THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND
[For Cicily and Charlie, a Tale of
the Christmas Pig]
Once upon a time there was an
old pig called Aunt Pettitoes. She
had eight of a family: four little girl
pigs, called Cross-patch, Suck-suck,
Yock-yock and Spot; and four little
boy pigs, called Alexander, Pigling
Bland, Chin-Chin and Stumpy.
Stumpy had had an accident to his tail.
The eight little pigs had very fine
appetites--"Yus, yus, yus! they eat
and indeed they DO eat!" said Aunt
Pettitoes, looking at her family
with pride. Suddenly there were
fearful squeals; Alexander had
squeezed inside the hoops of the
pig trough and stuck.
Aunt Pettitoes and I dragged him
out by the hind legs.
Chin-chin was already in disgrace;
it was washing day, and he
had eaten a piece of soap. And
presently in a basket of clean
clothes, we found another dirty
little pig--"Tchut, tut, tut! whichever
is this?" grunted Aunt Pettitoes.
Now all the pig family are pink, or
pink with black spots, but this pig
child was smutty black all over;
when it had been popped into a
tub, it proved to be Yock-yock.
I went into the garden; there I
found Cross-patch and Suck-suck
rooting up carrots. I whipped them
myself and led them out by the
ears. Cross-patch tried to bite me.
"Aunt Pettitoes, Aunt Pettitoes!
you are a worthy person, but your
family is not well brought up.
Every one of them has been in mischief
except Spot and Pigling Bland."
"Yus, yus!" sighed Aunt Pettitoes.
"And they drink bucketfuls of milk;
I shall have to get another cow!
Good little Spot shall stay at home
to do the housework; but the others
must go. Four little boy pigs and
four little girl pigs are too many
altogether." "Yus, yus, yus," said
Aunt Pettitoes, "there will be more
to eat without them."
So Chin-chin and Suck-suck went
away in a wheel-barrow, and
Stumpy, Yock-yock and Cross-
patch rode away in a cart.
And the other two little boy pigs,
Pigling Bland and Alexander went
to market. We brushed their coats,
we curled their tails and washed
their little faces, and wished them
good bye in the yard.
Aunt Pettitoes wiped her eyes
with a large pocket handkerchief,
then she wiped Pigling Bland's nose
and shed tears; then she wiped
Alexander's nose and shed tears;
then she passed the handkerchief to
Spot. Aunt Pettitoes sighed and
grunted, and addressed those little
pigs as follows--
"Now Pigling Bland, son Pigling
Bland, you must go to market. Take
your brother Alexander by the
hand. Mind your Sunday clothes,
and remember to blow your nose"
--(Aunt Pettitoes passed round the
handkerchief again)--"beware of
traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs;
always walk upon your hind legs."
Pigling Bland who was a sedate
little pig, looked solemnly at his
mother, a tear trickled down his cheek.
Aunt Pettitoes turned to the
other--"Now son Alexander take
the hand"--"Wee, wee, wee!"
giggled Alexander--"take the hand of
your brother Pigling Bland, you
must go to market. Mind--" "Wee,
wee, wee!" interrupted Alexander
again. "You put me out," said Aunt
Pettitoes--"Observe signposts and
milestones; do not gobble herring
bones--" "And remember," said I
impressively, "if you once cross the
county boundary you cannot come
back. Alexander, you are not
attending. Here are two licenses
permitting two pigs to go to market in
Lancashire. Attend Alexander. I
have had no end of trouble in getting
these papers from the policeman."
Pigling Bland listened gravely;
Alexander was hopelessly volatile.
I pinned the papers, for safety,
inside their waistcoat pockets;
Aunt Pettitoes gave to each a little
bundle, and eight conversation
peppermints with appropriate
moral sentiments in screws of
paper. Then they started.
Pigling Bland and Alexander
trotted along steadily for a mile; at
least Pigling Bland did. Alexander
made the road half as long again
by skipping from side to side. He
danced about and pinched his
"This pig went to market,
this pig stayed at home,
"This pig had a bit of meat--
let's see what they have given US for
Pigling Bland and Alexander sat
down and untied their bundles.
Alexander gobbled up his dinner in
no time; he had already eaten all
his own peppermints--"Give me
one of yours, please, Pigling?" "But
I wish to preserve them for
emergencies," said Pigling Bland
doubtfully. Alexander went into squeals
of laughter. Then he pricked Pigling
with the pin that had fastened
his pig paper; and when Pigling
slapped him he dropped the pin,
and tried to take Pigling's pin, and
the papers got mixed up. Pigling
Bland reproved Alexander.
