Once upon a time, and lets's be thankful it was once, and only once. In a land that is still around more than likely but as time passes had gone through such a multitude of different titles it no longer matters what it was originally called. There existed a trio of brothers their names are not important. Not that they aren’t important more to the effect that names were not important to them. You see naming things and creatures is a rather human habit and these brothers were not of the human persuasion. The brothers were in fact swine, in the literal sense although by no means the same type that we humans know in this day and age. As you might have ascertained this is the story that over the generations and countless retelling would come to be known as The Three Little Pigs. As stories cross the centuries they become twisted, embellished, and warped. The true story is often lost in the miasma of the ages or to the perilous whimsy of writers, but all truly enduring fables persevere despite being little more than useful lies in part because the best lies always have a grain of truth to them. This is the original tale of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The story is a bit more literal than one might think. Allegories hadn’t been in vogue at the time you see.
The three little pigs were not so little. This was a detail tacked on as time went by to make them more sympathetic, in fact, these pigs were roughly the size of a person and shared mankind's preference for bipedal motion. These pigs were not typical swine by any stretch of the imagination. They were capable of using tools, and speech, wore clothes of a sort, and had knowledge and skills equivalent if not surpassing many humans in terms of craftsmanship and artistry. These pigs were civilized and respected although their strange appearance and proclivities did not lead to direct persecution by most humans coexistence in the city proved socially awkward and thus they elected to set up their own village away from the slack-jawed stares of the ignorant.
The brothers would settle in secluded woods not far from the lands of man, but assuredly off the beaten path enough to avoid being disturbed. The brothers may not have possessed names but they did in fact possess a sense of humor when naming their new home. Among a clearing in the densely wooded area sat three homesteads at the end of a winding path that traversed the nearby woods. At the entrance to the clearing stood an immaculately carved wooden sign that read; Ham-let. Population. 3
Inside the delightful hamlet stood three homesteads, one for each of the brothers. The choice of materials a reflection of the brother and to a degree their work ethic or paranoia.
The first home belonged to the youngest brother, and it was constructed primarily of straw, grasses, and other lightweight materials. A ramshackle collection held together by little more than faith. The youngest brother was carefree, always having his needs taken care of by his older brothers he had developed the habit of doing everything to the bare minimum. Thus allowing more time to indulge in whatever slovenly activity he desired.
The middle brother was notably more practical than his younger sibling but lacked the obsessive personality of his older brother. He opted for a larger home created from the abundant supply of wood. A finely crafted home, functional but ornately decorated with carvings and flourishes. The middle brother loved woodworking, and his home was a testament to his passion.
The oldest brother was a bit much and one of the reasons the brothers had ultimately decided to move away. It was hoped the outdoors and isolation would help stabilize his mental health. Being the oldest and having been thrust with the responsibility to care for his lackwit brothers he had developed an anxious personality which grew into an ever-increasing sense of paranoia. The way the humans looked at them hungrily must have just been his imagination but he could never shake the feeling. The final home was minuscule by comparison to the others and a temple to paranoia. The eldest brother had created a utilitarian structure, more akin to a bunker than a house. Thick slabs of solid stone and ironwork features. It was a panic room parading as a home.
The brothers lived peacefully, Seldom disturbed they existed blissfully ignorant of the world. That was until one day when an unwelcome guest would come to visit, who had heard tales of three man-sized succulent pigs who lived in isolation. What a perfect location for a banquet occasion.
The sun hung lazily in the sky, as a shadow moved swiftly through the trees. With nary a sound, it covered vast swathes of land spurred by the smell of the hunt. It approached the clearing, licking its lips and savoring its pending feast, the three homes reflecting in its coal-black eyes. The Big Bad Wolf skulked around Ham-let, checking escape paths and watching the pig's movements or lack thereof in the case of two-thirds of them.
One delectably pudgy pig lay semi-conscious outside a house of straw, surrounded by devastated mugs of what the wolf's finely tuned nose could coax from the scents on the breeze to be some form of crude moonshine. The swine was tanning idly in the sun.
