The Three Little Pigs (A Retelling)


It's the end of the year and I imagine most people are distracted with the holidays, so I decided on something light for the last post of the year.

My daughter (almost 3) is obsessed with the three little pigs. After hearing the story for the millionth time, I started over-thinking the  "moral" of the story. It is supposed to be "put in the work and you will reap the reward".

Maybe I had heard it too many times, but I started hearing the moral: "go big and expensive right away" and also "only help your family when they are in dire straights instead of on a day-to-day basis".

So, I decided to retell the story, featuring lessons in incremental building!

The Three Little Incremental Pigs

Once upon a time there were three little pigs who lived with their mother. The pigs grew and grew until one day, their mother said, “this house isn’t big enough for all of us anymore. The three of you must move out and build your own houses. I will miss you dearly”.

The three pigs set out and before long, they found a great spot to build their houses. The first pig decided to build her house out of straw. The second pig built his house out of sticks. The third pig built her house out of bricks.

It wasn’t long before a Big Bad Wolf came to their neighborhood. He came across the first little pig’s house, which was modest, but had been easy to build and met the first little pig’s needs. Since the house was made of straw, the Big Bad Wolf was sure he could blow it down and have that pig as a nice snack. Just as he was about to approach it, he saw that the second little pig was still struggling to build his house out of sticks. He had a bigger, grander vision for his house and he hadn’t had time to complete it. So, instead of wasting his breath, he started chasing the second little pig and they ran all around the countryside.

Eventually, the second little pig was able to escape from the pursuing wolf and made his way back home. While he was gone, the first little pig had used the extra sticks from her brother’s stick house to build another room on her house and to fortify the main house. The first little pig told her brother that he should move in with her!

It wasn’t long before the Big Bad Wolf came back to their neighborhood to try his luck with the first little pig again. He was surprised to see the house was now made of straw and sticks. It would take a little more effort, but he still thought he could blow it down and get his snack. He was about to start huffing and puffing when he looked over and saw the third pig, living in a crumbling brick house.

You see, the third pig was just starting out in the world and had a grand vision for an opulent brick house. However, without much in the way of savings, she couldn’t quite afford her vision and had to cut corners in the construction and the house cracked and fell down in places. She had also taken out a bunch of debt to build the house that she was struggling to pay back, so she couldn’t afford to fix the house over time. The Big Bad Wolf saw an easy entrance and instead of wasting his breath on the straw and stick house, he started chasing the third little pig and they ran all around the countryside.

Eventually, the third little pig was able to escape and she made her way back to the neighborhood. While she was away, she found that the first little pig had taken many of her bricks to fortify and expand her house. By now, the first and second little pig, sharing a house, had been able to accumulate some wealth. Between selling the remaining bricks, selling the land, and contributing out of their own savings, they were able to pay off the third little pig’s debt for her!

Meanwhile, the first house now had enough room for all three pigs. The third little pig moved into the house with the other two and while they sometimes argued with each other, they loved living together and wondered why they had split up in the first place.

One day, the Big Bad Wolf came back around and, seeing no other options decided to try to blow the straw/stick/brick house down. Try as he might, the house would not budge, and the Big Bad Wolf left with no snack. Meanwhile, the little pigs were accumulating more and more wealth and limiting their expenses, living as frugally as they could. They would sometimes go back to visit their mother, who now lived alone in her house. Mother Pig was finding it more and more difficult to keep her house all by herself as she aged.

So, the three little pigs built an accessory dwelling unit in their yard. Mother Pig sold her house and they all lived together again, just as they had in the beginning. It may seem as though they went through a whole lot of trouble for nothing, but they had learned a valuable lesson and appreciated living with each other and supporting each other much more than they had before.

The End.

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