Thursday, May 16, 2013

For Savannah...The Pig Story

Okay, a promise is a promise, although it will be the condensed version.  Why?  Because I'm guessing you have better things to do.

In my memory, it's a story about killing time more than killing anything else.  I grew up in the era of the "one car family".  Perfectly normal and not an indication about the family bank account.  We took Dad to work some days so Mom could run errands.  This also meant we had to stop what we were doing in time to go pick him up from work.  During the summer this seemed like quite the sacrifice: stop playing to go sit in a car and wait?  Really?

Mom learned early on that if you had to wait more than five minutes, the heat would melt the halos on her little angels, dissolving them into little grumps.  Multiple that with windows rolled down, no breeze blowing and the ever persistent gnats of summer.  (Yes children, in the dark ages, the family car didn't have air conditioning either...a true crime in the southern sun!)

So Mom would tell us stories.  To me, the best ones were those she remembered from childhood, stories her Dad had told her.   Maybe I thought it meant she'd survived southern summers in a car as well.  My favorite was one about a man who found a gold coin and went to buy a pig.  Now you have to understand that the true "joy" of hearing this story was that it was repetitive, which kids love, and the longer it went on, the faster it was told.

So here's the condensed version, which I once read was actually an old English story...starring a woman instead of the little man in my tale. Not only did I love the sheer silliness of it, it also saved my bacon many a night babysitting little children who didn't want to go to bed.  Although the completion was always greeted with giggles of, "Again!", I usually managed to wear all of us out at the same time.  And yes, I probably tweaked the version in the retelling as well.  Here we go.

Once upon a time there was a little old man who was sweeping his front porch when he found a gold coin.  He decided to go to town and buy a pig.  So off to town he went, traded the coin for a pig and began the journey home.  When they were almost there, the man and the pig came to a stile, which was a small stepladder built over a fence.  The man said," Pig, pig jump over the stile or we won't get home before dark."

But the pig wouldn't do it.

So the man looked around and found a dog.  He said, "Dog, dog bite pig.  Pig won't jump over the stile and we won't get home before dark."

But the dog wouldn't do it.

[NOTE: to save time, I'll tell you here that the little man keeps going down the road and every animal/thing he asks for help ignores him.  Each time you repeat ALL the help he's asked for and the list keeps growing.  I'll now jump to the conclusion, so you'll get the gist of it and not fall asleep waiting for it all to end].

By now the man was very tired.  But he walked to the well and got some water for the Farmer.  The Farmer thanked him for the drink of water, then gave him the  hay.  The man took the hay to the Cow, who gave him some milk.  The man took the milk to the Cat, who drank it up and then do you know what happened?

Cat killed Rat, Rat gnawed Rope, Rope hung Butcher, Butcher killed Ox, Ox drank Water, Water quenched Fire, Fire burnt Stick, Stick beat Dog, Dog bit Pig, Pig jumped over the stile....and they got home before dark.  

The End.

And there you have it...The Pig Story.  To this day, it makes me laugh.  I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where imagination and make believe were fun and not an invitation to violence.  Wiley E. Coyote would go over the edge of a cliff *Poof!*, only to return and chase that silly Road Runner all over again.  Harmless fun.  

But I don't think I'd ever buy anything from the Acme company.  ;)


savannah said...

you KNOW i started laughing half way through, sister! ;) xoxoxoxox

hope said...

Savannah: I KNEW you'd understand the southern heat angle as well. :) Hope I entertained you.