True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
by Mike Walsh
in the Philadelphia Welcomat in 1990
think that you cant tell kids the truth, that you have to give them
cute little fantasies until theyre old enough to know better. But
that attitude underestimates their intelligence. Kids know that stories
about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and pro wrestling
are shams, but they play along with the charade. Why? To work us stupid
adults for all the gifts were worth. So this Christmas skip the
fantasies and give the cunning little schemers the cold, hard facts, and
you can start with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,
by writer Jon Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith.
You see, the
story of the three little pigs has always been based on testimony from
the third pig, the one with the brick house. And since his two brothers
were killed during the tragic events told in the story, his can hardly
be considered an objective perspective. (Didnt Orwell tell us all
we needed to know about the morals of those fat, stinky creatures?) To
set the record straight, Scieszka and Smith went to the source, the wolf,
and they got his story, the true
story, wolfs honor.
His name is
Alexander You can call me Al Wolf. Hes a refined, polite
carnivore in a cardigan, wire-frames, and bow tie, hardly the type to
go around terrorizing unsuspecting, home-owning pigs.
Before he gets
started, however, he bemoans the whole Big Bad Wolf thing.
He points out that his species has been burdened with the task of eating
cute little creatures like bunnies, sheep, and what not, which has unfairly
besmirched their reputation. If cheeseburgers were cute, explains
Al, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad too.
So one day Mr.
Al Wolf, who had a terrible head cold, was making a cake for his granny.
He ran out of sugar, so he trudged off to a neighbors house to borrow
some. This neighbor, a member of the swine family, had a house made of
straw. Real smart, huh? Well, Mr. Wolfs nose cold started acting
up, and he sneezed a great sneeze. The house came tumbling
down, and the resident died. An simple accident. They happen every day.
Like a good
trooper, Al tried to make the best of the situation. It seemed like
a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw,
he explains. So I ate it up. A rational decision and hardly
just cause for being treated so viciously by adult storytellers all these
Anyway, Al still
didnt have his cup of sugar, so he went to the next neighbor, who
also happened to be a pig. This second pig might not have been as dumb
as the first (his house being made of wood), but he certainly was ruder
to our ailing friend. You can probably guess what happened next. Lets
just say that Mr. Wolf had a very powerful sneeze. While looking back
on this second tragedy, Al reminds us that food will spoil if you
just leave it out in the open. Damn straight, and the sooner kids
learn that lesson, the better.
The poor guy
was getting awfully full by the time he made it to the third pigs
house, the one made of brick. Believe it or not, this pig had plenty of
sugar but he wouldnt share any. To make matters worse, this nasty
porker shouted, And your old granny can sit on a pin! Mr.
Wolf understandably took exception to these comments.
cops drove up," explains our flu-ridden friend, I was trying
to break down this Pigs door. And the whole time I was huffing and
puffing and sneezing and making a real scene.
As you might
expect, the cops found out about the other two deceased pigs (although
an investigation turned up nary a trace of either), and the story was
exaggerated to absurd lengths by the press. Al faced a laundry list of
trumped-up charges, and he was summarily convicted and packed-off to the
big house, where he still cant get a cup of sugar. (Life sucks,
This is investigative
journalism at its finest, folks, and the kids of America deserve to know
the truth of this sad tale. Sure, its is a bitter pill to swallow,
but believe me, those savvy little extortionists can handle it.
figures for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs bear me
out on this point. It has sold over 500,000 copies.
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