Research into “The Three Little Pigs”


For my A-B project, I’ve decided that I’m going to choose the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ as my re-constructive fairy tale piece.

I’ve started to look more closely into the history of the fairy tale.

The story first originated in print form in the 1840s but the actual story itself dates back to the 14th century and was told by a jewish sage from Gdansk, however, he is unnamed. It is also noted that the first printed version of the story in the 1840s was heavily adapted from ‘The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids’ written by the German academics, ‘Brothers Grimm’. It’s also apparent that both these stories and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ are all linked together in someway by ‘Brothers Grimm’ possibly through the wolf aspect in each tale.

The first print of the tale was included in ‘Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales’ (London, 1843) by James Orchard Halliwell-Philipps. However, the story that is the most popular and most known appeared in ‘English Fairy Tales’ by Joseph Jacobs. This was published in 1890 and he did credit Halliwell as his source. The story follows the literary rule of 3 that basically means that when writing, things that come in three’s are more effective or funnier. Lot’s of retellings of this version of the story sometimes omit the attempts to trick the third pig, that the 1st pig ran to the 2nd’s house and then both of them to the 3rd brothers house. This is mostly to omit death or violence from the story.

The second variation in print was written ‘Joel Chandler-Harris’ and was in the book ‘Nights with Uncle Remus’ in 1883. However, instead of pigs they used Brer Rabbits. ‘Andrew Lang’ took the story either further in 1892 and his adaptation was included in ‘The Green Fairy Book’. In his adaption he returned back to 3 pigs and he gave them names of Browny, Whitey, and Blacky. He also delved into the pigs character and detailed the interction between them. He also added a sister pig into the story who gets saved by her brothers. The antagonist was also changed from a wolf to a fox.

The Disney adaptation was made in 1933 as part of the award winning “Silly Symphony” cartoon. The team also gave names to the pigs, Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig. The pigs are actually described frivolous and arrogant. The end of the story has been slightly altered: the wolf is not cooked but instead burns his behind and runs away howling.

Other retellings include “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” (1989) which is famously presented as a first-person narrative by the wolf, who portrays the incident as a complete misunderstanding. Also, during 1985, a production company name “Faerie Tale Theatre” created a stageplay of the story starring Jeff Goldblum as The Wolf, with Billy Crystal, Stephen First, and Fred Willard as the pigs. You can also add a song, a cookery book for children and heaps of merchandise which are all based on the story.

I also found a great website which tells the most popular version of the story, the wolf’s view and a psychological analysis of the story.

Overall, I think the story I’ve chosen to adapt has alot of backbone to it and I’ve already got some great idea’s on how the ‘jazz’ the story up whilst also including a comical stance. I’ve storyboarded up my adaption and am currently working on both a Googlemap and Prezi to help present my idea.


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