James Orchard Halliwell Phillips included the Three Little why do guinea pigs puff up and Big Bad Wolf fairy tales in his 1843 book Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales. Although the original written version was not known, it is likely that the tale existed in oral folktale tradition. The story could have been adapted from fairy tales like The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids in order to be written. Although it is unclear what the origin of this tale is, the 1843 version of the story is the foundation of the Three Little Pigs story we know today.
Joseph Jacobs assembled a collection fairy tales in an 1890 book called English Fairy Tales. Halliwell Phillips is the author of The Story of the Three Little Pigs, which he included in his book. It appears that it is a word-for-word reprint of an 1843 edition of the story. Joseph Jacobs is often credited with creating the modern version of the story.
Jacobs and Halliwell Phillips versions of the fairy tale tell that the mother pig sends her children out to find their fortune. The straw-strewn house is built by the first pig. The wolf arrives, blows in the house and eats it. The second pig builds his house from twigs. The wolf arrives, blows in the house and eats it. The third pig constructs his house from bricks. The wolf arrives, but can’t get the house in and attempts to trick the pig into letting him in. The third pig defeats the wolf and the wolf attempts to climb the chimney. The wolf is thrown into boiling water by the pig, and the wolf dies. The personalities of the pigs are very limited, particularly the first two. Although we know their choices were poor, the story doesn’t portray them as lazy or dumb.
Joel Chandler Harris included a version of The Three Little Pigs within Nights with Uncle Remus. The fairy tale he called The Story of the Pigs was renamed and now includes five pigs as opposed to three. In this version, the mother pig is close to death as she warns her five children about Brer Wolf. The pigs were named Big Pig and Little Pig, Speckle Pig, Speckle Pig, Blunt and Runt. Big Pig constructed a house from brush. Little Pig made a house from sticks. Speckle Pig built his house out of mud. Blunt constructed a house using planks. Runt finally built a stone home. The wolf does not scream and blow the houses in. The wolf tricked the pigs to let him in, and then ate them all except Runt. Runt defeats the wolf, and eventually kills him by the fire. Joel Chandler Harris gave the pigs more personality by giving them names. They also had their own attitudes about their mother’s warning against the wolf.
Andrew Lang published another version of The Three Little Pigs in his 1892 fairy tale collection, The Green Fairy Book. He also gave the pigs names: Browny Whitey and Blacky, just like Harris. He gave the pigs a more individual personality than the Jacobs model, just like Harris. Browny was described as a dirty pig that loved to play in the mud and did not obey his mother. Whitey was intelligent, but she was greedy and selfish. She only wanted to eat. Her mother warned her that she would one day be punished for her greed. Blacky was smart and kind. His mother was proud of him but not his father. According to this tale, the mother asked her children what type of houses they desired and then built them. Browny desired a mudhouse, Whitey desired a house of cabbage, and Blacky wanted one made from bricks. Lang’s version has a fox acting as the villain and not a Wolf. The fox is able to easily get in the houses and capture the pigs by huffing, puffing, blowing into the first two houses and then eating them. The fox then takes the pigs to his den. Blacky defeats the Fox in a similar fashion to Jacobs’ version. He then kills the Fox and goes to the den of the Fox to save his sister and brother. Browny and Whitey go to live with Blacky, and they all live happily ever after. This is quite different to the Jacobs version.
In 1933, Disney released an animated short film about the Three Little Pigs. The story elements are a mix of Lang’s and Jacob’s versions. The pigs are named Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig by Disney. The Lang version gives them more personality. Fifer builds his straw house and Fiddler his sticks house. They are quick and have fun while telling Practical Pig about how hard they worked to build their brick house. They want to have fun and not work hard. Practical warns his brothers of the big bad Wolf, but they ignore him. Jacob’s version is similar. The wolf puffs up and blows down straw and stick houses. Instead of being eaten by the wolf, they flee their homes and find themselves in the brick house. The wolf attempts to destroy the brick house, but when he fails to do so, he tries the chimney route to gain entry. The wolf does not try to trick the pigs into letting him in the brick house like the Jacobs and Lang versions. Finally, the fox is finally burned by boiling water. We run away in pain and not being eaten. Disney, like Lang, chose to soften this story by not killing the first two pigs. Disney allows the wolf to survive, unlike earlier versions.