How considerate of it to prebake itself. Thought the wolf.
Besides a rather impressive cabin, another porker was chipping away at a robust yet exquisite wooden statue of some strange-looking boar inscribed with a variety of hogwash symbols. That’s a bit odd, hope he doesn’t taste as strange as his strange tastes.
There was another, he could tell not by sight but by smell. The odor of cooked root vegetables, (likely tubers) was wafting out of the small circular openings of some stunted slab of stone on the far edge of the clearing. Fattening itself up for me, these really are such considerate swine!
There appeared to be no paths out of the hamlet aside from the main path and no other creatures around, with this the wolf decided it was time for dinner. It stalked inward crossing behind the stone house, taking the long way around towards the tanning swine, when suddenly his paw brushed up against something. An almost invisible line snapped and a series of bells erupted around the hamlet.
From a metal cone atop the stone structure came a blaring announcement. “Security Breach!! This is not a drill!”
The sharp noises roused the idle sun-baked porker in a panic as it dove into the house of straw, at the same moment the industrious pig with a penchant for wood craft bolted inside the cabin, swiftly followed by the sound of barricades being locked into position. Shutters slammed on the stone fortress, but little else changed except for the acrid smell of fear replacing the lingering scent of boiled tubers.
The wolf ravenous, and with the element of surprise evaporated thought diplomacy perhaps more expedient than force decided to address the pigs.
“Good evening, I am but a weary traveler looking for lodging for the night!”
From the windows of the two homes, and a mounted loudspeaker of the stone bunker came the reply in unison. “The hell you are, we aren’t stupid wolf!”
“Little pigs, little pigs let me in!” the wolf replied.
“Not by the hairs on our chinny chin chins!” They retorted, with an underserved level of smugness. The wolf's demanding stomach growled and irritation surmounted his patience. All pretense of civility dropped away.
“Your chins are as barren as bacon strips, you’re alone out here swine! You can resist if you wish but in the end, you're already mine! Now come out and save me the struggle, lest I reduce these hovels to ash and rubble. Come quietly, let me dine, and I’ll make your passing swift.”
The only response was the shuttering of the windows, as the pigs prepared for the siege, as the wolf lost himself to a ravenous bloodlust.
Snarling with rage the wolf descended upon the straw house with supernatural speed. Stopping abruptly at the door to unleash a roar so utterly violent and forceful it shook the ramshackle home to its core, blowing away whatever luck was holding it upright all this time. The Wolf struck down the door. The entire house collapsed in a heap of straw, grass, and weeds, burying the drunken swine within. The Wolf savagely tore into the piles of straw shredding them and searching for the tender inhabitant. Fortunately for the youngest brother the detritus of the collapse created multiple piles hiding his various possessions, providing multiple body-shaped targets for the Wolf and his fury. The lucky distraction allowed the youngest brother to escape to the wooden house with enough time for the middle brother to unlock and pry the door open just enough to let him in before the two brothers slammed it shut and proceeded to pile everything they could behind it.
The wolf's lucidity returned, as it heard the slam of the wooden door, abandoning the fruitless straw piles and darting towards the wooden outpost, picking up momentum as it ducked into a full charge.
Inside the wooden sanctuary, the brothers had a brief exchange, as they continued to buttress the weighty oaken door with every piece of furniture they could move.
“He huffed and he puffed and he blew my house in! It’s a hell beast with tornado breath! We are toast!” Slurred the youngest, in a panic.
“It didn’t blow your house down you git! your crap lousy excuse for carpentry gave out as soon as he pushed the walls! Now pay attention and shut yer mouth, he doesn’t have us yet. My home master crafted and he can’t fit through the windows, as long as that door holds we will be fine, and it's reinforced!” Spat the middle brother, pausing from his task to deliver a series of sobering slaps to the panic-stricken sibling. The youngest shook in shock at the sudden barrage and was about to protest when the relative quiet was split asunder as an avalanche of muscle and teeth collided with the door. The hinges creaked, and the door buckled slightly but held, pushing the amassed furniture bulwark marginally. Moments later a second crash as the wolf struck the adjacent wall, but it too held. The middle brother was indeed a master craftsman and the walls were sturdy.
