Once upon a time, there were four little pigs. I’m sure that you were told that there were only three. Don’t feel bad. Everyone makes that mistake. Perhaps you will understand why after reading this story.
It begins just like the story you have heard so many times before. Little pigs set out to seek their fortune and build themselves homes, each possessing various levels of patience and common sense.
The first pig buys straw bales and makes a house-shaped structure. Perhaps he’s clever enough to look up modern construction methods and use the straw bales for insulation, plastering the straw bales inside and out to prevent mold and decay, and building overhanging eaves to keep the rain out. Perhaps he didn’t. In any case, the story says he finished building rather quickly.
The second pig built with timber. Was it a rough log cabin or something more modern? Did he use durable wood and treat it to protect it from moisture and pests? The story doesn’t say. Pig number two also finished building rather quickly.
The third pig buys brick. It takes him a long time to build a sturdy home. I assume every necessary protection was in place, although apparently his chimney was large enough for a full-grown wolf to crawl inside. This implies that he neglected a chimney cap or that it wasn’t securely fastened in place. He was lucky that flying embers didn’t ignite a house fire before the wolf arrived.
And the fourth pig? Well, I’m sure you can guess. Each pig in this story spends more time building his house and making it more secure. The fourth pig was no exception. He built a castle from stone, surrounded it with a moat, and hired squirrels as archers.
The castle keep was large enough to house and protect many small animals and their families. In exchange for the promise of shelter, they shared guard duties during the construction process. The wolf didn’t stand a chance, and he knew it. He stayed well out of range of the squirrel archers and visited the other three pigs instead.
Their story continued much as you know it. He came, blew down their houses with magical wolf breath or a portable jet engine or a wrecking ball that didn’t work on brick. The three pigs made their final stand in the third pig’s house and won against the wolf.
And the fourth pig learned about the whole mess from their Christmas newsletter. He complained to a nearby sheep that no one ever tells him anything any more, and that they didn’t even mention him once in the newsletter. And then he realized the sheep was really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
In the fuss of getting that resolved and requiring the security guards to undergo more training, the whole thing was forgotten. He didn’t send out newsletters that year, and so everyone only heard about the three little pigs and their adventures. The fourth little pig was fine with that.
Of course, wolves aren’t the only woodland predator. Humans also stalk the woodlands, searching for tiny structures to use in their miniature golf courses. The brick house, which had stood so valiantly against the magic wolf breath or whatever it was, was no match for humans and their house-stealing tools.
The humans rejoiced when they found the castle. They spent days dodging the flaming arrows from the squirrel archers and the boulders sent by catapult. The little animals knew they wouldn’t survive a siege. Humans had more resources, and humans collecting for miniature golf courses were relentless.
Under the cover of the archers and catapults, they dug their way out, surfacing in the woodland not far away. The humans had won. The archers and the last of the guards joined them, collapsing the tunnel behind them.
It was time to build again, perhaps somewhere farther away from human civilization and its miniature golf courses. On their way to somewhere else, they met the three little pigs. “We’re going to build again,” the second pig told them.
“This time, we’ll all build with brick,” the third pig said.
“No we won’t,” the first pig said, looking surprised. “My house was perfect, if it wasn’t for the bad luck with the wolf.”
“Like that would happen again,” the second pig added.
“But it could,” the third pig said.
“So could humans, and we can’t protect against them.” The first pig looked stubborn.
“Well, I’m going to protect against what I can,” the fourth pig said. His friends cheered in agreement.
They went their separate ways. The three little pigs built the same houses again, and their story repeated. The fourth little pig took a lesson from the wolves and he and his friends dressed in human clothing. They built a little village to live in, called it a miniature golf course, and charged admission. Every year, they got another Christmas newsletter from the three little pigs telling the same story, wolf and all. The fourth little pig never bothered to send out any newsletters.