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An English folk tale retold by Sergej Mikhalkov

The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs

Translated by Peter Tempest
Illustrated by K.Rotov

Once upon a time there were three little pigs who were triplets. They were all the same size, pink and chubby, with similar comical corkscrew tails.

Even their names were similar: Sniffle, Snuffle and Snaffle.

All summer long they rolled in the grass, basked in the sun and lazed in the meadow.

The Three Little Pigs

Then autumn came.

The sun was not so warm as before and grey clouds spread above the yellowing forest.

"It's time to think about winter," said Snaffle one morning when the three little pigs woke up early. "I'm shivering from the cold. We might catch a chill. Let's build a house so we can all winter together under one warm roof."

But his brothers had no wish to set to work. They much preferred spending the Iasi warm days jumping and running about in the meadow, rather than digging and fetching stones.

"There's plenty of time," Sniffle declared. "Winter is still a long way off. We can still have fun." And he turned a somersault.

"I'll build myself a house when I really have to," said Snuffle, flopping on the grass.

"And so shall I," said Sniffle.

"Do as you like then," Snaffle said. "I won't wait for you. I shall build a house all on my own."

The Three Little Pigs

It grew colder and colder every day. But Sniffle and Snuffle were in no hurry. Work was the last thing they wanted to think of. They idled away day after day from dawn till dusk. They did nothing but play their piggy games, go frolicking in the fields and rolling head over heels.

"Today we'll enjoy ourselves," they said, "and tomorrow we'll set to work in the morning."

But when morning came they said exactly the same.

Only when thin ice coated the pond by the road at dawn every day did the two lazy brothers at long last set to work.

The Three Little Pigs

Sniffle decided it would be simpler and quicker to build his own house out of straw. So, not asking anyone for advice, he did just that. By evening his house was already ready.

As he put the last straw into place on the roof he felt so pleased he burst into song:

Here's the house I built of straw,
Built of straw, built of straw.
It's the best you ever saw,
Ever saw, ever saw!

The Three Little Pigs

Still singing his little song, he set off to see Snuffle.

Snuffle was building his own house too, not very far away.

He also wanted to finish his task as soon as possible. At first, like his brother, he thought of building a house of straw. But then he decided a straw house in winter would be very cold. His house would be warmer, and stronger too, if he built it of sticks and stakes.

So he did just that.

He drove stakes into the ground, wove sticks in between them, heaped dry leaves on the roof and by evening his house was already ready.

Snuffle walked round it proudly several times and burst into song:

I made mine of sticks and stakes,
Sticks and stakes, sticks and stakes,
I don't mind if a rainstorm breaks,
A rainstorm breaks, a rainstorm breaks.

The Three Little Pigs

Just as he was finishing his song, Sniffle came running up.

"So your house is ready, too!" said Sniffle. "I told you it wouldn't take us long. We're free now to do whatever we fancy."

The Three Little Pigs

"Let's go to Snaffle and see what sort of a house he has built," said Snuffle. "It's ages since we saw him last."

"Let's go," said Sniffle.

Ever so pleased they had no more worries, the two brothers ran off through the bushes.

For several days Snaffle had been busy building. He fetched stones and mixed mortar and now slowly but surely he was building himself a solid house offering protection from wind, rain and frost.

He made for his house a heavy oak door with a very strong bolt so the wolf that lived in the neighbouring wood would not be able to make his way in.

The Three Little Pigs

Sniffle and Snuffle found their brother hard at work.

"Whatever are you building?" they asked with one voice in great surprise. "It's more like a fortress than a little pig's house!"

"A little pig's house ought to be like a fortress!" Snaffle replied and went on working.

"You're surely not going to war with someone?" Sniffle snorted merrily, while Snuffle winked.

And they both fell into such fits of laughter that their squealing and spluttering could be heard all over the meadow.

The Three Little Pigs

But Snaffle took not the slightest notice. He went on laying the wall of his house, humming a little song:

I'm the wisest of us all,
Of us all, of us all.
I build mine with a strong stone wall,
A strong stone wall, a strong stone wall.

No wild beast by night or day,
Night or day, night or day
Into my house shall force his way,
Force his way, force his way.

"What wild beast?" asked Sniffle.

"What wild beast?" asked Snuffle.

"The grey wolf!" said Snaffle, adding another stone to his wall.

