The Importance of a Brick House

Once upon a time there was a mother pig who had three sons.  Her oldest son, Mikey, was a very responsible pig who always did everything anyone asked him to do.  Her middle son, Sam, was a very kind pig who loved his family and tried to help everyone out when he could.  Her youngest son, Steve, was a very handsome pig who loved to have a good time and make everyone laugh.  The four of them lived very happily together in their rented house until one day the owner, Mr. Big Bad Wolf came by to say he was selling the house and they had to be out by the end of the month.  It was very upsetting, but there was nothing to be done.  The mother pig decided to go and live with her sister, who had an extra room.  This meant that the three sons were on their own for the first time.  Their mother was very proud of them and knew they were ready for this challenge.  She only gave them one word of advice before sending them on their way.  “Always stick together,” she said.  “Family takes care of family.”

So out the three young pigs went into the wide, wide world.  They fully intended to keep their mother’s advice, so they looked for a place where they could build a house to live together.  They knew exactly what they wanted it to be like:  an open grassy space with plenty of trees to supply Mikey’s wood shop, lots of room for Sam to have a garden, and a stream nearby for Steve to fish in.

Everything was going well until they met a man who was selling straw houses.  “These are the finest straw houses you will ever see,” the man claimed.  “Everyone who is anyone is building their houses out of straw these days.  Straw is the latest fashion.”  And he showed the three pigs many pictures of rich and famous pigs posing outside of their straw houses.  Steve was very impressed by these pictures.  He imagined how cool he would look in a house of straw.  His brothers, however, did not agree.  They thought the houses looked silly and flimsy, but Steve could not be convinced.  Finally the brothers agreed, not because they liked the straw houses but because they saw that Steve was going to buy the house no matter what and they wanted to stick together as their mother had advised.  That was when the man told them the houses were only big enough for one pig each.  They would have to buy three houses to have room for all of them.  The older two brothers tried again to tell Steve what a bad idea this was, but Steve would not listen.  He bought that house and moved in at once.  And Mikey and Sam were left to look for a place to live as near to Steve as possible.

It didn’t take long for them to find another man.  This man was selling wood houses.  They were much sturdier than the straw houses and were very handsome to look at.  “This is a very wise purchase,” said the man.  “Properly taken care of, you will be able to sell this house for more than you bought it in only two years time.”  And he showed the two pigs all the numbers.  The houses were very expensive, and Sam did not want to borrow money from the man to buy their house.  Mikey did not agree.  He argued that they could make money by selling the house later and it was only being responsible to buy something that was such a good investment.  He insisted for so long that Sam finally agreed.  But when they went to buy the house, the man advised them not to live in it together.  “Two pigs means more wear and tear on the house.  I suggest that you each buy your own house and that you stay away from home as much as possible if you want to keep in nice for resale in the future.  Whatever you do, don’t use the kitchen.  That will only wear it out.  There are plenty of nice restaurants around here that can supply all you need to eat.”  Now Sam loved to cook.  That was why he wanted to have a garden.  Once again, he tried to talk Mikey out of buying the house, but Mikey just said, “You go on and look for a place that’s more like you want.  I’ll buy this and live here for a couple of years.  Then, when I’ve sold it and made some money, maybe we can talk about living together again.”

So Mikey bought his wood house and Sam went sadly on his way to look for a place of his own close to his brothers.  In no time at all, he came across an old man.  The old man was selling his large brick house.  “My health isn’t what it used to be, and I live here all alone now,” said the old man.  ‘It’s time I went to live with my daughter.  She’s been after me for years to do it.”  Sam had never seen anything more perfect than that house.  It sat in a wide open field with trees all around and a little stream running along one side.  Behind the house was a large garden.  The house had plenty of rooms and a large kitchen with an open fire for cooking.  Unfortunately, now that the other brothers had bought other houses, Sam did not have enough money to buy the brick house all by himself.  Instead, he made a deal with the man that he would work for him for a year to make up the difference in the price.

