Gateway to the Classics: A Child's Book of Stories by Penrhyn W. Coussens
A Child's Book of Stories by  Penrhyn W. Coussens

History of the Five Little Pigs

Showing the Adventures of

One Little Pig who went to Market,

Of a Second Little Pig who stayed at Home,

Of a Third Little Pig who got Roast Beef,

Of a Fourth Little Pig who had None, and

Of a Fifth Little Pig who cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!"

All the way home.

I F children wish to lead a happy life, they must try to become wise and good, and the sure way to do so is to be obedient to their parents and teachers, to be kind and gentle towards each other, and always ready to help those who cannot help themselves. The story of the Five Little Pigs shows how foolish and wicked it is to neglect the words of a parent, and also shows that those who do act as they are told get a great many other nice things as well as roast beef, and are consequently very happy.

The First Little Pig

There was once a family of five little pigs, and Mrs. Pig, their mother, loved them all very dearly. Some of these little pigs were very good, and took a great deal of pains to please their mother. But the best of all was the eldest pig. He was so useful and active that his mother and all his brothers called him Mr. Pig. He was a fine, strong, broad-backed fellow, with a large smiling face, and very long brown ears. One day his mother told him to go to market with the donkey and cart filled with vegetables. She told him to be very careful with Rusty—as that was the donkey's name—as he had a very bad temper. The cart was soon filled, and Rusty having been put in harness, away went Mr. Pig to market at a gallop.

Rusty went on very well for about a mile and a half, but then his bad temper began to show itself. First he drew himself up on his hind legs, then he fixed his fore legs firmly on the ground, and began kicking away at the front of the cart.

When he had quite tired himself out he made a great noise with his mouth and his nostrils, and came to a standstill. All the coaxing and whipping that Mr. Pig gave him could not induce him to move a step. Mr. Pig saw a number of little pigs playing in a field by the roadside, so he went up to them and asked them to assist him.

A rope was tied in front of Rusty, and the little pigs dragged him and the cart along, while Mr. Pig gave Rusty a good whipping from behind.

At last all the kind little pigs, who were so willing to assist Mr. Pig, were tired out. One by one they were forced to quit their hold of the rope, until at last poor Mr. Pig found himself alone, and at a long distance from the market.

As perverse Rusty would not drag the cart, Mr. Pig took him out of the shafts, and sat down by the roadside, thinking what he should do. But he knew he would never get to market in that way.

So he started up, and placing himself in the shafts, pulled away by himself, and being a very strong and brave pig, he went along in this manner till within sight of the market-place.

When he got there, all the big and little pigs began to laugh at him. They called Mr. Pig a great many names, saying what a fool he was to drag his cart to market, instead of making his donkey do so. But they did not laugh so loudly when Mr. Pig told them all his struggles on the road; some of them went so far as to curl their tails in anger at the bad conduct of Rusty. Mr. Pig lost no time at all in selling off all his cart-load of vegetables.

Very soon after, Rusty came trotting into the market-place with his ears thrown forward, and eyeing with a great deal of seeming pleasure the empty cart. Mr. Pig at first thought of giving lazy Rusty a sound whipping, but he thought also how much he was wanted at home, and as Rusty seemed willing to take his place in the cart, he thought it would be better to start for home without delay. So after embracing Rusty, he again placed him in the shafts, and away trotted the donkey as briskly as if nothing had occurred. When he got home, he told Mrs. Pig all his story, and she patted him on the back, and called him her best and most worthy son.

So you see there are two things to be learned from the conduct of the sapient Mr. Pig, and the way he managed his business. The first is, that we should never give in when we encounter a difficulty, but should set our wits to work to find a remedy, as Mr. Pig did when Rusty refused to go; and the second is, that it is better to make up a quarrel than to continue angry. For if Mr. Pig had not made friends with Rusty, he would have had to drag his cart home himself, and what a heavy job that would have been, when he was tired with his day's work!

The Second Little Pig

This little pig wanted very much to go with his eldest brother, the steady Mr. Pig, to market, and because his mother would not allow him to do so, he cried very much. But he was such a naughty pig, and so fond of mischief, that Mrs. Pig knew it would not be safe to trust him so far from home. She had to go to the miller's to buy some flour, for she wanted to make some nice cakes for Mr. Pig and his four brothers. Before she went out, she told this little pig to keep up a good fire to bake the cakes by when she came home. But when he was left alone, instead of learning his lessons, he began to tease the cat.