"See how scared he is of the wolf!" said Sniffle.

"He's scared of being eaten up!" said Snuffle.

And they laughed even louder than before.

"Who ever heard of wolves around here?" said Sniffle.

"There aren't any," said Snuffle. "He's just jittery."

And they both began dancing and singing a song:

"We're not scared of any old wolf,
Any old wolf, any old wolf.
Who ever saw that silly grey wolf?
Silly grey wolf, silly grey wolf!

They wanted to tease Snaffle. But Snaffle did not even glance in their direction.

"Let's go, Snuffle," said Sniffle. "There's no point staying here."

And the two brave brothers wandered off. They sang and danced as they strolled along and, entering the wood, they made such a noise they woke up the wolf who was asleep under a pine.

"What's all that noise?" the grey wolf growled. He was angry and hungry. Off he ran to where the noise was coming from, to where the two little pigs were squealing and spluttering.

The Three Little Pigs

"Who ever heard of wolves around here?" Snuffle was saying, who had only seen wolves in picture books.

"We'll pinch his nose till it hurts," said Snuffle, who also had never seen a real live wolf.

Again they giggled and burst into song:

"We're not scared of any old wolf,
Any old wolf, any old wolf.
Who ever saw that silly grey wolf?
Silly grey wolf, silly grey wolf!

The Three Little Pigs

Suddenly they saw the wolf — a real live wolf.

There he was, behind a very tall tree. He looked so fierce, he had such wicked eyes and such big teeth that Sniffle and Snuffle felt a chill run down their little spines and their tiny tails quivered with fear. The poor little pigs stood rooted to the spot.

The wolf gnashed his teeth, batted one eye and was just about to pounce when the little pigs suddenly came to their senses and, squealing at the top of their voices, took to their heels. They had never run so fast in all their lives. With their heels flashing, raising clouds of dust, each little pig ran back to his house.

The Three Little Pigs

Sniffle was the first to reach his house of straw and only just managed to shut the door in the wolf's face.

"Open the door this minute," the wolf cried, "or I'll break it in!"

"I won't," squealed Sniffle, "I won't open the door."

"Open it this minute," the wolf cried again, "or I'll blow so hard I'll blow your house down."

Sniffle was too frightened to make any reply.

The Three Little Pigs

So the wolf began to blow.

Straw flew from the roof of the house and the walls shook. He took another breath and blew a second time.

The third time he blew the straw house flew in all directions as if a hurricane had struck it. The wolf snapped his jaws within an inch of Sniffle's heels. But Sniffle skilfully dodged him and ran away. Within a minute he was at Snuffle's door.

The Three Little Pigs

The two little pigs only just had time to slam the door to before they heard the wolf outside saying:

"Now I shall eat up the two of you!"

Sniffle and Snuffle exchanged frightened glances. But now the wolf was feeling tired and decided to resort to cunning.

The Three Little Pigs

In a loud voice that could be heard inside the house he said: "I've changed my mind. I don't want to eat those skinny little pigs. I'm going home."

"Did you hear that?" Sniffle asked Snuffle. "He said he's not going to eat us because we're skinny!"

"That's wonderful," said Snuffle, and at once he stopped trembling.

The Three Little Pigs

The two brothers cheered up and in a little while, as if nothing had happened, they burst into song:

"We're not scared of any old wolf,
Any old wolf, any old wolf.
Who ever saw that silly grey wolf?
Silly grey wolf, silly grey wolf!

But the wolf had not the slightest intention of going home. He went to one side and there lay low. He chuckled and felt like laughing out loud. "How cunning I am," he said to himself. "I'll fool these little pigs."

When they had quite - calmed - down, the wolf took a sheepskin and crept up to the house. On the doorstep he covered himself with the sheepskin and tapped on the door.

The Three Little Pigs

Sniffle and Snuffle were very frightened.

"Who's there?" they asked and their tiny tails began quivering again.

"It's me-e-e, a little la-a-amb!" said the wolf in a piping voice. "Let me in for the ni-i-ight. I've lost my wa-a-ay and I'm ve-e-ery tired."

"Shall we let him in?" kind-hearted Sniffle asked his brother.

"Why, of course," said Snuffle. "It's a lamb, not a wolf!"

