The Old Woman and Her Pig

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The Old Woman and Her Pig” is a traditional English fairy tale that has been told and retold in many versions over the years.

The tale was popularized by Joseph Jacobs, who included it in his “English Fairy Tales” collection, first published in 1890. While there might not be a definitive “original” version due to its oral tradition, here is a commonly known version close to Jacobs’ retelling:

An old woman was sweeping her house, and she found a little crooked sixpence. “What,” said she, “shall I do with this little sixpence? I will go to market, and buy a little pig.”

As she was coming home, she came to a stile. But the piggy wouldn’t go over the stile.

She went a little further, and she met a dog. So she said to the dog:

“Dog! Dog! Bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the dog wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a stick. So she said:

“Stick! Stick! Beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the stick wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a fire. So she said:

“Fire! Fire! Burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the fire wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met some water. So she said:

“Water! Water! Quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the water wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met an ox. So she said:

“Ox! Ox! Drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the ox wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a butcher. So she said:

“Butcher! Butcher! Kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the butcher wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a rope. So she said:

“Rope! Rope! Hang butcher; butcher won’t kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

But the rope wouldn’t.

At last she met a rat. So she said:

“Rat! Rat! Gnaw rope; rope won’t hang butcher; butcher won’t kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home tonight.”

Well, the rat, he wanted some cheese; and when the old woman promised him the cheese, he began to gnaw the rope.

The rope began to hang the butcher;
The butcher began to kill the ox;
The ox began to drink the water;
The water began to quench the fire;
The fire began to burn the stick;
The stick began to beat the dog;
The dog began to bite the pig;
And the pig jumped over the stile.

So the old woman got home that night.

Moral Of The Story

“The Old Woman and Her Pig” teaches the value of persistence and creative problem-solving, as each challenge in the tale requires a unique approach and demonstrates the interconnectedness of actions and their consequences. This story underscores the importance of perseverance and the ripple effects of our decisions.

Also Read: The AlphabetThe Light Princess

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