The story about the three little pigs is a very popular story that served as a basis for numerous fairy tales created all around the world in different languages, and the most varied interpretations. Its value is hard to be underestimated as it teaches a lot of important lessons concerning the necessity to be wise and to take care of one’s future to be ready to show steadfastness in the face of difficulties. In the following paper, the three variants of this story interpretation will be considered including the versions by Lang, Jacobs and the Disney version. Generally, all the three interpretations have a lot in common; however, they do feature some slight differences in the lessons they teach, and the methods they use for this.
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Speaking about the similarities and the differences between these variations, the first thing to be considered is the story plot which is, of course, a common part for all the three fairy tales under consideration. The story is about the three little pigs that enter adult life, and, thus, must make provisions for themselves including their own house and safety measures. They are challenged by the big bad wolf, that either eats, kidnaps or the three little pigs. However, one wise little piglet avoids the fate that befalls his siblings and punishes the bad wolf (Marshall, pp. 27-32). In some versions, he even saves his siblings from the bad wolf killing him (Moser, pp. 30-32). In general, all the variety of different fairy-tales about the three little pigs have a few common elements including the examples of unwise conduct strategies of the two older piglets, the practical and winning strategy of the youngest one, the big bad wolf as the embodiment of the wicked reality trying to rob individuals of their joy in life and of life in itself, and, finally, the address to the theme of mutual supportiveness, compassion and mercy shown by the wise little pig towards his careless brothers.
Discussing the similarities between the three fairy-tales under consideration, it should be mentioned that they are many. The main similar element in all the stories is the big bad wolf as the embodiment of life’s hardships (Graham, and Peterson, pp. 4-6, Mauterer, pp. 1-7). Three piglets have no guardian when they face the challenge of the bad wolf. The bad wolf coincidentally appears after the piglets finished building their houses in all three versions of the story. The piglets get separated from each other either, by being eaten, or kidnapped. When the wolf comes to the piglets’ houses, he pretends to be a friend; he disguises his voice and attempts to trick them into opening the door for him. In a third version of the story, three little pigs were curious about the world, and so one day they packed their bags and went on an exploring trip around the big world (Seibert and Horacio, p. 1). The piglets are seemingly wise in this situation since they refuse to open the door when the wolf comes around. This fans the flames of the anger of the wolf, and he then uses force. He huffs and blows the first two houses down (Phillipps, pp. 37-38). In the third story, the wolf tries to break down the walls by force, but the house is too sturdy for him that he ends up hurting himself. He goes home with bleeding and sore fore-paws (Lang and Ford, p. 133). In all three stories, the wolf suffers defeat: for example, in the second story, the wolf gets boiled to his death (Lang and Ford, p. 134). In the first story, the ending is less tragic since the wolf, which is young, gets punished by being grounded for harassing the little pigs. Further, the three piglets also build similar houses in the different stories. The first house is always weaker than the second house, but the third house is strong. In the building process, the weakest house is the first to be completed in the three versions of the story (McDonnell, p. 5). The first two piglets have houses that are to disappear. The third piglet who is wise and brave is the one that escapes the wrath of the wolf.
With regards to the differences in the fairy-tales under consideration, such minor details including names, occupations and habits of the pigs are to be taken into consideration. In ‘The Green Fairy Book’, the author names the little pigs as Blacky, Browney and Whitey. Browney was the eldest piglet, but he was dirty. He would roll around in the mud, and he did not care much for cleanliness (Lang and Ford, p. 129). Whitey, on the other hand, was the second one. He was moderately clever, but he was exceedingly greedy. Lastly, Blacky was smart and clean. He is a good piglet and is foretold to become a prize pig one day (Lang and Ford, p. 130). Browney chose a mud house; Whitey chose a house made of cabbage while Blacky chose a house made of bricks. In the third story, the piglets are named Percy, Pete and Prudence. The piglets were well off since they ran a waffle factory; hence, they each had their own house. Percy had a straw bungalow; Pete had a log cabin while Prudence had a house made of bricks (Kellogg, pp. 1-8). In ‘The Nursery Rhymes of England’, the author does not give the piglet names. This version also mentions that the mother could no longer sustain them, and so she sent them away so that they could fend for themselves. This is different from the other two versions because it implies that the pigs were well off. After all, their mother catered for their respective needs, or the piglets ran a family business. In the story by Jacobs, the piglets had to borrow the building materials (Phillipps, p. 37). The first one built a house of straw, the second a house of furze while the third built a house of bricks (Galdone, pp. 1-4).
As a final point, the three stories under consideration have the same storyline but are slightly different in detail including the little pigs’ names, their habits and occupations. They also have different concepts concerning the fate of the Big Bad Wolf. Commonly for all the three fairy-tales, the first two piglets build weak houses; hence, they are easily destroyed by the wolf; whereas the third piglet who is both wise and hardworking escapes the fate that befalls the other two piglets. All three fairy tales teach that wisdom and diligence are rewarded, and help to conquer even the most troublesome situations such as the wolf’s attack.
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- Graham, Amanda, and Laura Peterson. The three little pigs. Flinders Park, S. Aust.: Era Publications, 2008. Print.
- Kellogg, Steven. The three little pigs. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1997. Print.
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- McDonnell, Janet. The Three Little Pigs. London: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2009. Print.
- Moser, Barry. The three little pigs. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001. Print.
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