The Old Woman and Her Pig

Joseph Jacobs


De Oude Vrouw en Haar Biggetje


One day there was an old woman cleaning her house when she found a coin. ‘What shall I do with this’, she said to herself. ‘You know what? I’m going to the market and I'll buy a little pig.’


De Oude Vrouw en Haar Biggetje

On her way home from the market she had to go up a steep hill and no matter what she tried, she couldn't get her pig over it. So the woman walked a bit further and ran into a dog. ‘Dog’, she said, ‘my piggy refuses to go over the hill. Can you help me and bark a bit, so I can go home?’ But the dog refused.


De Oude Vrouw en Haar Biggetje

The woman walked a bit further and met a stick and said: ‘Stick! Can you give the dog a little slap on his butt? He refuses to bark at the pig and the pig refuses to go over the hill. I will never get home.’ But the stick refused.

So the woman walked a bit further and met a fire and said: ‘Fire! Can you burn the stick? The stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark and the pig refuses to go over the steep hill. I will never get home.’ But the fire refused.

Again she walked a bit further and met water and said: ‘Water! Extinguish the fire, fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark, the pig refuses to go over the hill and I will never get home.’ But the water refused.

A little further she met an ox and said: ‘Ox! Drink the water, the water refuses to extinguish the fire, the fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark and the little pig refuses to go over the hill.’ But the ox refused.

She walked further again and met a butcher and said: ‘Butcher! Butcher the ox, the ox refuses to drink water, the water refuses to extinguish the fire, the fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark, the pig refuses to go over the hill and I will never get home.’ But the butcher refused.


De Oude Vrouw en Haar Biggetje

So the woman continued and met a rope and said: ‘Rope! Hang the butcher, the butcher refuses to butcher the ox, the ox refuses to drink the water, the water refuses to extinguish the fire, the fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark, the pig refuses to go up the hill and I will never get home.’ But the rope refused.

Again the woman walked further and met a rat and said: ‘Rat! Gnaw the rope, the rope refuses to hang the butcher, the butcher refuses to butcher the ox, the ox refuses to drink the water, the water refuses to extinguish the fire, the fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark at the pig, the pig refuses to go up the hill and I will never get home.’ But the rat refused.

A little further the woman met a cat and said: ‘Cat! Kill the rat, the rat refuses to gnaw the rope, the rope refuses to hang the butcher, the butcher refuses to butcher the ox, the ox refuses to drink the water, the water refuses to extinguish the fire, the fire refuses to burn the stick, the stick refuses to slap the dog, the dog refuses to bark at the pig, the pig refuses to go up the hill and I will never get home.’ The cat said: ‘If you go to that cow and get me some milk, I will kill the rat for you.’ So the old woman went to the cow.

But the cow said to her: ‘If you go to that hay bale overthere and get me a bit of hay, I will give you milk.’ So the woman went to the hay bale and brought the cow some hay. When the cow was finished eating she gave the old woman some mlik and the woman hurried back to the cat.

When the cat finished drinking the milk, the cat killed the rat, the rat gnawed the rope, the rope hung the butcher, the butcher butchered the ox, the ox drank the water, the water extinguished the fire, the fire burned the stick, the stick slapped the dog, the dog barked at the pig and the pig jumped over the hill and the old woman returned home that evening.

Download the PDF of The Old Woman and Her Pig with illustrations


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