatement company came in to remove the asbestos floor tile. This involved complete containment which is very much like what you’d see in virus apocalypse movie. They were nearly completed when my crew arrived. They were able to simply pick up whole tiles off the floor without breaking any. EASY PEASY. And the reason for that was the black cutback adhesive had been spread way, way too thickly. Now what they had left me is an adhesive bed that looked heavy enough to set mosaic tiles. It absolutely had to be removed. But there’s more asbestos in that adhesive than there is in the tile itself. I told the general contractor what the problem was and he was very angry and threatened my well being if I said a word. I should have blown the whistle right there but didn’t. So they started to remove the black glue in the.band room by pouring gasoline on the floor and using a buffer. Insane! There was black adhesive all over the walls. So they stopped and started scrapping by hand. Now the asbestos is friable. They didn’t bring the abatement company back but used student labor. To this day Im embarrassed to have said nothing to the authorities. Never again.

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        1. THHS which I attended for 6 years and taught in for 24 years, had asbestos in it, on tiling like you describe and in pipe insulation which was in the classrooms. They carpeted the flooring (legal because it covers the source securely). The pipe insulation proved to be in only a few places, which they wrapped. Everyone knew the building was not going to last much longer. By the images when they demoed the building, they did not do anything about the asbestos. Not sure of the law there. the asbestos danger was rated very low.
          I shoul do a pst about the mysterious disappearing Bibles of THHS.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Good thing it’s small. We are allowed to remove an area 4 feet by 4 feet without containment. A home owner can remove larger areas because the residue is of their making.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Not a fair tale…but perhaps a dream come true which I just HAD to share. My cousin’s violin teacher..and a gal I know won
    NPR Tiny Desk Contest: Gaelynn Lea from Duluth.
    Her YouTube submission was rather rustic so I was very unsure of a positive outcome…I am elated!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. The single fairy tale that most accurately reflects my life is Scheherazade. She is the woman known as the source for One Thousand and One Nights. Scheherazade is able to stave off sure death by telling stories. So long as I continue to tell stories, I will be allowed to live.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Well, my synapses aren’t firing well enough to put a fairy tale to my life today, but I did find a fun image of one of my favorites as a little girl – Jorinda & Jorindel

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I had a girlfriend once that used morals from fables as sayings that, typically, made no sense within the context of a conversation. One that stands out in my memory is the time she said, “Well, y’know, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie…” I got one of those Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote 4th wall looks of non-sequitur confusion after that one.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. In an election year, It is only appropriate to mention “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I will leave to you to see who is blinded by fashion and who is naked.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love the Butterball story as well, I used to tell it when I taught day care. But the second part when he puts the daughter troll’s head in the soup, I usually don’t tell adults…they are too “sensitive” ??? (oops, was that a spoiler?)

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    1. If I ever knew, I don’t remember what breed they were…may have been a crossbreed of sorts. I never had pigs again, I couldn’t bear to part with them…I can still see the look in their eyes as they were captured and crated and taken to the butcher. The meat was the best ever, but…just couldn’t do it again. I still hesitate when buying or eating pork.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Name dropping warning: A group of us helped Robert Bly celebrate one of his birthdays by putting on a Baba Yaga skit. I got to be Baba Yaga and included in my costume a pair of chicken legs for my hands…Robert insisted on keeping them for himself…(It was Vasalisa The Beautiful, as I recall)

      Liked by 1 person

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