Thursday, July 31, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED TO PIGGY? BY MIRIAM CLARK POTTER

A cautionary tale about order and responsibility featuring pigs.

Mr. and Mrs. Pig lived in a shabby, broken-down house. They had one little pig. They called him Piggy. Yes, Piggy-Pig--that was his whole name! The Pigs did not fix up their house. They did not mend or paint it. They were very careless.
Inside the house, they did not pick up things and put them away. Everything was messy and mussy. So, of course, they could not find things. Mr. Pig would ask, "Where's my hat?" And it would not be hanging on the nail, where it belonged. Mrs. Pig would say, "Have you looked under the bed? And on the coffee pot?"
When Mrs. Pig could not find her shoes, Mr. Pig would say, "Maybe they are in the bathtub."
Mr. and Mrs. Pig were always late, too. Late, wherever they went, and late when people came to the house. When the milkman came to collect the empty bottles, they would not be ready. Mrs. Pig would have to rinse them in a hurry.
When Monday morning came, and the man shouted, "LAUNDRY" the bundle would not be ready, either. Mrs. Pig would have to rush around.



Sometimes Mr. and Mrs. Pig even had to ask, "Where's Piggy?" Once he had got carried away in the vegetable man's cart, in a basket of onions, before they noticed. They had to chase him way down the road. Mr. and Mrs. Pig were always late too. Late, wherever they went, and late when people came to the house. When the milkman came to collect the empty bottles, they would not be ready. Mrs. Pig would have to rinse them in a hurry. When Monday morning came, and the man shouted "LAUNDRY" the bundle would not be ready, either. Mrs. Pig would have to rush around.
Sometimes Mr. and Mrs. Pig even had to ask, "Where's Piggy?" Once he had got carried away in the vegetable man's cart, in a basket of onions, before they noticed. They had to chase him way down the road. He was a cute little pig, and would have been nice, if he had been nicely taken care of. But he had never been taught to to wash his own face or pick up his toys. His swing in the garden was broken-down too, just like the house.
When friends came to see the Pigs they did not care to stay long. For when they tried to walk across the floor they would trip over books and toys. When they found chairs they would sit down on clothes and dishes and nuts. So they wold say, very soon, "Well, we must be going." and they were glad enough to get away too!
One Monday morning Mrs. Pig heard footsteps on the porch. "LAUNDRY" shouted the man. "IN A MINUTE!" she shouted back. She snatched the soiled towels from the bathroom floor. Then, in a big hurry, she pulled the sheets off the beds. She stuffed them into the laundry bag, and gave it to the man.
When he had gone Mr. Pig said, "Let's go to market and buy a nice red cabbage. "All right. Help me find the market basket." It wasn't in the sink, or on the garbage can. They finally found it in the potato bin. Then Mrs. Pig asked, "Where's Piggy?' "He's probablly in the garden, trying to swing," But he wasn't. "Isn't he on the porch, playing with corncobs?" He wasn't. "Well, where is he?" asked Mr. Pig. "Come to think of it, I don't believe he has had his breakfast. Here is your cereal bowl, and mine, but Piggy's little red one is missing." "then he's still in bed. I'll go and wake him up."
Mrs. Pig came back from Piggy's bedroom. She looked frightened, and very pale pink. She said, "He's not there!" "What? Isn't he sleeping cozily under his own blanket?" "No. The blanket is there, but that's all. So I must have bundled Piggy up with the sheets and sent him to the laundry!" Mr. Pig looked alarmed. "Well," he said, "we had better rush to the laundry, quick, before they send him down the chute into a tub of hot water!" They ran down the road to the village. The man in the laundry office was very suprised when they came rushing in. "We want our sheets back, quick! Our child Piggy is in them!" "I'm afraid it's too late," said theman. "They have already gone down the chute."






