|The Wonder Clock|
|by Howard Pyle|
|\"Four and twenty marvellous tales, one for each hour of the day,\" retold in a novel and entertaining manner by a master of the form. While drawing on German, English, and Scandinavian folk literature for many of his characters and plots, Pyle reworks the material in an imaginative way, crafting the tales in his own inimitable style. Equally engaging are the numerous woodcuts that accompany the stories and enliven the narrative. Ages 8-12 |
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE OGRE
HERE were three nice, fat little pigs. The first was small, the second
was smaller, and the third was the smallest of all. And these three
little pigs thought of going out into the woods to gather acorns, for
there were better acorns there than here.
"There's a great ogre who lives over yonder in the woods," says the
"And he will eat you up, body and bones," says the speckled hen.
"And there will be an end of you," says the black drake.
"If folks only knew what was good for them, they would stay at home
and make the best of what they had there," said the old grey goose who
laid eggs under the barn, and who had never gone out into the world or
had had a peep of it beyond the garden gate.
But no; the little pigs would go out into the world, whether or no;
"for," said they, "if we stay at home because folks shake their heads,
we will never get the best acorns that are to be had;" and there was
more than one barleycorn of truth in that chaff, I can tell you.
So out into the woods they went.
They hunted for acorns here and they hunted for acorns there, and
by and by whom should the smallest of all the little pigs meet but
the great, wicked ogre himself.
 "Aha!" says the great, wicked ogre, "it is a nice, plump little pig
that I have been wanting for my supper this many a day past. So you
may just come along with me now.
"Oh, Master Ogre," squeaked the smallest of the little pigs in the
smallest of voices—"oh, Master Ogre, don't eat me! There's a bigger
pig back of me, and he will be along presently."
So the ogre let the smallest of the little pigs go, for he would
rather have a larger pig if he could get it.
By and by came the second little pig. "Aha!" says the great, wicked
ogre, "I have been wanting just such a little pig as you for my supper
for this many a day past. So you may just come along with me now."
"Oh, Master Ogre," said the middle-sized pig, in his middle-sized
voice, "don't take me for your supper; there's a bigger pig than I
am coming along presently. Just wait for him."
Well, the ogre was satisfied to do that; so he waited, and by and
by, sure enough, came the largest of the little pigs.
"And now," says the great, wicked ogre, "I will wait no longer, for
you are just the pig I want for my supper, and so you may march along
But the largest of the little pigs had his wits about him, I can
tell you. "Oh, very well," says he; "if I am the shoe that fits
there is no use in hunting for another; only, have you a roasted
apple to put in my mouth when I am cooked? for no one ever heard
of a little pig brought on the table without a roast apple in its
No; the ogre had no roasted apple.
Dear, dear! that was a great pity. If he would wait for a little
while, the largest of the little pigs would run home and fetch one,
and then things would be as they should.
Yes, the ogre was satisfied with that. So off ran the little pig,
and the ogre sat down on a stone and waited for him.
Well, he waited and he waited and he waited and he waited, but not a
tip of a hair of the little pig did he see that day, as you can guess
without my telling you.
And Tommy Pfouce tells me that the great, wicked ogre is not the only
one who has gone without either pig or roast apple, because when he
could get the one he would not take it without the other.
"And now," says the cock and the speckled hen and the black drake and
the old grey goose who laid her eggs under the barn, and had
 been out into the world beyond the garden gate—"and
now perhaps you will run out into the world and among the ogres no
more. Are there not good enough acorns at home?"
Perhaps there were; but that was not what the three little pigs
thought. "See, now," said the smallest of the three little pigs,
"if one is afraid of the water, one will never catch any fish. I,
for one, am going out into the woods to get a few acorns."
So out into the woods he went, and there he found all of the acorns
that he wanted. But, on his way home, whom should he meet but the
great, wicked ogre.
"Aha!" says the ogre, "and is that you?"
Oh, yes, it was nobody else; but had the ogre come across three
fellows tramping about in the woods down yonder?
No, the ogre had met nobody in the woods that day.
"Dear, dear," says the smallest little pig, "but that is a pity, for
those three fellows were three wicked robbers, and they had just hidden
a meal-bag full of money in that hole up in the tree yonder."
You can guess how the ogre pricked up his ears at this, and how he stared
till his eyes were as big as saucers.
"Just wait," said he to the smallest little pig, "and I will be down
again in a minute." So he laid his jacket to one side and up the tree
he climbed, for he wanted to find that bag of money, and he meant to
"Do you find the hole?" said the smallest of the little pigs.
Yes; the ogre had found the hole.
"And do you find the money?" says the smallest of the little pigs.
No: the ogre could find no money.
"Then, good-bye," says the smallest of the little pigs, and off he
trotted home, leaving the ogre to climb down the tree again as he chose.
"And now, at least, you will go out into the woods no more," says the
cock, the speckled hen, the black drake, and the grey goose.