“See! I knew it would hold. Wolves aren’t meant to smash. It can claw all it wants but these walls will hold!” the middle brother squealed with delight. The younger brother joined in the jubilation at their victory.
From the embrasures in the stone house, the eldest brother watched intently as the wolf paced around the wooden home several times, inspecting it before it turned away to gather speed for another run, but this seemed different. Realization struck the eldest brother as he dashed for the loudspeaker to warn his brothers.
The pigs had grown confident, to the point of taunting the wolf, but had received no retort from the monster. They only eased their tirade upon hearing panicked shouting from the loudspeaker. As they went silent to listen to the warning they heard it, the unmistakable creak of wood under oppression, and the thud of footsteps above them. The brother's eyes darted to a small skylight in the ceiling, as a wolf howl shattered the tension, a heartbeat later the glass followed suit shattering in a profane rain of shards as murderous jaws found purchase on the edges of the opening. Timber crunched and splintered, the wood wailing in protest as it was pulped beneath the massive jaws of the Big Bad Wolf. Reeling back and tearing away a sizeable chunk of the roof. The color drained from their faces as the Wolf's massive maw filled the newly rend wound in the ceiling. A cold malevolence in the eyes matched a toothy smirk, as the wolf looked down upon the terrified swine. Just as the Wolf had thought, the walls were reinforced, but the roof was not. The Wolf began to thrash the opening with claw and fang sloughing away the protective shell with each motion. The pigs screamed in terror as the middle brother slammed open a nearby hatch in the floor and grabbed his stunned brother pulling him down into the cellar, at the exact moment the roof gave way, and the wolf glided in with all the grace of the angel of death itself. The snapping of the Wolf's jaw filled the tiny storage area and teeth grazed hog flesh but, as it lunged further its teeth found purchase in wood and dirt, not pig.
An escape tunnel had been dug in the cellar, and the brothers had narrowly managed to get inside. The Wolf took one look at the direction and knew where it ended. The last bastion of these thrice-damned swine.
The stone house was a fortress, and no matter how mighty he was, he would not be able to acquire the morsels inside by brute force. The pigs knew this, the oldest brother once again the savior. They were safe and they knew it this time, his meticulous nature and paranoia had ensured the bunker had no structural flaws to exploit or lack of supplies. They had a stockpile of food, water, and firewood, and although cramped with the three of them they could survive a siege for many moons. The Wolf was starving, they would outlast their foe. They celebrated, with drinks and dinner as a taunt to the wolf they wafted the delicious scents out the windows as they gorged.
Agility and strength had failed, cunning would sate his desires this eve. No more playing with my food. It’s time to end this.
As the pigs feasted they watched the wolf, as he returned to the wooden house, and empowered by spite proceeded to demolish it in a fit of rage in full view of the trio. Working tirelessly until its heavy breathing could be heard across the distance between them.
The huffing and puffing referred to in the most common iteration of the story wasn’t actually in reference to any type of blowing. It was the labored breathing of the mighty masticating machine known as the big bad wolf during the momentous exertion of force it used to reduce the wooden house to a tattered pile of toothpicks and broken dreams. When it says huff and puff what it actually meant was to annihilate through savagery.
After the house was reduced to little more than a few walls and collections of haphazard timber, the wolf took some time to rest slinking out of view of the trio, its fury spent. Unbeknownst to the pigs the Big Bad Wolf had put a diabolical plan into motion, and they had witnessed theatre.