But presently they made it up
again, and trotted away together,
"Tom, Tom the piper's son,
stole a pig and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play,
was `Over the hills and far away!'"
"What's that, young Sirs? Stole a
pig? Where are your licenses?" said
the policeman. They had nearly run
against him round a corner. Pigling
Bland pulled out his paper; Alexander,
after fumbling, handed over
"To 2 1/2 oz. conversation sweeties
at three farthings"--"What's this?
this ain't a license?" Alexander's
nose lengthened visibly, he had lost
it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr.
"It's not likely they let you start
without. I am passing the farm.
You may walk with me." "Can I
come back too?" inquired Pigling
Bland. "I see no reason, young Sir;
your paper is all right." Pigling
Bland did not like going on alone,
and it was beginning to rain. But it
is unwise to argue with the police;
he gave his brother a peppermint,
and watched him out of sight.
To conclude the adventures of
Alexander--the policeman sauntered
up to the house about tea
time, followed by a damp subdued
little pig. I disposed of Alexander in
the neighborhood; he did fairly
well when he had settled down.
Pigling Bland went on alone
dejectedly; he came to cross roads and
a sign-post--"To Market-town 5
miles," "Over the Hills, 4 miles,"
"To Pettitoes Farm, 3 miles."
Pigling Bland was shocked, there
was little hope of sleeping in Market
Town, and tomorrow was the
hiring fair; it was deplorable to
think how much time had been
wasted by the frivolity of Alexander.
He glanced wistfully along the
road towards the hills, and then set
off walking obediently the other
way, buttoning up his coat against
the rain. He had never wanted to
go; and the idea of standing all by
himself in a crowded market, to be
stared at, pushed, and hired by
some big strange farmer was very
"I wish I could have a little garden
and grow potatoes," said Pigling Bland.
He put his cold hand in his
pocket and felt his paper, he put his
other hand in his other pocket and
felt another paper--Alexander's!
Pigling squealed; then ran back
frantically, hoping to overtake
Alexander and the policeman.
He took a wrong turn--several
wrong turns, and was quite lost.
It grew dark, the wind whistled,
the trees creaked and groaned.
Pigling Bland became frightened
and cried "Wee, wee, wee! I can't
find my way home!"
After an hour's wandering he got
out of the wood; the moon shone
through the clouds, and Pigling Bland
saw a country that was new to him.
The road crossed a moor; below
was a wide valley with a river twinkling
in the moonlight, and beyond
--in misty distance--lay the hills.
He saw a small wooden hut,
made his way to it, and crept inside
--"I am afraid it IS a hen house,
but what can I do?" said Pigling Bland,
wet and cold and quite tired out.
"Bacon and eggs, bacon and
eggs!" clucked a hen on a perch.
"Trap, trap, trap! cackle, cackle,
cackle!" scolded the disturbed
cockerel. "To market, to market!
jiggettyjig!" clucked a broody white
hen roosting next to him. Pigling
Bland, much alarmed, determined
to leave at daybreak. In the meantime,
he and the hens fell asleep.
In less than an hour they were all
awakened. The owner, Mr. Peter
Thomas Piperson, came with a lantern
and a hamper to catch six fowls
to take to market in the morning.
He grabbed the white hen roosting
next to the cock; then his eye
fell upon Pigling Bland, squeezed
up in a corner. He made a singular
remark--"Hallo, here's another!"
--seized Pigling by the scruff of the
neck, and dropped him into the
hamper. Then he dropped in five
more dirty, kicking, cackling hens
upon the top of Pigling Bland.
The hamper containing six fowls
and a young pig was no light
weight; it was taken down hill,
unsteadily, with jerks. Pigling,
although nearly scratched to pieces,
contrived to hide the papers and
peppermints inside his clothes.
At last the hamper was bumped
down upon a kitchen floor, the lid
was opened, and Pigling was lifted
out. He looked up, blinking, and
saw an offensively ugly elderly
man, grinning from ear to ear.
"This one's come of himself,
whatever," said Mr. Piperson, turning
Pigling's pockets inside out. He
pushed the hamper into a corner,
threw a sack over it to keep the
hens quiet, put a pot on the fire,
and unlaced his boots.
Pigling Bland drew forward a
coppy stool, and sat on the edge of
it, shyly warming his hands. Mr.
Piperson pulled off a boot and
threw it against the wainscot at the
further end of the kitchen. There
was a smothered noise--"Shut up!"
said Mr. Piperson. Pigling Bland
warmed his hands, and eyed him.
Mr. Piperson pulled off the other
boot and flung it after the first,
there was again a curious noise--
"Be quiet, will ye?" said Mr. Piperson.
