This post will take a look at The Three Little Pigs. It is a very well known story from English folklore. As far as I can find out it was first written by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. A couple of years later it was published by Joseph Jacobs in English Fairy Tales and Andrew Lang’s Green Fairy Book too.
The story talks about three pigs. Every one of them is seeking for his own home, but the first build it of straw, the second of wood and third of bricks. When wolf enters the scene he can blow down first and the second house, but can not do much about the third one.
The story about three little pigs teaches us we should spend some time to take care of our safety, set some foundations for our lives before we commit to pleasures.
Three Little Pigs by John Rea Neill
And here comes some interesting thoughts about this classic fairy tale:
- There are many known variations of this fairy tale. In some of them, the first two pigs die and only last one survives, in some first runs to second pig’s house, then both run to third pig’s house and at the end, they all survive. There are also versions where we have rabbits instead of pigs or two boys and a girl who is smartest of all. The fate of the wolf also varies. In some versions, he blows himself up, in some version last pig eats him and in some versions he survives and is just disappointed. And there are also versions where his role is taken by the fox.
- Psychoanalysis is looking at this story as an example of different phases of growing up. Only the last pig has enough maturity to properly care of his home and consequently himself, so he deserves to survive. On the symbolic level, he proves he is a grown-up. The younger two pigs are still too childish (they both rush to finish their houses so they can play for the rest of the day), so they are incapable to survive. Looking at the story through this explanation, there is no problem if the wolf eats them because a child as a listener will identify himself with all of the pigs: first two are just the phases on his way to the third pig (maturity) who is a certain winner.
- The story of Three Little Pigs is pretty exceptional in one more aspect. We can find magic number three in a lot of fairy tales, but in most cases, the winner is the youngest of protagonists. Here we have a different situation. The oldest pig is the only one capable to take all responsibilities coming with living on his own, so he is the winner.
The fairy tale of Three Little Pigs is full of symbolism, so I guess you can easily add some interesting thoughts too!