Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs is a fairy tale featuring talking animals. Printed versions date back to the 1840s, but the story itself is thought to be much older.The phrases used in the story, and the various morals which can be drawn from it, have become enshrined in western culture.

Jacobs version

The Tale of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf was included in Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, first published about 1843. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source. The story begins with the title characters being sent out into the world by their mother, to "seek their fortune". This follows a theme, common to fairy tales, in which protagonists leave the familiar abode of their youth and its protection, venturing into an outside existence which turns out to be fraught with danger.

The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The second pig builds a house of sticks, but with the same ultimate result. Each exchange between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases, namely:

"Little pig, little pig, let me come in!"
"Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!"
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!"

The third pig builds a house of hard bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the third little pig out of the house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, whereupon the pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges, at which point the pig quickly covers the pot and cooks the wolf for supper.

The story utilizes the literary Rule of Three, expressed in this case as a "contrasting three", as the third pig's house turns out to be the only one which is adequate to withstand the wolf.

Retellings of the story sometimes omit the attempts to trick the third pig, or state that the first pig ran to the second pig's house, then both of them ran to the third brother's house of bricks. The latter is often an attempt to write out death or violence in the story.

Andrew Lang's version

Variations of the tale appeared in Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings in 1881. The story also made an appearance in Nights with Uncle Remus in 1883, both by Joel Chandler Harris, in which the pigs were replaced by Brer Rabbit. Andrew Lang included it in "The Green Fairy Book", published in 1892, but did not cite his source. In contrast to Jacobs' version, which left the pigs nameless, Lang's retelling cast the pigs as Browny, Whitey, and Blacky. It also set itself apart by exploring each pig's character and detailing interaction between them. The antagonist of this version is a fox, not a wolf. Blacky, the third pig, rescues his brother and sister from the fox's den after killing the fox. The fox looked into the pot to see the pigs were gone, only to mutter the words "well there goes dinner".

The Disney Cartoon

A well-known version of the story is an award-winning 1933 Silly Symphony cartoon, produced by Walt Disney. The production cast the title characters as Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig. The first two are depicted as both frivolous and arrogant. The end of the story has been slightly altered: the wolf is not cooked but instead burns his behind and runs away howling.



The Story of the Three Little Pigs

Once upon a time when pigs spoke rhyme
And monkeys chewed tobacco,
And hens took snuff to make them tough,
And ducks went quack, quack, quack, O!


THERE was an old sow2 with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw, and said to him:

‘Please, man, give me that straw to build a house.’

Which the man did, and the little pig built a house with it. Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said:

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’ To which the pig answered:

‘No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.’ The wolf then answered to that:

‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’

So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.

The second little pig met a man with a bundle of furze and said:

‘Please, man, give me that furze to build a house.’

Which the man did, and the pig built his house. Then along came the wolf, and said:

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’

‘No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.’

"Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’

So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig.

The third little pig met a man with a load of bricks, and said:

‘Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with.’

So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them. So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said:

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’

‘No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.’

‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’

Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he said:

‘Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips.’

‘Where?’ said the little pig.

‘Oh, in Mr Smith’s Home-field, and if you will be ready tomorrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together, and get some for dinner.’

‘Very well,’ said the little pig, ‘I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?’

‘Oh, at six o’clock.’

Well, the little pig got up at five, and got the turnips before the wolf came (which he did about six), who said:

‘Little pig, are you ready?’

The little pig said: ‘Ready! I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner.’

The wolf felt very angry at this, but thought that he would be up to the little pig somehow or other, so he said:

‘Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple tree.’

‘Where?’ said the pig.

‘Down at Merry-garden,’ replied the wolf, ‘and if you will not deceive me I will come for you at five o’clock tomorrow. and get some apples.’

Well, the little pig bustled up the next morning at four o’clock, and went off for the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came; but he had further to go, and had to climb the tree, so that just as he was coming down from it, he saw the wolf coming, which, as you may suppose, frightened him very much. When the wolf came up he said:

‘Little pig, what! are you here before me? Are they nice apples?’

‘Yes, very,’ said the little pig. ‘I will throw you down one.’

And he threw it so far, that, while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the little pig jumped down and ran home. The next day the wolf came again, and said to the little pig:

‘Little pig, there is a fair at Shanklin this afternoon, will you go?’

‘Oh yes,’ said the pig, ‘I will go; what time shall you be ready?’

‘At three,’ said the wolf. So the little pig went off before the time as usual, and got to the fair, and bought a butter-churn, which he was going home with, when he saw the wolf coming. Then he could not tell what to do. So he got into the churn to hide, and by so doing turned it round, and it rolled down the hill with the pig in it, which frightened the wolf so much, that he ran home without going to the fair. He went to the little pig’s house, and told him how frightened he had been by a great round thing which came down the hill past him. Then the little pig said:

‘Hah, I frightened you, then. I had been to the fair and bought a butter-churn, and when I saw you, I got into it, and rolled down the hill.’

Then the wolf was very angry indeed, and declared he would eat up the little pig, and that he would get down the chimney after him. When the little pig saw what he was about, he hung on the pot full of water, and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happy ever afterwards.


Jacobs, Joseph. "The Story of the Three Little Pigs." English Fairy Tales. London: David Nutt, 1890.

Note about this version: Joseph Jacobs referenced one of the first print versions of the tale for his edition. The story appeared in:

Halliwell, James Orchard. Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales. London: John Russell Smith, 1849.