Three Little Pigs, taken apart by Mari Ness

Here is one of Mari Ness’ wonderful columns, in this case analyzing “The Three Little Pigs.”

I always expect to learn something new about any Disney movie or fairy tale Mari Ness discusses, and this is no exception:

[L]ike many fairy tales, “The Three Little Pigs” exists in multiple versions, some with pigs, some without pigs, some with a bunny. (A very specific bunny.)

Really? A bunny? I hope Ness explains that comment in a later post, as she does not here.

This post is actually about fairy-tales-as-political-metaphors.

The story itself functions as a complaint about the quality of houses available in England during the early 19th century and earlier, making a not particularly subtle point about the dangers inherent in low quality homes. And, of course, it offers a warning to those trying to prey on the unfortunates living in those houses: at some point, the tables could be turned. The various European revolutions of 1848 were still in vivid living memory when this story made its first printed appearance in 1853, in the anonymous in English Forests and Forest Trees: Historical, Legendary and Descriptive.

But the anonymous writers and editors were not merely interested in veiled warnings about economic revolutions. They had another political use for this tale….

If you’ve got a minute, click through and read the whole thing.

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2 thoughts on “Three Little Pigs, taken apart by Mari Ness”

  1. The “specific bunny” in question is Bugs. The rest of the paragraph alludes to Warner Brothers’ takes on the Three Little Pigs as a counterpoint to Disney.

    In “The Windblown Hare”, the three pigs read their upcoming fate in a storybook, and so unload their houses on Bugs to that *he* has to deal with the Wolf instead. (Pig: “What a maroon!”) Bugs responds as might be expected. (“Of course you realize this means war!”) The cartoon is online at and assorted other sources.

    Likewise, Warner’s satire on “another animation studio” is “Pigs in a Polka”, (on YouTube) which sets the pigs’ story Fantasia-style to Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. Warner also did a jazz take on the story in 1957 with the “Three Little Bops”.

    (All details from the Looney Tunes wiki, .)

  2. Mike, thanks! The three pigs siccing the wolf on Bugs is actually a really funny idea. Kudos to whomever thought of it.

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