Once, there were three pigs, and they all lived their little piggy lives in a great, stinking hovel, hidden in the middle of a dense forest.
One day, the eldest pig said, “I am fed o the teeth with living, day in and day out, in this stinking hovel, an d never seeing any new sights, or having any new adventures. I declare, I am going into the city, where I will be able to live ina manner fitting a pig of my undeniable breeding and stature!”
And with that, he slowly began to make the preparations to depart. His younger brothers, aghast at his plan, implored him to stay, saying “Oh! Do not leave us, do not leave us! For, surely, you’ll never come back to us, as danger is sure to befall you in the city, and there are many rogues and cutthroats just waiting for a tender young morsel such as yourself to come along, so they can devour him!”
But the eldest pig would have none of it. He put on his best little piggy-suit, grabbed his valise, and, waving a hoof goodbye, trotted down the road toward the city and his fate.
Well, his brothers were sobbing and squealing, sorry to see him go, and certain no good would come of it, and, most especially the youngest brother, who said to himself, “He can go anywhere he likes, but I’ll not leave my safe, comfortable, quiet little hovel, with its blanket of flies and its sweet-smelling manure mound.”
And, so saying to himself, he lay down on his piggy knuckles, and fell to musing.
Well, the eldest brother, omce he actually entered the gates of the city, was a little afraid, but he soon contented himself that he was dressed in fancy finery, and thus looked the part of a gentleman. (Or, rather, gentlepig?) He trotted along, trying to put the best, most confident face he could on his visit, but was soon very tired and hungry.
In time, a strange man came up to him in the streets, and said, “Oh, brother pig! I see that you have come a long way, and are most tired and hungry! Come, I am a kind man, known for my kindness to strangers, and I will give you something to eat in my shop, and then let you lie down for awhile!”
And at that, the pig was delighted, saying to himself, “My! This fellow is most hospitable! I certainly am glad I decided to leave the boring old hovel in the forest to journey to the city, even though I do miss the blanket of flies and the sweet-smelling manure mound a little.”
And so the pig followed the man around the corner to the door of his little shop, and the man said, “Here, here is an apple! Better put this in your mouth, eh!”
And then the man produced a silver platter, and said, “Here, here is a place you can lie down! You must be very tired after your long journey, and require lots of rest!”
And the pig said, “My, it doesn’t look very comfortable!” But, he put the apple in his mouth, and lay down upon the platter, as he was instructed, and then asked, “Is this what you had planned for me?”
And the strange man said, “Not quite! For it is very drafty in here, and I wouldn’t want you to catch cold. Here! It is ever so much warmer in here!”
And with that, the strange man threw open the door to a great stone oven, and before the pig cpuld even squeal a squeal of surprise, the man thrust him inside, where he was roasted and broiled and then served up, chop by chop, to the strange man’s customers.
Well, back home in the hovel, the other brothers waited and waited, and waited some more, but seeing that the eldest brother was never going to return, they soon forgot all about him, pigs not having such a long memory, after all.
Soon, the middle brother began to feel, just as his eldest brother had, that he was somehow missing out in life, and that his purposes would be better served if he went out from the forest, to seek his fame and fortune.
“I will not make the mistake that our elder brother has, though, and journey to the city. Instead, I will keep to the countryside, where people are simple and friendly, and there is little to fear!”
And so, getting on his best little piggy suit, he grabbed his valise, and, telling his youngest brother goodbye, went about his way.
The youngest pig, who had seen all of this before, rested his piggy snout on his little piggy trotters, and said to himself, “Hm. My eldest brother has gone to the city, and never returned. Now my other brother has left to wander the countryside. I am certain he will never return, either! I will just stay here in my familiar old hovel, with my blanket of flies and my sweet-smelling manure pile, and I will be nice and safe.”
And so he did.
His brother, meanwhile, wandered the roads and the pleasant country lanes until he came upon a farm. The farmer was a great, burly, bearded chap who exclaimed to him, “Come, Brother Pig! You must be hungry and tired after such a long journey! Come, and I will feed you, and give you a sweet-smelling manure pile upon which to recline!”
And so the pig said to himself, ” Oh, I was right in leaving the old hovel, for the people of the countryside are generous and kind! Why, this man barely knows me,a nd already he is offering to fatten me up!”
And so the pig went with the farmer to the pig sty, and there he found blankets of delicious flies and sweet-smelling manure aplenty, and a trough with delectable leavings floating in a thick, soupy muck. So he put his snout down in the trough and began to feed.
The farmer said, “There, there, Mr. Pig! You just eat to your heart’s content, and I will go and fetch a special present with which to welcome you to our humble home. Why, you’re such a handsome fellow, I’d like to have you for dinner!”
At the prospect of being invited inside for dinner (for this is what he thought the old farmer meant) , the young pig raised his dripping snout and squealed with delight. Then, curiously, he saw that the farmer was concealing something behind his back.
“Say, friend,” asked the curious pig, “what is that you’re hiding behind your back?”
And, as if in answer, the farmer produced a huge wooden club, and brought it down with terrible force right between the poor porker’s piggy eyes.
His brains flew out of his piggy ears, and he died in a moment.
The farmer did indeed have the pig for dinner then–as the main course!
Well, the youngest pig waited,a nd waited, and, seeing that his brothers were never going to return, contented himself by remembering how very wise he had been to simply sty where it was nice and familiar, and not to go off and try to see and do things a pig should not, logically, try to see and do.
“Hm. My eldest brother went to the city, and has not returned. He is surely dead, but I have remained safe, right here. Then my other brother left to wander the countryside, and has not returned. He is, also surely dead. But I am still safe and sound, enjoying the clouds of flies and the warm, sweet manure pile here in my little hovel in the forest.”
And so he slowly forgot his brothers and their sorry fate.
It was nto long after that the last surviving pig was awakened by a strange sound, like a horn blowing in the distance.
Not knowing what that sound was, and thinking it was some sort of animal he had never before seen, he poked his piggy snout out the door and looked around.
He was pierced between the eyes by an arrow. Around him, dogs danced, as two hunters came riding up–
“Hark! It seems it is a good day to hunt wild pig! This one is good and fat, and will make a tender morsel for our feast!”
And so all the pigs died, no matter where they did, or didn’t go.
All of which is to say, one should never fear death, for it is inevitable, by and by.