And so the year went by.  Sam lived in a little hut out behind the brick house and worked for the old man.  Mikey slept at the wood house and ate at restaurants every night to keep the kitchen fresh and new.  And Steve threw parties in the straw house and made friends who thought he was very funny.  At last the day came when Sam’s year was up and he was the owner of the brick house.  That night he invited his brothers to dinner and cooked a big meal over the open fire.  He showed his brothers how much room there was and invited them to come and live with him.  But Steve didn’t want to give up his exciting life in the straw house, and Mikey still had a year to go before he could turn a profit on the wood house, so they both said no.

The next day, the troubles started.  Mr. Big Bad Wolf had decided to build a highway right through that portion of the woods.  He got permission to knock down all the houses that were in his way.  Soon his agents came knocking on the door of the straw house.  They told Steve that his house was going to be knocked down unless he could pay the extra cost of running the road around it.  Steve had no money.  He had spent it all buying the straw house and throwing parties in it.  He begged and pleaded, but they did not listen.  They told him to get out before they brought it down while he was still inside.  Steve refused to leave…until he saw the bulldozers coming.  Then he ran out the door and straight down the road to Mikey’s house, where he told Mikey all his troubles.  Unfortunately, Mikey was having troubles of his own.   The same agents had been to his house.  They gave him one week to get out before it was torn down.  They had told him he would be paid for his house, but they were only offering half of what he had paid for it.  He wanted to see a lawyer and fight this, but he had no money.  All that eating out at restaurants was expensive.  For a week, the two pigs lived in the wood house and tried to figure out what to do.  They were too ashamed of all their troubles to go to Sam for help until  the week was gone and the bulldozers came and they had no choice but to head down the road to the brick house.

At the brick house, Sam had just learned of what was going on.  Just hours before his brothers arrived, the agents of Mr. Big Bad Wolf had come with their notice that he had two weeks before his house would be torn down.  Sam was just thinking about what he could do when he saw his brothers trudging up the lane.  He laughed with relief and ran to meet them.  Together they thought of a plan.  All they needed was enough money to pay for the road to run around the brick house.  So they got to work.  Mikey spent hours and hours in his wood shop carving wooden bowls and spoons and little toys for children.  Sam could be found all day long in his kitchen baking pies.  Steve went early every morning to the stream to catch as many fish as possible.  And every afternoon they would head to the market to sell the things they had made and caught.

Two weeks later when the bulldozers arrived, the three brothers were standing outside their house with no intention of leaving it.  The workers told them to get out of the way, but they wouldn’t.  They threatened to call Mr. Big Bad Wolf himself.  Sam said that sounded like a good idea.  Shortly, Mr. Big Bad Wolf arrived, quite put out that he had been interrupted in the middle of his busy day.  He had all his contracts in his hands.  “This house is coming down, boys,” he said in his booming voice.  “You might as well face the facts.  It’s all legal here as you can see.  Unless you can pay for us to go around (and I know you don’t have that kind of money) this is happening, and it’s happening now.”

Sam just smiled and nodded to Steve.  Steve came forward pushing a wheel barrow.  Inside the wheel barrow were piles and piles of money.  “I think that will do the trick,” said Mikey.

Mr. Big Bad Wolf couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but when they counted the money, it was indeed enough.  So the workers went to work building the road around the brick the house.  And the brothers went back inside, promising each other that they would always live together and work together from now on.

They kept that promise.  And they never saw Mr. Big Bad Wolf again.

3 thoughts on “The Importance of a Brick House

  1. Tara says:

    My boys are having a difficult time reconciling the differences in this story and the original. =) But they did like that the Brick House was still standing in the end. And I agree with Jessi, this is a great version o f this tale!

    • debdunlevy says:

      Yeah, I have a feeling parents might enjoy these Untold Tales more than kids. But I’m okay with that, too. The three pigs story has always bothered me because I wasn’t sure what the message was supposed to be. Bricks are better building material? Really? So I decided to make up my own moral. Because I need everything to make sense to ME. 🙂

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