Mr. and Mrs. Pig jumped right into the chute themselves. It was dark and slippery in there. They slid along fast. Then they came whizzing out in the room below. "We want our sheets back! Our child Piggy is in them!" The pigs working there were astonished to see them. "But our bundle has already gone to the washing-room!" Mr. and Mrs. Pig were still whizzing around along the floor as they entered the washing-room. It was full of hot steam, and smelled of soap and wetness. Mr. Pig shouted, "Don't put any more sheets into the tubs! STOP! QUICK!"
Just then there was a loud squeal from a bundle in the corner. Mr. and Mrs. Pig rushed over there. They shook the sheets--and Piggy tumbled out, "Where am I?" he asked. "Why was cloth all over my nose?" They hurried him home. They didn't stop to talk. Mrs. Pig wiped Piggy off, and gave him a good, hot breakfast. They she said to Mr. Pig, "I think this has taught us a lesson. This time, we almost lost Piggy. It would be better if we kept things in order. our house would look prettier too."
So they began to be more careful. It took quite a while learn, because they had a Bad Habit. And, as Mr. Pig said, "Bad habits are hard to break. They are like tough weeds--you have to keep chewing at them." But they did keep trying, and after a while, when Mr. Pig wanted his hat, it would be right there on the peg where it belonged. When Mrs. Pig wanted her mrket basket, it would be in its own place, in the kitchen cupboard.

Then their friends liked to come and see the Pigs in their cheerful, neat little house. If anyone asked, "Where's Piggy?" he would be somewhere around--playing on the porch, or swinging in his safe, neatly mended swing. And ot lost in the laundry with cloth all over his nose!





Saturday, July 26, 2014

A GOOD MAN AND HIS GOOD WIFE BY RUTH KRAUSS

This 1944 era children's picture book leaves children out of the story altogether, and intead explores the frustrations of a husband and wife at odds with how things should be around their home.
Once there was a good man and his good wife. They lived in a beautiful cottage. It had white walls and red curtains and lots of little cubbyholes and handy shelves. The man and his wife were very happy except that he could never find things.
He would look for his shoes, and he could not find his shoes. He would look for a book, and he could not find the books. He would go to feed the canary, and he could not find the birdseed. But this made no difference because he could not find the canary. He could find nothing.
Then the good man would say, "This is ridiculous!" He would walk up and down the room and shake his head and say very loudly, "This is ridiculous, indeed!" But it was not his fault. He could not find anything because his good wife had moved everything. She would move their parlor table from the middle of the parlor to a corner of the kitchen, and she would move the kitchen table from the middle of the kitchen to under an apple tree in the garden. She would say, "My dear, I get so tired of the same things in the same places." Then she would stand back and admire her work.
She moved the good man's Sunday clothes from the closet in the hall to the closet in the attic. She moved the clock from the wall above the bed in the bedroom to an end of the mantelpiece in the parlor. She moved his favorite chair from its place before the fire to a corner of the bedroom. She moved everything in the little house. She said, "Yes, yes, I do get so tired of the same things in the same place!" and smoothed her apron contentedly.
Then the good man had to learn things all over again. But by the time he learned to find his fishing rod in the broom closet next to the pantry and the birdseed in the cubbyhole under the stairs, everything was changed again. Then he looked very stern and cried, "This is ridiculous!" again. He decided to do something about it. He said, "I will do something about it," and smiled to himself. He said, "I'll settle this once and for all."
And he did something about it. He put his shoe on his head. He wore his garters around his neck. He tied his necktie around his knee. He wore his trousers for his coat and his coat for his trousers and both of them inside out. He wore his spectacles on his elbow. He wore his socks on his ears. Then he crawled downstairs. He sat on the breakfast table, ate his napkin and wiped his face on a biscuit.
When the good wife saw him, she opened her eyes wide. She dropped the dishes. She opened her mouth wide in surprise. She threw up her hands. She cried, "This is ridiculous!" He did not reply but went on buttering his napkin and chewing little pieces off it and wiping his face with the biscuit. His garters jingled around his neck, and his socks flopped on his ears. And when she cried again, "But truly this is ridiculous, this is just too ridiculous!" he said very quietly, "My dear, I get so tired of the same things in the same place." And that was how the good man cured his good woman of a bad habit.
And they lived even more happily than before in their beautiful cottage with its white walls and red curtains and funny little cubbyholes and handy shelves. And nowadays when he wants to read a book, he knows that he will find it in the bookcase.