Fairy Tales and Other Traditional Stories


“The Pig Brother”

by Laura Richards
Additional Information
  • Year Published: 0
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Sara Cone Bryant, ed., How to Tell Stories to Children, and Some Stories to Tell
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 2.6
  • Word Count: 635


There was once a child who was untidy. He left his books on the floor, and his muddy shoes on the table; he put his fingers in the jam pots, and spilled ink on his best pinafore; there was really no end to his untidiness.

One day the Tidy Angel came into his nursery.

“This will never do!” said the Angel. “This is really shocking. You must go out and stay with your brother while I set things to rights here.”

“I have no brother!” said the child.

“Yes, you have,” said the Angel. “You may not know him, but he will know you. Go out in the garden and watch for him, and he will soon come.”

“I don’t know what you mean!” said the child; but he went out into the garden and waited.

Presently a squirrel came along, whisking his tail.

“Are you my brother?” asked the child.

The squirrel looked him over carefully.

“Well, I should hope not!” he said. “My fur is neat and smooth, my nest is handsomely made, and in perfect order, and my young ones are properly brought up. Why do you insult me by asking such a question?”

He whisked off, and the child waited.

Presently a wren came hopping by.

“Are you my brother?” asked the child.

“No, indeed!” said the wren. “What impertinence! You will find no tidier person than I in the whole garden. Not a feather is out of place, and my eggs are the wonder of all for smoothness and beauty. Brother, indeed!” He hopped off, ruffling his feathers, and the child waited.

By-and-by a large Tommy Cat came along.

“Are you my brother?” asked the child.

“Go and look at yourself in the glass,” said the Tommy Cat haughtily, “and you will have your answer. I have been washing myself in the sun all the morning, while it is clear that no water has come near you for a long time. There are no such creatures as you in my family, I am humbly thankful to say.”

He walked on, waving his tail, and the child waited.

Presently a pig came trotting along.

The child did not wish to ask the pig if he were his brother, but the pig did not wait to be asked.

“Hallo, brother!” he grunted.

“I am not your brother!” said the child.

“Oh yes, you are!” said the pig. “I confess I am not proud of you, but there is no mistaking the members of our family. Come along, and have a good roll in the barnyard! There is some lovely black mud there.”

“I don’t like to roll in mud!” said the child.

“Tell that to the hens!” said the Pig Brother. “Look at your hands and your shoes, and your pinafore! Come along, I say! You may have some of the pig-wash for supper, if there is more than I want.”

“I don’t want pig-wash!” said the child; and he began to cry.

Just then the Tidy Angel came out.

“I have set everything to rights,” she said, “and so it must stay. Now, will you go with the Pig Brother, or will you come back with me, and be a tidy child?”

“With you, with you!” cried the child; and he clung to the Angel’s dress.

The Pig Brother grunted.

“Small loss!” he said. “There will be all the more wash for me!” And he trotted off.