Thursday, 17 July 2014

Three Miniature Pigs

Once upon a time, a big bad wolf huffed and puffed three miniature pigs for he was contrite at knocking their houses down with his mighty breath, and so decided instead to save them. A new vegetarian, he hadn't yet thought of a way to control these episodes of violence and anger. A red mist came over him when his blood-thirst got the better of him, but when the haze went away he was always dismayed at the destruction he found around him.
On this occasion, he came to just as he was about to roast these three miniature pigs over an open fire. Ashamed, he quickly doused the flames and untied them from the spit. The heat had made the miniature pigs fall into a stupor, so the wolf huffed and puffed on each one to cool them down. His first breath was unusually weak, so the oldest pig got blown to Yorkshire, his second pelted the middle pig to France, and his third flung the littlest pig to the USA, to the home and museum of Ernest Hemingway.
Clive landed in a muddy puddle on a Yorkshire farm, Colin on the beaches of Normandy and Cyril on the veranda of 907 Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West. Clive and Colin were scooped up by well-meaning humans while Cyril was met with benign indifference from a motley bunch of six-toed cats. Clive was carried like a baby to his new home, Colin trotted like a dog beside his rescuers, and Cyril was blankly looked at by sunbathing cats and cats with sharp claws.
Their grunts and squeals it seemed were not understood by cats or people, and so each of them had to make the best of their new situation. Clive was nursed with bottles and put to sleep in a baby's cot, Colin was offered lodgings in an old crumbling house filled with weaponry and suits of armour, and Cyril was assigned his own dormitory litter tray and cat bed. It was a far cry from what they had been used to.
Clive felt undignified, Colin was jumpy on account of the armoury and Cyril was convinced he had concussion, but new routines soon established themselves. Clive accompanied the farmer's children to school, Colin roamed the French countryside, and Cyril prowled the garden. And for the first time in their lives they were dressed: Paddington Bear's red rain boots were pulled over Clive's trotters, Colin, by pure coincidence, was fastened into Paddington's blue duffel coat, and Cyril paraded the grounds in a tailor-made Aloha shirt and Ray-Bans. Each in their way became a personality: a character known and placed in their new setting.
Being huffed and puffed by a remorseful wolf had been totally unexpected, but this turn of events was surrealistic. Strawberry-blond miniature pigs were often transformed into adorable pets, but fame was a rarity. None of their ancestors had left their homes, even of their own accord; it quite changed their views of traditional living. They each, due to pig intelligence, decided to contribute to their upkeep. Clive rounded up chicks and collected freshly laid eggs, Colin foraged for wild fruits and mushrooms, and Cyril, the most enterprising, conducted garden tours and painted watercolours of the six-toed cats, which were displayed and sold in the museum shop. Their lives, which before had seemed full, were now much richer.
Every night, with wet pink snorts and shiny black marble eyes, they squealed their thanks to the stars that had made them cross paths with that unusual wolf.