Three Little Pigs Told in the Voice of the Iliad

Nick Sherrard ’15

“Sing, Goddess, sing” of the misfortune of the Three Little Pigs– (1.1)

that foolishness which condemned two of the three

to a gruesome demise by the jaws of the wolf,

leaving the third to lament over their deaths–

“all in fulfillment of the will of Zeus” (1.6).

 

Start at the point where the three pigs

left their old sow and set out into the world.

“Which of the gods incited these” pigs to leave? (1.8)

 

That god was Pan, son of Hermes and

Dionysus.

 

Intent on sending the pigs

to live all on their own,

so they may follow the

path set by pigs before–

To provide a meal for

some beast or to survive

to raise more pigs for this.

 

“Tell me now, you Muses

living on Olympus,”

what the first two pigs chose (16.111).

The first two of the pigs,

went together to the west.

On their way, they walked by

many farms with hay bales.

 

One said to a farmer,

hoping to get some hay.

 

“Farmer,

skilled in agriculture,

master of growing food,

can you lend me some hay?

 

The first pig spoke. The man

complied and gave him hay.

He went and built a hay

house since it was less work

and the two pigs figured

they could fend off a wolf

without a big strong house.

“The fools! Pallas Athena

had robbed them of their wits” (18.233).

 

The other pig chose to

make his house out of sticks

that he found in the woods.

He stacked them up like walls

and went inside to rest.

 

Along came a big wolf,

favorite of Ares,

who was very hungry.

The wolf blew down the house
made only of weak hay.

Just like blasts of strong winds

that blow leaves off of trees–

That is how the wolf blew.

He sunk his jaws into

the first pig’s fragile skin.

Darkness covered his eyes.

 

The wolf walked down the road

and saw the wooden house.

The warlike wolf wanted

to reach the pig inside.

He blew it down and faced

the second of the pigs

who returned his dark glare,

refusing the strong urge

to flee from certain death.

He knew that facing the

pig killing wolf and death

would bring him more honor

than if he tried to run.

The wolf admired him

for his bravery and

his acceptance of his

inevitable fate.

However, he still lunged

at the pig and tore at

his throat without mercy.

The pig hit the dust and

darkness came over him.

 

Once the wolf ate his fill,

he returned to the road

and then continued on.

 

Meanwhile, the third pig went

his own separate way

and built a sturdy house

of unbreakable bricks

crafted by Hephaestus.

Inside there were beautiful

tapestries, cloths, and cups

like that of a rich king.

Barrels full of sweet wine

and piles of preserved meat

rested in the corner.

The wolf approached this house

and tried to blow it down.

Just like an eastern wind

blowing over mountains

that are not moved at all–

that is how the wolf blew

at the pig’s strong brick house.

The pig chose to remain

in his house and enjoy

his many possessions

rather than going out

to engage the wolf in

combat for some honor.

The wolf tried to enter

the house through the chimney,

but the smart pig boiled

water in his cauldron

made of the finest bronze.

He placed the cauldron

in his fireplace that was

decorated with gold

and carved from fine cedar.

The brutish wolf fell in

the beautiful cauldron

just before the pig placed

the heavy lid on top.

The pig ate great amounts

of the delicious meal,

and that was the last of

the great pig killing wolf.

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