Oh, well, there was no telling what the three little pigs would do yet,
they would have to wait and see.
One day it was the middle-sized little pig who would go out into the
woods, for he also had a mind to taste the acorns there.
So out into the woods the middle-sized little pig went, and there he
had all the acorns that he wanted.
But by and by the ogre came along. "Aha! says he. "Now I have you for
sure and certain.
 But the middle-sized little pig just stood and looked at a great rock
just in front of him, with all of his might and main. "Sh-h-h-h-h-h!"
says he, "I am not to be talked to or bothered now!"
Hoity-toity! Here was a pretty song, to be sure! And why was the
middle-sized pig not to be talked to? That was what the ogre should
like to know.
Oh, the middle-sized little pig was looking at what was going on under
the great rock yonder, for he could see the little folk brewing more
beer than thirty-seven men could drink.
So! Why, the ogre would like to see that for himself.
"Very well," says the middle-sized little pig, "there is nothing easier
than to learn that trick! Just take a handful of leaves from yonder bush
and rub them over your eyes, and then shut them tight and count to fifty."
Well, the ogre would have a try at that. So he gathered a handful of
the leaves and rubbed them over his eyes, just as the middle-sized pig
"And now are you ready?" said the middle-sized little pig.
Yes; the ogre was ready.
"Then shut your eyes and count," said the middle-sized little pig.
So the ogre shut them as tightly as he could and began to count, "One,
two, three, four, five," and so on; and while he was counting, why, the
little pig was running away home again.
By and by the ogre bawled out "Fifty!!!" and opened his eyes, for he
was done. Then he saw not more, but less, than he had seen before,
for the little pig was not there.
And now it was the largest of the three little pigs who began to talk
about going out into the woods to look for acorns.
"You had better stay at home and take things as they come. The crock
that goes often to the well gets broken at last;" that was what the
cock, the speckled hen, the black drake, and the grey goose said; and
they thought themselves very wise to talk as they did.
But no; the little pig wanted to go out into the woods, and into the
woods the little pig would go, ogre or no ogre.
After he had eaten all of the acorns that he wanted he began to think
of going home again, but just then the ogre came stumping along. "Aha!"
says he, "we have met again, have we?"
"Yes," said the largest of the three little pigs, "we have. And I
 to say that I could find no roast apple at home, and so I
did not come back again."
Yes, yes, that was all very fine; but they should have a settling of
old scores now. The largest of the three little pigs might just come
along home with the ogre, and to-morrow he should be made into sausages;
for there was to be no trickery this time, so there was an end of the
Come, come! The ogre must not be too testy. There was such a thing as
having too much pepper in the pudding—that was what the largest of
the little pigs said. If it were sausages that the ogre was after,
maybe the pig could help him. Over home at the farm yonder was a
storehouse filled with more sausages and good things than two men
could count. There was a window where the ogre could just squeeze
 he must promise to eat what he wanted and to
carry nothing away with him.
Well, the ogre promised to eat all he wanted in the storehouse, and
then off they went together.
By and by they came to the storehouse at the farm, and there, sure
enough, was a window, and it was just large enough for the ogre to
squeeze through without a button to spare in the size.
Dear, dear! how the ogre did stuff himself with the sausages and
puddings and other good things in the storehouse.
By and by the little pig bawled out as loud as he could, "Have you
had enough yet?"
"Hush-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh!" says the ogre, "don't talk so loud, or
you'll be rousing the folks and having them about our ears like a
hive of bees."
"No, " bawled the little pig, louder than before, "but tell me,
have you had enough yet?"
"Yes, yes," says the ogre, "I have had almost enough, only be
still about it!"
"Very well!" bawled the little pig, as loud as he could, "If you
have had enough, and if you have eaten all of the sausages and all
of the puddings you can stuff, it is about time that you were going,
for here comes the farmer and two of his men to see what all the stir
And, sure enough, the farmer and his men were coming as fast as they
could lay foot to the ground.
But when the ogre heard them coming, he felt sure that it was time
that he was getting away home again, and so he tried to get out of
the same window that he had gotten in a little while before. But
he had stuffed himself with so much of the good things that he had
swelled like everything, and there he stuck in the storehouse window
like a cork in a bottle, and could budge neither one way nor the other;
and that was a pretty pickle to be in.
"Oho!" says the farmer, "you were after my sausages and my puddings,
were you? Then you will come no more."
And that was so; for when the farmer and his men were done with the
ogre he never went into the woods again, for he could not.
As for the three little pigs, they trotted away into the woods
every day of their lives, for there was nobody nowadays to stop
them from gathering all the acorns that they wanted.
 Now, don't you believe folks when they say that this is all stuff
and nonsense that I have been telling you; for if you turn it upside
down and look in the bottom of it you will find that there is more than
one grain of truth there; that is if you care to scratch among the chaff
for it. And that is the end of this story.
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