The Wolf crept back to the remains of the straw house, using his sense of smell to uncover what he’d noticed earlier. Several barrels of moonshine lay hidden beneath the straw. Snatching up a couple, and a generous helping of straw he returned to the ruins of the wooden house. The sections that remained had been left intentionally and other sections damaged and repositioned to block openings and lines of sight, allowing him to access the cellar and flank the stone house undetected. For the next few hours, he worked covertly enacting his grand plan.
The pigs didn’t dare leave the safety of the stone, but they began to suspect something was up. It was too quiet for too long. As the pigs gazed out of the embrasures suddenly one by one in rapid succession with a clatter of wood scraping stone the light of the setting sun was snuffed out. A panic gripped the trio, as the oldest dashed to the main door, and shifted the peephole cover to gaze outside. They jostled for position but none of them managed to catch sight of the wolf. As they all peered outwards their view was suddenly usurped by the grinning visage of the boar statue, as the wolf with a grand roar spiked it into the ground from the roof above with a meteoric impact. Wedging it into the ground, pinning the door shut.
The pigs screamed at the sudden appearance of the grim totem and stumbled back falling all over each other.
“Where in the hell did you come up with the idea for that ghastly thing anyway!? Screeched the oldest brother in misdirected anger as he lashed out in shock.
“It came to me in a dream! It’s called inspiration!” countered the middle brother defensively, as they both took a breath in preparation to bicker as only siblings could the youngest cut them off.
“Do you guys smell that? Smells like liquor, and burning,” he said walking towards the open hatch to the cellar, eyes widening in horror at the collection of barrels that had been rolled down the tunnel now sitting in a leaky pile. The glow of fire traced rapidly through the darkness, sliding along the slicked trail hungry to embrace the barrels. He instinctively slammed the hatch closed.
A deafening boom shook the hamlet as the barrels ignited, collapsing the tunnels and filling the cellar in a hellish blaze. Smoke started to waft up through the minute cracks in the hatch as it became warm to the touch. Realizing what the wolf planned, the oldest tried to open the chimney flue, but no air moved out. The chimney had been stuffed with straw as well as the cracks by the windows. They returned to the peephole in the door, the only remaining option to vent the smoke, but it would not be nearly enough to prevent disaster. The boar statue met them again, now it had been set aflame, a burning effigy, a grotesque parody of their own fate.
Peering past the statue, the Wolf stood holding the welcome sign in one clawed hand. As they watched he took a finger and scratched out the population 3.
“Well done or raw it’s up to you.” Laughed the Wolf.
The three brothers exchanged solemn glances, and silently reached a consensus. They would die as they lived, as brothers, together.
“You live up to your reputation. Big Bad Wolf! We will come out. Please just make it swift, better by fang than flame.” They said as they unlocked the door.
“Sensible, I will grant you that wish, my worthy quarry.”
The wolf sauntered up savoring victory, as it plucked the flaming statue from the earth and tossed it back over his head like an infernal cabre, it landed with enough force to impale itself upright once again. The pigs held hands, closed their eyes, and accepted fate.
They felt nothing as the razor-sharp claws sliced through all three in one fluid motion. They fell to the earth as their lifeblood watered the grass of their once-peaceful hamlet.
One might assume this is where the story ends with the pigs slain and the Wolf victorious, but this tale was never about the pigs.
The sky darkened and clouded, the air itself seeming to mourn the loss. The Wolf laughed and prepared to devour one of the pigs, planning to eat one now and then cook the other two in the stone oven he’d engineered; when the rain began and the rumble of thunder took his attention. There was something wrong with the thunder, ears perking up as he recognized the noise. Not thunder, this was a different type of storm. Humans and hooves, many of them. The impacts heavy and rapid; riders approaching fast.
A moment later from the path burst forth a contingent of knights, archers, and other armed accompaniment, quickly forming a phalanx and crescent moon perimeter around the hunched form of the wolf, as it squatted obscuring its prizes.
A figure adorned in resplendent armor advanced. Bowstrings drawn taught by a dozen other arms, waiting on the signal to let loose.