Pigling Bland sat on the very
edge of the coppy stool.
Mr. Piperson fetched meal from
a chest and made porridge, it
seemed to Pigling that something
at the further end of the kitchen
was taking a suppressed interest in
the cooking; but he was too hungry
to be troubled by noises.
Mr. Piperson poured out three
platefuls: for himself, for Pigling,
and a third-after glaring at Pigling--
he put away with much scuffling,
and locked up. Pigling Bland
ate his supper discreetly.
After supper Mr. Piperson consulted
an almanac, and felt Pigling's
ribs; it was too late in the
season for curing bacon, and he
grudged his meal. Besides, the hens
had seen this pig.
He looked at the small remains
of a flitch [side of bacon], and then
looked undecidedly at Pigling. "You
may sleep on the rug," said Mr.
Peter Thomas Piperson.
Pigling Bland slept like a top. In
the morning Mr. Piperson made
more porridge; the weather was
warmer. He looked how much
meal was left in the chest, and
seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely
be moving on again?" said he to
Before Pigling could reply, a
neighbor, who was giving Mr. Piperson
and the hens a lift, whistled
from the gate. Mr. Piperson hurried
out with the hamper, enjoining
Pigling to shut the door behind him
and not meddle with nought; or
"I'll come back and skin ye!" said
It crossed Pigling's mind that if
HE had asked for a lift, too, he
might still have been in time for market.
But he distrusted Peter Thomas.
After finishing breakfast at his
leisure, Pigling had a look round
the cottage; everything was locked
up. He found some potato peelings
in a bucket in the back kitchen.
Pigling ate the peel, and washed up
the porridge plates in the bucket.
He sang while he worked--
"Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
He called up all the girls and boys--
"And they all ran to hear him play,
"Over the hills and far away!--"
Suddenly a little smothered voice
"Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top knot off."
Pigling Bland put down a plate
which he was wiping, and listened.
After a long pause, Pigling went
on tiptoe and peeped round the
door into the front kitchen; there
was nobody there.
After another pause, Pigling
approached the door of the locked
cupboard, and snuffed at the keyhole.
It was quite quiet.
After another long pause, Pigling
pushed a peppermint under the
door. It was sucked in immediately.
In the course of the day Pigling
pushed in all his remaining six
When Mr. Piperson returned, he
found Pigling sitting before the fire;
he had brushed up the hearth and
put on the pot to boil; the meal was
Mr. Piperson was very affable; he
slapped Pigling on the back, made
lots of porridge and forgot to lock
the meal chest. He did lock the cup-
board door; but without properly
shutting it. He went to bed early,
and told Pigling upon no account
to disturb him next day before
Pigling Bland sat by the fire,
eating his supper.
All at once at his elbow, a little
voice spoke--"My name is Pig-wig.
Make me more porridge, please!"
Pigling Bland jumped, and looked
A perfectly lovely little black
Berkshire pig stood smiling beside
him. She had twinkly little screwed
up eyes, a double chin, and a short
turned up nose.
She pointed at Pigling's plate; he
hastily gave it to her, and fled to
the meal chest--"How did you
come here?" asked Pigling Bland.
"Stolen," replied Pig-wig, with
her mouth full. Pigling helped himself
to meal without scruple. "What
for?" "Bacon, hams," replied Pig-
wig cheerfully. "Why on earth don't
you run away?" exclaimed the
"I shall after supper," said Pigwig decidedly.
Pigling Bland made more porridge
and watched her shyly.
She finished a second plate, got
up, and looked about her, as
though she were going to start.
"You can't go in the dark," said Pigling Bland.
Pig-wig looked anxious.
"Do you know your way by daylight?"
"I know we can see this little white house
from the hills across the river.
Which way are _you_ going, Mr. Pig?"
"To market--I have two pig
papers. I might take you to the bridge;
if you have no objection," said
Pigling much confused and sitting
on the edge of his coppy stool. Pig-
wig's gratitude was such and she
asked so many questions that it
became embarrassing to Pigling Bland.
He was obliged to shut his eyes
and pretend to sleep. She became
quiet, and there was a smell of
"I thought you had eaten them?"
said Pigling, waking suddenly.
"Only the corners," replied Pig-
wig, studying the sentiments with
much interest by the firelight.
"I wish you wouldn't; he might
smell them through the ceiling,"
said the alarmed Pigling.
Pig-wig put back the sticky
peppermints into her pocket; "Sing
something," she demanded.
"I am sorry. . . I have tooth-
ache," said Pigling much dismayed.
"Then I will sing," replied Pig-
wig, "You will not mind if I say
iddy tidditty? I have forgotten some
of the words."
