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Literature / The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

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Here’s what really happened with the Three Little Pigs!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is a children's book written by Jon Scieszka, with illustrations by Lane Smith, released in 1989. It's a parody of The Three Little Pigs with the story being told from the perspective of "A. Wolf" or "Alexander T. Wolf", as the wolf is known in this story.

In this story, the Big Bad Wolf tells the audience what really happened between him and the three little pigs and how he became the "Big Bad Wolf". See, he was baking a cake for his grandmother's birthday, but he ran out of sugar and decided to go ask his three little pig neighbors if he could borrow some. But he also happened to have a cold at the time, with a ridiculously powerful sneeze when provoked — say, by a pig who wouldn't help a harmless wolf bake a cake for his grandmother's birthday...

The story became so successful that it spawned several other Fractured Fairy Tale retellings of popular fairy tales such as The Frog Prince Continued and The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka.



  • Accidental Murder: The Wolf admits that he did blow down the straw and wood houses, killing the pigs inside, but it was an accident. (He also admits to eating them afterward, but hey, he's a wolf).
  • Adaptational Heroism: The wolf is a Nice Guy who only wanted to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Due to the story being told from the Wolf’s perspective, the three pigs are portrayed as being more aggressive and rude towards the Wolf, who was on a harmless errand. To elaborate, the first little pig ignored the Wolf and pretended he wasn't home, the second little pig said he couldn't come in because he was shaving, and the third little pig told the Wolf to get lost and never come back, and even insulted the Wolf's grandma.
  • Animated Adaptation: An animated short based on the tale was made. It is very faithful, repeating every line from the book word for word. It can be seen here.
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  • Beard of Sorrow: The wolf in the jail cell at the end.
  • Berserk Button: The Wolf is pleasant enough throughout the story, but when you insult his grandmother, as the third pig did, he will go berserk and try to bust your door down.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Wolf was polite to the pigs throughout the story (although he still ate them after he accidentally killed them). But when the third pig insults the Wolf’s grandmother, the wolf then goes ballistic.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Averted. Not only is the Wolf in this story not actively bad, he knocked down the first two pigs’ houses entirely by accident.
  • Black Comedy: If the accidental deaths of the first two pigs don't count, the Wolf eating them afterward certainly does.
  • Blow You Away: The Wolf's sneezes are so powerful that they have this effect on the pigs' poorly-built houses.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Wolf doesn’t really seem to see accidentally killing his neighbors by knocking over their houses with them inside and then eating their corpses as especially wrong. This is noted in the story where the Wolf notes it’s not his fault his species’ diet is cute little animals like bunnies, sheep, and pigs.
  • Downer Ending: Depending on how you view this story, the story ends rather badly for the Wolf as he is sent to jail after going crazy at the third little pig’s house and he still didn’t get the sugar he needed to bake his grandmother’s cake.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: A Perspective Flip of the story of the Three Little Pigs.
  • Frame-Up: The Wolf claims that his actions were quite innocent and that other people exaggerated the story to make him the villain.
  • Institutional Apparel: The Wolf wears a black and white striped uniform after being sent to jail.
  • May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?: The whole plot is predicated by the wolf's need for a cup of sugar to bake a birthday cake, and his inability to get one from any of the pigs before they get killed.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The wolf is named Alexander T. Wolf.
  • Perspective Flip: This retelling of “The Three Little Pigs” is told from the Wolf’s perspective and here the pigs are portrayed as being rude characters who wouldn’t give the wolf the sugar he needs to bake his grandmother’s cake.
  • Police Pig: At the end of the book, the officer standing guard outside the Wolf's cell is a pig.
  • Postmodernism: It, along with The Stinky Cheese Man (also by Scieszka and Smith), were arguably two of the first postmodernist picture books.
  • Pragmatic Hero: The Wolf justifies eating the first and second pigs because they were already dead, and you can't just let good pork go to waste.
  • Rule of Three: The three pigs, although they don’t get a lot of focus due to the story being told from the Wolf’s point of view.
  • Savage Wolf: Averted in this version as the Wolf is portrayed as being polite and timid (though he still ate the first two pigs in this story as in the original version).
  • Sneeze of Doom: The Wolf's cold makes him sneeze with such force that he knocks down the straw and stick houses.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never know what happened to the Wolf's grandmother after the wolf went to jail. Although, we can safely assume that the grandmother is still alive, after the wolf asks the prison guard if he can still have a cup of sugar.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The Wolf doesn't like the idea that Predators Are Mean just because they eat cute animals like bunnies and sheep and pigs.
    If cheeseburgers were cute, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad, too.