“Hail Wolf! These pigs are under the protection of the king! No harm shall befall them. You’re to lea..
“Bore me not, tin-clad long pig” The wolf interrupted. “Begone, and take your toy soldiers with you lest my limited patience meet my endless hunger. Your weapons can do little to me, I am no mere wolf.” He menaced, standing upright and rising to its full height as the rain intensified into fat-heavy droplets.
The Big part of the Big Bad Wolf was not hyperbole, it stood a monstrous fifteen-foot-tall, a pillar of feral majesty. Its claws extended to catch the reflections of the firelight of the burning statue which remained lit despite the rain. Steam poured off its surface as the embers burned brightly.
The soldiers backed up involuntarily, as a braver figure rode forward.
“These pigs must not come to harm! This is not about honor for the king or promises made, we are sent to prevent calamity! Tell me the swine still live!?” lectured the hooded figure.
A blood-flecked smirk manifested on the wolf's face. The sky rumbled with the odd cadence of a phlegmy cough. The delicious aroma of sizzling bacon filled the air, as it took on a meaty tang. Glancing over he noticed the pigs were nowhere close to the house, and there was no apparent fire aside from the statue. The rain began to sizzle as it struck the earth. His tongue reached out and sampled the thick drops, it wasn’t water but something greasy. The pool of blood beneath the pigs glowed vivid red mixing with the rain and as if alive snaked into circles surrounding the burning statue.
“Fool of a wolf! The prophecy!” Scolded the human.
Straws, sticks, and stone
Reduced to gristle, blood, and bone
An effigy of dream alight,
The demon wakes this night.
The sky will weep, the land will heave and on the meek, the beast shall feed
Vanguard for the end of times
Hambolgia, harbinger rise!!
“You’ve doomed us all!” The man spat acidly.
The moment the blood touched the effigy, the carcass of the three pigs exploded, flesh, bones, and all manner of effluvia coalescing in a swirling mass over the idol. Wrapping it in a profane cocoon. Eldritch sigils burned as it sunk into the ground, creating a widening crater around it as the land sank away only to be filled with a black grease that stank of iron.
The captain gestured a charge, as from the fetid pool two gigantic bone yellow tusks protruded, preceding the emergence of the bloated mountain of flesh which one could call a body, shaped after the image of an ancient boar, but utterly alien simultaneously. Jagged wild fur, the texture of wrought iron, covering all but the face. Beneath the skin pressing outwards as if trying to escape the faces of the three little pigs could be seen. The coagulated black ooze fully formed into the nightmare that stood before them. Hambolgia opened its mouth and squealed with rapture, Its stomach emitting a turgid gurgle that seemed to come from everywhere all at once, as the greasy rain began to descend in a torrent.
“Dear Big. Bad. Wolf. My deepest gratitude for playing your part perfectly, and you even brought me snacks! What a lovely welcome. I’m touched.” It chuckled without moving its mouth, its voice the texture of coarse stone, broken teeth, and tar.
“Don’t flatter yourself, am I supposed to know or care who you are?” The Wolf replied in a snide dismissive tone accompanying a disinterested wave of this claw.
“You may not know me little wolf, but ohhh I know of you. There are many below sent by your hand. You’re a bit of a known quantity and from one prolific murderer to another it’s truly an honor to be the one who’ll grind the Big Bad Wolf's bones into dust and gargle your blackened soul. As a courtesy, I’ll let you be one of the last to die, when I devo.."
The whistle of arrows cut off the demons sure to be long-winded rambling as the archers unleashed. The arrows sparked as they deflected off the iron fur. The knights braced to charge but as their horses moved they stumbled, slipping on the grease-slicked ground.
The demon chuckled, powerful hindquarters launching it forward with the force of a locomotive it bolted faster than anything its size had the right to move. It plowed through the disorganized knights, sickening crunches as a rider and horse were trampled under the tectonic force of colossal hooves, massive tusks sweeping back and forth thrashing those that attempted to run, sending others flying through the air only to land broken in the muck and mire.