He pulled her ears, and put her paws on the bars of the grate, and did many cruel things, such as only so bad a little pig would think of. Then he dressed up Miss Fan in his mother's cloak and cap, and put a pipe in her mouth. After this he found his mother's birch which he made Fan hold in her paw. When he was tired of thus playing, he got the bellows, which had for a very long time been a puzzle to him. He could not tell how it was that the wind came from the pipe, and also where the wind came from. So he thought he would see the inside of the bellows, and judge for himself. Upon this he took a knife and cut right through the leather portion, quite spoiling it.

When he had done so, he could not find out at all what he wanted to know, so he began to cry. He thought he would amuse himself with his brother's toys, so he took down his brother's large kite, and big drum, and splendid horse with black and white spots on its back. But he soon got tired of merely playing with them, and then his habits of mischief began to show themselves. He forced the drum sticks through the parchments of the big drum, tore off the flowing tail of the kite, and broke one of the hind legs of the spotted horse, after which he pulled off its head from its body.

This very naughty pig after this went to the cupboard and finding out his mother's jam-pots, half emptied most of them. He did not even wait to look for a spoon, but forcing his paws into the jam, ate it in this way. Even this was not enough mischief for him. Taking the poker, he made it red-hot, and with it burnt more than ten great holes in the hearth-rug, and also burnt holes in his mother's fine new carpet. When his mother came home from the miller's with the flour, she sat down by the fire, and being very tired soon fell asleep. No sooner had she done so, than this bad little pig, getting a long handkerchief, tied her in her chair. But it was not very long before she awoke; very quickly she found out all the mischief this little pig had been doing.

She soon saw all the damage he had done to his brother's playthings; quickly, too, she brought out her thickest, heaviest birch. The naughty little pig ran all around the room, and cried and begged his mother to forgive him.

But all this did not avail him in the least; his mother took him by the ear, and applied the birch to his back and sides till they tingled and smarted in such a way that he did not forget in a long time.

I am sure you will think that this little pig was rightly served for being so naughty, for only think how many things he might have done while his mother was away, if he had only been good.

He might have learnt part of the alphabet, or repeated over the pence table to himself while he attended to the cakes, or have made a net to keep the sparrows from the cherry tree, or have done half a hundred useful things; but instead of all this, the cross-grained pig must needs get into mischief. Oh, it was very bad!

The Third Little Pig

This little pig who had roast beef was a very good and careful little fellow. He gave his mother scarcely any trouble, and like his eldest brother, Mr. Pig, took a pleasure in doing what she bade him.

Here you see him sitting down; with a clean face and well washed hands, to some nice roast beef. His brother, who was idle and would not learn his lessons, is crying on a stool in the corner, with a dunce's cap on. And this is the reason why the good little pig had roast beef, while his brother, the idle pig, had non. He sat down quietly in the corner while he learned his lesson; having gone over it many times, saying one line after another to himself, he asked his mother to hear him repeat it. And he did so from the first line to the very last, without a single mistake. Mrs. Pig stroked him on the ears and forehead and called him a good little pig. After this he asked her to allow him to assist him in making the tea. He brought everything she wanted, and lifted the tea-kettle from the fire without spilling a drop either on his toes or the carpet.

By-and-by he went out, after asking his mother's permission, to have a game with his hoop. He had not gone far, when he saw an old blind pig, who, with his hat in his hand, was crying at the loss of his dog. That naughty dog had broken the string by which his master led him, and had run away. He felt in his pocket and found he had a half-penny, and this he gave to the poor old pig, like a kind and thoughtful little pig as he was.

Not very long after this he saw a great, strong, spiteful pig, who wore a cap on his head, beating one of his little brothers. Going up to the big pig, he told him what a shame it was that he should so ill-treat a poor little pig so much smaller than himself, who had done him no harm. The stupid great pig did not seem quite able to make out what this wise pig said to him, but he ran off. His poor little brother had been knocked down and bruised, and one of his eyes was very red and swollen; so he took a handkerchief and tied it over his brother's face. Then he, in the most careful and tender manner, led the little pig home to his mother's house.

He placed one of his paws under his own arm, and so they went along. They were a long time getting home, for the poor pig who had been treated so badly was lame, and cried a great deal with the pain his eyes caused him.

But when they got home the careful little pig made him some nice hot mutton broth, and took it up to his bed for him to sip it. It was for such good, kind, thoughtful conduct as this that his mother almost every week gave this little pig roast beef.

And every day for a fortnight, so long as the poor little ill-used pig continued to suffer from his hurts, this good little pig visited him every day, and never came without bringing him a present of some kind or other. Sometimes it was a part of a turnip, or a bit of peeled mangold-wurzel, or some other light delicacy; sometimes a bunch of flowers to smell at with his poor little pale nose; and when poor piggie got better, our good-natured little friend brought him a bit of his own roast beef, and contented himself with half a portion, which was better than if he had eaten it all himself.