Pigling Bland made no objection;
he sat with his eyes half shut, and
She wagged her head and rocked
about, clapping time and singing in
a sweet little grunty voice--
"A funny old mother pig lived in a stye,
and three little piggies had she;
"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,
umph! and the little pigs said wee, wee!"
She sang successfully through
three or four verses, only at every
verse her head nodded a little
lower, and her little twinkly eyes
"Those three little piggies grew peaky
and lean, and lean they might very well be;
"For somehow they couldn't say umph,
umph, umph! and they wouldn't
say wee, wee, wee!
"For somehow they couldn't say--
Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and
lower, until she rolled over, a little
round ball, fast asleep on the
Pigling Bland, on tiptoe, covered
her up with an antimacassar.
He was afraid to go to sleep himself;
for the rest of the night he sat
listening to the chirping of the
crickets and to the snores of Mr.
Early in the morning, between
dark and daylight, Pigling tied up
his little bundle and woke up Pig-
wig. She was excited and half-
frightened. "But it's dark! How can
we find our way?"
"The cock has crowed; we must
start before the hens come out; they
might shout to Mr. Piperson."
Pig-wig sat down again, and
commenced to cry.
"Come away Pig-wig; we can see
when we get used to it. Come! I can
hear them clucking!"
Pigling had never said shuh! to a
hen in his life, being peaceable;
also he remembered the hamper.
He opened the house door quietly
and shut it after them. There was
no garden; the neighborhood of
Mr. Piperson's was all scratched up
by fowls. They slipped away hand
in hand across an untidy field to the road.
"Tom, Tom the piper's son, stole a pig
and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play, was
`Over the hills and far away!'"
"Come Pig-wig, we must get to
the bridge before folks are stirring."
"Why do you want to go to
market, Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig.
The sun rose while they were
crossing the moor, a dazzle of light
over the tops of the hills. The sunshine
crept down the slopes into
the peaceful green valleys, where
little white cottages nestled in
gardens and orchards.
"That's Westmorland," said Pig-
wig. She dropped Pigling's hand
and commenced to dance, singing--
presently. "I don't want; I want to
grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"
said Pig-wig. Pigling Bland
refused quite crossly. "Does your
poor toothy hurt?" inquired Pig-
wig. Pigling Bland grunted.
Pig-wig ate the peppermint herself,
and followed the opposite side
of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under
the wall, there's a man ploughing."
Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried
down hill towards the county boundary.
Suddenly Pigling stopped; he heard wheels.
Slowly jogging up the road below
them came a tradesman's cart. The
reins flapped on the horse's back,
the grocer was reading a newspaper.
"Take that peppermint out of
your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have
to run. Don't say one word. Leave it
to me. And in sight of the bridge!"
said poor Pigling, nearly crying.
He began to walk frightfully lame,
holding Pig-wig's arm.
The grocer, intent upon his
newspaper, might have passed
them, if his horse had not shied
and snorted. He pulled the cart
crossways, and held down his
whip. "Hallo? Where are you going
to?"--Pigling Bland stared at him vacantly.
"Are you deaf? Are you going to
market?" Pigling nodded slowly.
"I thought as much. It was
yesterday. Show me your license?"
Pigling stared at the off hind
shoe of the grocer's horse which
had picked up a stone.
The grocer flicked his whip--
"Papers? Pig license?" Pigling fumbled
in all his pockets, and handed
up the papers. The grocer read
them, but still seemed dissatisfied.
"This here pig is a young lady; is
her name Alexander?" Pig-wig
opened her mouth and shut it
again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.
The grocer ran his finger down
the advertisement column of his
newspaper--"Lost, stolen or
strayed, 10S. reward;" he looked
suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he
stood up in the trap, and whistled
for the ploughman.
"You wait here while I drive on
and speak to him," said the grocer,
gathering up the reins. He knew
that pigs are slippery; but surely,
such a VERY lame pig could never
"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look
back." The grocer did so; he saw
the two pigs stock-still in the middle
of the road. Then he looked over
at his horse's heels; it was lame
also; the stone took some time to
knock out, after he got to the
"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said
Never did any pigs run as these
pigs ran! They raced and squealed
and pelted down the long white hill
towards the bridge. Little fat Pig-
wig's petticoats fluttered, and her
feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as
she bounded and jumped.
They ran, and they ran, and they
ran down the hill, and across a
short cut on level green turf at the
bottom, between pebble beds and rushes.
They came to the river, they
came to the bridge--they crossed it
hand in hand--then over the hills
and far away she danced with Pigling Bland!
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