Three Little Pigs Told in the Voice of the Iliad


Nick Sherrard ’15
“Sing, Goddess, sing” of the misfortune of the Three Little Pigs– (1.1)
that foolishness which condemned two of the three
to a gruesome demise by the jaws of the wolf,
leaving the third to lament over their deaths–
“all in fulfillment of the will of Zeus” (1.6).
Start at the point where the three pigs
left their old sow and set out into the world.
“Which of the gods incited these” pigs to leave? (1.8)
That god was Pan, son of Hermes and
Intent on sending the pigs
to live all on their own,
so they may follow the
path set by pigs before–
To provide a meal for
some beast or to survive
to raise more pigs for this.
“Tell me now, you Muses
living on Olympus,”
what the first two pigs chose (16.111).
The first two of the pigs,
went together to the west.
On their way, they walked by
many farms with hay bales.
One said to a farmer,
hoping to get some hay.
skilled in agriculture,
master of growing food,
can you lend me some hay?
The first pig spoke. The man
complied and gave him hay.
He went and built a hay
house since it was less work
and the two pigs figured
they could fend off a wolf
without a big strong house.
“The fools! Pallas Athena
had robbed them of their wits” (18.233).
The other pig chose to
make his house out of sticks
that he found in the woods.
He stacked them up like walls
and went inside to rest.
Along came a big wolf,
favorite of Ares,
who was very hungry.
The wolf blew down the house
made only of weak hay.
Just like blasts of strong winds
that blow leaves off of trees–
That is how the wolf blew.
He sunk his jaws into
the first pig’s fragile skin.
Darkness covered his eyes.
The wolf walked down the road
and saw the wooden house.
The warlike wolf wanted
to reach the pig inside.
He blew it down and faced
the second of the pigs
who returned his dark glare,
refusing the strong urge
to flee from certain death.
He knew that facing the
pig killing wolf and death
would bring him more honor
than if he tried to run.
The wolf admired him
for his bravery and
his acceptance of his
inevitable fate.
However, he still lunged
at the pig and tore at
his throat without mercy.
The pig hit the dust and
darkness came over him.
Once the wolf ate his fill,
he returned to the road
and then continued on.
Meanwhile, the third pig went
his own separate way
and built a sturdy house
of unbreakable bricks
crafted by Hephaestus.
Inside there were beautiful
tapestries, cloths, and cups
like that of a rich king.
Barrels full of sweet wine
and piles of preserved meat
rested in the corner.
The wolf approached this house
and tried to blow it down.
Just like an eastern wind
blowing over mountains
that are not moved at all–
that is how the wolf blew
at the pig’s strong brick house.
The pig chose to remain
in his house and enjoy
his many possessions
rather than going out
to engage the wolf in
combat for some honor.
The wolf tried to enter
the house through the chimney,
but the smart pig boiled
water in his cauldron
made of the finest bronze.
He placed the cauldron
in his fireplace that was
decorated with gold
and carved from fine cedar.
The brutish wolf fell in
the beautiful cauldron
just before the pig placed
the heavy lid on top.
The pig ate great amounts
of the delicious meal,
and that was the last of
the great pig killing wolf.