I was sitting down the other day, quietly thinking, delving deep into my mind, trying to understand some of life’s deeper complexities and nuances.
Yeah, I lied. I was actually thinking about bacon. And how nice bacon is. And how bacon comes from pigs. And from there I started recounting the old nursery rhyme, ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’. A fantastic train of thought I’m sure you’ll agree.
Then something hit me. For all those years of having parents and family members grab my big toe and start ‘This little piggy went to market’, while I giggled and squirmed, I never questioned the actual content of the rhyme.
This is not just a casual nursery rhyme friends; this is a tale of murder, deceit, and betrayal…
This Little Piggy Went to Market
Market days! What can be more fun than wandering round stalls, partaking in all the delights such as meats, fruit and veg, knock-off trainers… Wait. Did you say meats?
Poor Mr Piggy. He didn’t go to the market to buy some cheap, fake Burberry handbag; he went to market to be bought, slaughtered, bought again, and eaten. Why else would he even be taken!? He’s a pig, he doesn’t deal in capitalist systems and coins in pockets! He doesn’t even have pockets!
From the first line of this ‘innocent nursery rhyme’, something’s not quite right. Let’s move on to his unfortunate partner at home…
This Little Piggy Stayed Home
Poor Mrs Piggy. Her husband waddled off in the morning, thinking he was going for a nice day at the market. He even said he would bring her back some oinkment for her sore trotters.
Stunned by the news her husband won’t be bringing home the bacon anymore, Mrs Piggy does the only thing she can; inform her three children of the tragic news. Terrified of what might happen if she ever leaves the house again, she becomes an agoraphobic, and stays home for the remainder of her days.
And that’s when things start to get really dark…
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
The eldest son of Mr and Mrs Piggy undoubtedly took the news the hardest. His father was his idol, a pig of exceptional morals; when he was with his father, he was happier than a pig in muck. Which to be honest, he was anyway.
But after hearing that he would never see his daddy again, well… He went a bit crazy.
History is full of people from troubled backgrounds who have committed horrific acts of murder, and worse. Ted Bundy was raised by an abusive grandfather he thought to be his paternal father, and Ed Gein’s mother was a zealous Lutheran who denounced all women as Satan.
So no-one should be surprised by the significance of the rhyme’s third line…
That’s right. He killed and consumed the family’s friend, Mr Cow. This act of gruesome gorging would unfortunately have bleak ramifications for his two younger siblings.
This Little Piggy Had None
For the middle child of the family, it was a case of wrong place, wrong time. As she entered the kitchen for a glass of water to rehydrate after copious amounts of tears had been shed for her late father, she stumbled across the remains of Mr Cow, with her brother still at the table, bib still wrapped around his chubby little neck.
Horrified, she runs from the room, vowing never to eat again. The image of her brother chowing down on the ravaged (yet tender and juicy) body of Mr Cow was too much for her to bear.
Which leads us to our last, and most emotionally damaged little piggy.
This Little Piggy Went Wee Wee Wee, All the Way Home
With his father dead, his mother an emotional shut-in, a brother that’s a murdering cannibal (kind of, I’m not one to split animal hairs), and a sister with an eating disorder that would take the most dedicated of piggy-psychiatrists years to sort out, it’s no wonder that the youngest child of Mr and Mrs Piggy went round the bend like a nutty fruitcake.
The poor creature had no chance at home, and so, after a couple of years under his mother’s care, Baby Piggy was finally sent away in a straight-jacket to the warm room with the tea and biscuits.
And he went wee wee wee, all the way (to the) home.
So if in the future you forget this grizzly tale, and it suddenly comes back to you whilst you are reciting it to your young child, don’t tell them why your face has taken on a pained, sad expression. Just brush it off and say ‘Never mind’.
They’d probably call bullshit anyway.