The Fourth Little Pig

Unlike his brother, the little pig who had roast beef, this was a most perverse and wilful little pig. No wonder, then, that while his good brother had roast beef, he had none. His mother had set him to learn his lessons, but no sooner had she gone out into the garden, than he tore his book to pieces. He took the poker and forced the leaves through the bars of the grate, and held the poker in his hand until they were all burnt, laughing all the time.

When his mother came back, he did not let her know what he had done. But when she had fallen asleep, he ran off into the streets to play with the other idle little pigs, such as himself.

He was very fond of jumping over the backs of little pigs. Sometimes when the other little pig would refuse to allow him to jump over his back, or would not lend him his top, he would beat the poor pig in a spiteful way. And so it would happen that a number of the little pigs he had so ill-treated would fall upon him together, as you will see. Not having a ball of his own to play with, he thought he would take one away from a weak little pig who could not resist. But very shortly two of the bigger brothers of the little pig he had so robbed came up and gave him a sound beating. When they had done so they ran off and left him crying. He felt quite sorry, now that it was too late, that he had not stayed at home and read over and learned his lessons. He was afraid to go home, too, though he felt very tired and hungry. So he strayed about till it was quite dark and cold, and having lost his cap, he caught a cold in his head. Mrs. Pig at home was quite angry at first at his running away, so she went in search of him, as did also Mr. Pig and his brothers. It was very late indeed when they found him, a great distance from home, for in his terror and fright he had lost his way, and he was put to bed: the doctor came to see him, and left a lot of very nasty physic which he had to take. He was in much pain, and had to lie in bed for more than a week, which never would have happened if he had stayed at home and learned his lessons, instead of running off after destroying his books. And this is why he had no roast beef given to him.

Now you see this little pig was worse off than the one I told you about just now, who was beaten by the spiteful pig, and to whom the little pig who had roast beef was so kind. For that pig had been unjustly beaten, whereas this one had brought all his misfortunes upon himself. And it is much easier to bear a misfortune when we can say "it cannot be helped," than when we are obliged to acknowledge that it was our own fault as this little pig, sitting up in bed, and taking his nasty, bitter medicine, was compelled to do.

The Fifth Little Pig

One day, in the summer-time, Mrs. Pig told all her sons, the five little pigs, that they might go into the country for a whole day. Mr. Pig, the eldest son, asked his brothers whether they would rather spend the day with him, or enjoy it alone, each one by himself. They all agreed to go with him, but one, this little pig that you see crying "Wee! wee! wee!" all the way home.

This little pig bought a new fishing-rod and tackle, and he was anxious to try to fish for the first time. He had made up his mind to fish in a stream that was close by, and so he said he would spend his holiday by himself.

"Very well," said Mrs. Pig, "but you must not go into Farmer Grumpey's grounds, for he is a very severe man, and he carries a great heavy whip."

The little pig told his mother that he did not intend to fish in this farmer's part of the river. Away he went; but he had told his mother a story—he did intend to go into Farmer Grumpey's grounds. When he got there he threw his line into the water, and watched the float for a long time. After a while he saw it bobbing about under the water, and very soon after he dragged an immense fish to land. Piggy took him up into his arms, and started towards home with him; but he soon found the fish was too heavy to be carried in that way, so he tried to drag him along by a string, but even this he found too troublesome a task. So he sat down at the foot of a tree, greatly perplexed in his mind as to what he should do next, biting his nails, and trying to think of some plan by which he might be able to get the fish along. He had only been thus thinking a short time, when he fancied he heard a noise like a growling of a dog, and looking round, to his great terror he discovered it to be nothing less than the gruff voice of Farmer Grumpey himself, who was making toward him with his heavy whip in his hand, shouting out and threatening Piggy with a terrible punishment as soon as he should get near him; so he jumped up, caught the great fish in his arms, and ran off as fast as he could. Farmer Grumpey came too, cracking his whip and shouting out, followed by one of his men. Piggy saw that they were overtaking him, so he dropped his fish and ran faster. But it was no use; poor Piggy was caught by the strong and rough farmer, who said he would cut his back for fishing in his grounds without his consent. So he laid his strong whip over Piggy's back for some time, after which poor Piggy ran off crying "Wee! wee! wee-e-e!!!" all the way home. So now you have heard the story of these five little pigs. You may learn by it that those who are kind to others, and industrious, and good-natured, are sure to find friends and be esteemed, while the idle and ill-natured make themselves hated and despised. I should not forget to mention that I have heard that the idle pig, who had to wear a dunce's cap, became quite an altered character, and indeed grew so clever that he came up to London at last, and made a great name as "Toby, the learned pig." But I only give this as a report.

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