The Old Woman And The Pig

Posting this story here at the request of my son, who has never seen it written quite the way I tell it. See note at the end.   

There was once an old woman who was sweeping her house and she found a silver coin. She took the coin with her to the market and bought a pig. When driving the pig home as she went across a field they came upon a stile. And the piggy wouldn’t go over the stile. Not wanting to get home too late the old woman considered what to do. Well, she went a little farther and she met a dog. And she said, “Dog, dog, bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

 But the dog wouldn’t.

So she went a little farther and she met a stick. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the stick wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a fire. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.”

But the fire wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met some water. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.”

 But the water wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met an ox. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the ox wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a butcher. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the butcher wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a rope. And 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the rope wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a rat. And 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. 

See by the moonlight,

 long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the rat wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a cat. And she said, Cat, cat, kill rat. Rat won’t 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the cat said, “Do you see that cow in the field yonder? If you will go to that cow and fetch me a saucer of milk, I will do what you ask.” 

So the old woman went to the cow and said, “dear cow, may I have just a saucer of milk, to bring to the cat? For if not, cat won’t 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. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the cow said, “do you see that haystack just over yonder? If you will take the pitchfork and fetch me a forkful of hay, I will do as you ask.” 

So the old woman took the pitchfork and went to the haystack, and asked no questions but fetched up a forkful of hay and brought it back to the cow. The cow munched up the hay, taking her time, and then allowed the woman a saucer full of milk. The woman took the saucer to the cat, who lapped up the milk, 

And then 

The cat began to kill the rat,

The rat 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,

The little piggy in a fright jumped over the stile, 

And the old woman got home that night. 

This story is how I learned it from two sources. One was a book that was in our house, part of a series called My Book House, which contained a good collection of delightful tales. The other source was my mother, who taught me the old woman’s rhyme as she had learned it from her grandmother. So that part of the tale brings back by genuine oral tradition a form of the story from some time in the 19th century, as Im sure Mom told me her grandmother had also learned it in her own childhood. 

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About therevr

A human being, striving to become more so.

Posted on March 14, 2017, in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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