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Three Little Pigs and Three Little Hares

There is something magical about the number three. It occurs repeatedly in folktales and fairy tales, and there is a literary “rule of three” as well as a visual one in art and photography.

The story of the Three Little Pigs is full of it – first there are three pigs, and when the wolf visits each of their houses in turn, each pig responds, “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin” (three chins). So the wolf performs three actions: He huffs and he puffs and he blows. In the original print version of the tale from the 19th century (the tale was old long before it appeared in print), the wolf entices the third little pig with three things: a turnip field, an apple tree, and a market fair.

I recently discovered a Turkish folktale about three hares that is almost identical to the story of the three little pigs, as the hares are also sent out into the world to make their own way. Two make foolish choices while the third makes a wise one and is safe from the fox (rather than a wolf). There is a dialogue repeated by the fox and each of the hares that calls on the other three times, “Hare, hare, little downy hare …” and “Fox, fox, cunning-eyed fox …”

You can find the full text of The Story of the Three Little Pigs with illustrations by L. Leslie Brooke on Project Gutenberg:

And here is The Story of the Three Hares:

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