Those that avoided the onslaught struggled to bring their horses around as the ground turned into a churning slop, feet struggling to find adequate purchase. Hambolgia faced the collection of struggling creatures and inhaled with the force of a vortex, the air and all manner of loose detritus sucked away instantly. The humans screamed as glowing silhouettes of blue energy in the shape of men were ripped away from them and engulfed in the inky void of the demon's maw. The human's and horses' forms went still. The demon's body swelled with each soul engulfed as new tormented faces appeared among those of the three little pigs.
“Delicious, is my main course ready?” Hambolgia snorted.
“You forget yourself, you’re just an old dusty pig of a dead era. You may scare these feeble worthless humans but I know not fear. I’m a legend; it’s time I remind you of your place in the food chain you bore of a boar.” The wolf snarled, launching into attack. Elegantly ducking past the tusks, claws stretching out as he raked them along the flank. Sparks and blood filled the air, as a deep gash was rendered. The thick black blood quickly coagulated to seal the wound as if it were never there, much to the Wolf's chagrin.
The demon squealed, in pain and delight as it took off, circling around for a charge intent to trample the Wolf. The Wolf's claws found no difficulty in holding onto the slickened ground where the other had failed. He waited for the charge, even with the demon's unnatural speed the Wolf was faster, a blur of fur as he dodged at the last moment. Hambolgia continued past, smashing into the stone bunker with calamitous force. The structure burst under the impact scattering slabs of stone across the area, as the demon staggered momentarily stunned. The sundering of the home, exposed the blazing cellar fire to the greasy rain as the ruins of the house ignited, in a flare. Scorching the side of Hambolgia as it let out a blood-curdling scream. The side of its face melted and charred, sloughing away revealing blackened bone beneath.
The Wolf smiled a devious smile and glanced at his surroundings. Swiftly backing towards the pit where the statue had once stood, now filled with the greasy rain. The demon recovered faster than anticipated launching into a furious assault. It screamed directly into the Wolf's mind, dragging through his thoughts like hot nails, causing him to stagger momentarily.
That delay was all it took, too late to dodge as a pillar of death lanced into him. He embraced it, the tusk passing through him as he allowed the demon to carry him backward until he was close enough for his plan. The Wolf plunged his legs into the earth and dug his claws deep into the demon's mouth, as the monumental force of the charge surged into the wolf's body, shifting the momentum of the movement. It took every ounce of strength to not collapse, but he held carrying the massive swine upward. The demon quailed as its legs began to kick impudently in the open air. The Wolf grinned wickedly as he twisted and suplexed the demon into the pool, the movement taking the impaled wolf with him into the churning fluids.
“I’ll see you burn for this damned Wolf!” It spat, frothing with rage.
Coughing out blood and with a maddened smile the wolf replied “That’s the idea” as he revealed a chunk of flintstone from under his tongue and struck against the demon's fur. Sparks skittered outwards igniting them both as they embraced, they were instantly devoured in the conflagration. A sizzling hiss split the night as they boiled into nothingness in a matter of seconds. Out flew the trapped spirits of the men and pigs freed from damnation as the sky returned to the picturesque calm of a peaceful summer evening. The Big Bad Wolf sacrificed himself to save the world from Hambolgia and was boiled in the process. Turns out he wasn’t so bad after all.
The tale was spread by the surviving soldiers who witnessed the incident, but so outlandish was the ordeal that few believed it, and those that did still couldn’t accept the Wolf to be a hero. After countless retellings, it ended up with the oddly sanitized story of today. Some true elements remain. Three brothers, huffing and puffing, and a Wolf ending up charbroiled, but a lot of it lost to the ages, until now.
About the Creator
Artist & writer although, those may be potent terms for what I concoct. A spirited creator may be more apt. Spreading my particular brand of insanity through myriad stories and mediums. Learning the ways of the written word along the road.