Once there were three pig brothers living together in a little brick house. They used to live in separate houses, but the brick house was the only one left. One day, they heard a scratching sound on the roof.
“It’s the wolf again,” the oldest brother said. “Start boiling some water.”
“I thought we ate him already,” the youngest brother said.
“Then it’s a different one,” the middle brother said.
The brothers quickly built a roaring fire under a large pot of water. The scratching sound changed into a wooshing sound as something fell down the chimney. When they heard a splash, the oldest brother clapped the lid over the top of the pot.
The pigs waited. Knock knock knock. “Did you hear that?” the youngest brother asked.
Knock knock knock. “There it is again,” The middle brother said.
Knock knock knock. “It’s coming from the pot,” the oldest brother said, and he stepped forward and used a cloth to lift the lid off the pot.
A tall skeleton wrapped in a black robe jumped out of the pot and glided across the floor towards them. “It was clever to use iron to trap me,” it said. “I’m impressed. The last time I was defeated, it was also three brothers who defeated me. I gave them gifts. I will reward you with gifts too if you promise to never tell anyone my weakness.”
“Sure,” the oldest brother said. “Who are you?”
“Death,” the skeleton said.
“Nice to meet you,” the brothers said together.
“Likewise,” Death said. He turned to the youngest brother. “For you, little pig, I have an unbeatable egg.”
“If we can’t scramble it, we’ll just boil it,” the youngest brother said. He put it in the boiling pot of water and was soon eating his boiled egg.
Death turned to the middle brother. “For you, little pig, I have a raw onion ring. Eat this as it is, and you will taste the ghost of your meal for a long time.”
“Sounds great,” the middle brother said, and he quickly ate the raw onion ring.
Death turned to the oldest pig. “I have something special for you,” he said. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and shook it a few times. As he shook it, it grew.
The oldest pig frowned. “Can I eat that?” he asked
Death held it out to the oldest brother. “No,” he said. “It’s a picnic blanket. It will hide you from the dirt and bugs on the ground when you sit on it to eat outside.”
“What good is that?” the middle brother asked. “Food never lasts long enough to make it out of the house.”
“Food doesn’t always last long enough to make it inside the house,” the youngest brother said.
“I knew it was you that ate all the strawberries before they were ripe,” the middle pig said.
“You say that as though you haven’t been eating green apples off the trees,” the youngest brother said.
“What? I thought I told you both to wait until they are ripe,” the oldest brother said. And then, they were all yelling at once.
Death looked at the arguing pigs and then he quietly left out the front door. When it closed with a thump, the pigs stopped yelling and looked at the door. “He got away,” the youngest brother said.
“Who cares? We couldn’t eat him anyway. He was all bones,” the middle pig said.
“He could have added flavor to a soup,” the youngest brother said.
The middle brother raised an eyebrow. “Bones that old?”
The oldest pig sighed. He put the picnic blanket on the table. “There. A tablecloth. Doesn’t that look nice?”
His younger brothers looked at the table and shrugged. “What’s for dinner?” the youngest brother asked.