Once upon a time, in the past or the future or somewhere in between, lived four pigs. Each pig lived alone, in his own big house. One pig lived in a house of straw, as the old tales go; the other lived in a house of mud; the third lived in a house of sticks; and the fourth in a house of bricks. Their houses were big and filled with lots of things: clocks, rocks, tables, chairs, shirts, sinks, fridges, boats (one even had a moat), jewels, teapots, cups and saucers too. These pigs liked to collect many many things and never shared or gave anything away. Their houses were so full, that one could hardly move.

One day a wolf came into town and smelt the pigs, they stank of stuff. There is always a smell in the air of those who have too much stuff — more than they can handle. The wolf will smell them out, always. And so the wolf came, and the wolf was hungry to take what he and his kin needed: no more, no less.

So the wolf went to the house of straw and gently growled outside the door: a squeal and a crashing sound came from inside the house. The wind blew and the wolf growled again, and the wind blew again, harder. The wolf growled so loud that the world stopped and the air froze, then over the trees a wind gathered, and gathered and gathered into a small tornado, spinning round and round to the house of straw and blew the house and all that was in it away. The pig, terrified, saw the wolf and ran to the second pig’s house: the house of mud.

“Let me in! Quick! The wolf is near!”

The wolf watched in silence, waiting; waiting for the moon. The moon sailed high in the sky, it was full and round, its face beaming down. The waves on the sea gently clapped together. The wolf found new strength and howled to the moon. The moon beamed again and again and the waves of the sea clapped and clapped. The roar of the sea gathered louder and louder, the sea rose higher and higher. The wolf howled again, the moon beamed, and the sea rose over the beach and flooded the house of mud — it washed away like sugar in a teacup — in the sea, leaving the pigs to roll helplessly in the mud pit. The wolf did not fancy eating muddy pig so he waited.

The pigs, frightened, got up and ran as quick as their little legs could carry them to the third pig in his house of sticks.

“Let us in! Let us in!” they cried helplessly, “The wolf is near!”

The third pig let them in. The wind blew, the clouds rolled in, the sea calmed, and the wolf waited. The clouds grew dark, the air grew thick, and the wolf waited and watched the house of sticks very carefully. He scratched the ground. Far away over the sea a thunder rolled on by, and then it got closer, and closer and closer. Lightening lit up the sky like the lights of Yule Eve. It got closer to the beach where the mud house was no longer. And then came three squeals as the lightening hit the house of sticks with such a thunder, the earth shook.

The three pigs would have been cooked to a cinder if they had not got out just in time and went running to the house of bricks as the rain came pouring down. Three wet pigs cried outside the house of bricks. “Let us in! Let us in!” they cried helplessly, “The wolf is near!”

The pig in his house of bricks opened the door and let the wet pigs in. He gaved them some towels and warm soup while they waited out the storm. But the storm was fierce and unrelenting, as was the wolf. The wolf growled and howled, and the wind blew, and the storm rolled on, the lightening lit up the sky and the thunder rolled on shaking the earth as it went. It did not stop. The pigs hid in the house of bricks as the table rattled, and the cups fell off the shelves, smashing onto the floor: SMASH, CRASH, BANG, BASH, CLASH!! Everything came down as the wolf howled, the storm brewed and the earth quaked.

The walls began to crack, the bricks fell out of the wall, the ceiling began to crumble all about the house, the pigs went to hide in the basement, stumbling and falling over all the stuff as they went. They sealed themselves in. There they hid as the earth shook, the thunder rolled, and the sea swept in; the pigs cowered in the darkness as chaos reigned. Then everything stopped and all was still. The pigs waited. Then they tried to open the door, but it was jammed. There was no way out, trapped under the rubble. They cried “Let us out! Let us out!”. No one came. The wolf waited.

A month rolled by, the wolf slept on the beach and enjoyed watching the stars that filled the sky. Then some noise came out of the rubble. The wolf’s ears pricked up. He got up and wandered to the fallen house of bricks. One fat pig emerged out of the rubble. One. The wolf waited, hiding. No other pigs came out. The wolf got up approached the pig and smiled a huge wolf smile, then before the pig could act or run, the wolf pounced and bit out a chunk of flesh from the pigs throat. The pig sputtered and gargled. The wolf dragged the pig to his pack. They were there patiently waiting, hungry.