But the moment they opened the door they saw the fierce wolf there. They slammed the door to and pressed against it as hard as they could to keep the wolf out.

The Three Little Pigs

The wolf was furious. His ruse had failed. He threw off the sheepskin and roared:

"Just you wait! I'll see to it nothing is left of your house!"

And he started to blow. The house shook a little. The wolf blew a second time, a third time and a fourth.

Leaves flew from the roof and the walls shook, but the house still stood.

Only when he blew for the fifth and final time did the house rock violently and collapse. The door alone stood for a while amid the wreckage.

The Three Little Pigs

Horrified, the little pigs took to their heels. Their legs were numb, every bristle of their bodies quivered and their snouts grew dry. As fast as they could they ran to Snaffle's house.

The wolf went bounding along after them. At one time he nearly caught Sniffle by the foot, but Sniffle pulled it away just in time and put on speed.

The wolf too started running faster. He was sure the little pigs would not get away this time.

The Three Little Pigs

But again he was out of luck.

The pigs darted round an apple-tree without even touching it. But the wolf saw it too late and ran smack into the tree, bringing all the apples tumbling down on his head. One hard apple hit him right between the eyes and a big lump rose on his forehead there.

The Three Little Pigs

Meanwhile Sniffle and Snuffle reached Snaffle's house.

Snaffle let them in. His brothers were so scared they couldn't say a thing. They dashed under the bed and there they hid. Snaffle gathered at once that the wolf was chasing them. But in his stone house he had nothing to fear. He shut and barred the door, sat on a stool and at the top of his voice began to sing:

No wild beast by night or day,
Night or day, night or day
Into my house shall force his way,
Force his way, force his way.

The Three Little Pigs

The very next moment there was a knock on the door.

"Who is there?" Snaffle asked in a very calm voice.

"Open up and be quick!" the wolf demanded.

"Not on my life!" Snaffle replied. "I would not dream of doing any such thing."

"Indeed? You'll see! I'll eat up all three of you."

"Just you try!" Snaffle replied from behind the door, still sitting on his stool. He knew that in a house of solid stone he and his brothers had nothing to fear.

The Three Little Pigs

The wolf drew the deepest breath he could and blew as hard as he could. But no matter how hard or how many times he blew, not one stone, not even the tiniest, moved.

The wolf grew blue in the face from blowing.

The house of stone stood as firm as a fortress. The wolf began hammering on the door. But the door too did not move an inch.

The Three Little Pigs

In fury the wolf began clawing the walls and gnawing the stones of which they were built. But all that happened was he split his claws and broke his teeth. The wicked hungry wolf had no choice now but to go back home.

Just then he looked up and saw the chimney.

"Aha!" he exclaimed in great delight. "I'll get into the house through that big chimney."

He climbed up onto the roof gingerly and cocked his ears. All was quiet in the house.

"I'll have pork for supper today for sure," he said to himself and, smacking his lips, he popped into the chimney.

The Three Little Pigs

But the moment he started climbing down it the little pigs heard the noise he was making.

And when soot began falling on the lid of the cooking pot clever Snaffle guessed what was happening.

He ran to the pot, in which water was boiling on the fire, and took off the lid.

"Welcome!" he said and winked at his brothers.

Sniffle and Snuffle felt quite safe now and they smiled at their brave and clever brother.

The three little pigs did not have to wait long. Black as a chimney-sweep, the wolf dropped straight into the boiling water.

The Three Little Pigs

Never before in all his life had he felt so hot.

His eyes popped and every hair on his back bristled. With a roar of fury the scalded wolf flew back up the chimney onto the roof.

The Three Little Pigs

He fell from the roof down onto the ground, rolled head over heels four times in a row, then dashed past the door with his tail between his legs and at full speed raced away into the forest.

The Three Little Pigs

Then they sang their merry song:

Of all houses East or West
East or West, East or West,
Our stone house is much the best,
Much the best, much the best.

No wild beast by night or day,
Night or day, night or day
Into our house shall force his way,
Force his way, force his way.

The old grey wolf who lives in the wood,
Lives in the wood, lives in the wood
Won't come back. He's gone for good,
Gone for good, gone for good.

From that time on the three brothers lived happily together under one roof.

And that's all we know about the three little pigs — Sniffle, Snuffle and Snaffle.

The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs

Author: English folk tale; illustrated by Rotov K.

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