When all else fouls …
By David Daintree*
Once upon a time, in the far Kingdom of Animalia, there lived Two Little Pigs. They had many dear friends and lived mostly happy lives together, but they were sad because they wanted to fly and most of the other Animals said they couldn’t. The Two Little Pigs were very envious of all the Birds who flew so easily. They didn’t really like the Birds, specially the proud and haughty ones like the Eagles and Swans, but they wanted to be able to do all the things they did. ‘We are as Good As You’, they would say — ‘why can we not fly too?’
Many of the Birds said that they agreed. They didn’t mind if the Two Little Pigs flew too. But the cruel Eagles and Swans laughed at them saying: ‘You can’t fly because you have no wings. You can trot and even hop, but you can’t really fly. You even look silly when you try.’
All their kind friends were disgusted at this rudeness and wanted to help them. Not just the other Pigs, but the Sheep and Goats too, and even the Pigeons and Hens were on their side. They all hated the Eagles and Swans, and wanted to pay them back for their arrogance and their pride.
‘Wings have nothing to do with it’, they would say. ‘Your little front trotters are just as good as our wings. Better really, for they are not covered in silly feathers. When we see you hop, we think you’re flying just as beautifully as anybody else. And besides, the only really important thing is that you love one another. It’s all about Love really, and all Lovers are really Flyers.’
So they decided to go to the Grand Council that ruled Animalia and ask the Leaders of the Land to agree that Pigs could Fly. They said that it was unfair to Pigs to pretend that they couldn’t do the same things as all the other Animals. They pointed out that some Birds flew badly, like Hens, and some couldn’t even fly at all, like Emus. So hopping, they said, was surely even better than some types of flying and it was plain silly to say that Hens could fly but Pigs couldn’t. Finally, they said that it was cruel to hurt other Animals’ feelings: if the Pigs said they could fly, then the kind thing was to agree with them. For they said that being a Pig was a lifestyle choice and nobody should be picked on for that.
” … being a Pig was a lifestyle choice and nobody should be picked on for that.”
But most of the Leaders of the Grand Council, called the Parliament of Fouls (some say that the proper name for it is the Parliament of Fools, but we’ll talk about that on another day) were unkind. They wouldn’t listen to the Two Little Pigs and their Friends. Instead they sent them away saying that they were not allowed to fly. They could hop and trot and run and waddle, they could wiggle their tails and wrinkle their snouts, but they could not fly! Some of the Leaders even scoffed at the Pigs’ little trotters, and joked about them when they weren’t looking. In the end, the Old Boiler who was the Chief of the Parliament sent them away.
The Two Little Pigs and their Friends did not give up. They went to the even Grander Council, the place where all the Leaders of all the Lands in the World met together, in the great city of New Pork. And an amazing thing happened. Most of the Leaders agreed that Pigs could fly! Even more surprisingly some of the Leaders who didn’t really like Pigs and who were cruel and wicked to Pigs in their own Lands turned out to be kind and helpful to our little Friends and put their hands up when the time came to vote, for they wanted to show the World that they were really nice Animals. ‘Besides’, they said, ‘we hate the Land of Animalia, and all its proud Swans and Eagles, and even its Sheep and Pigs, but we want the rest of the world to love us’.
So the Two Little Pigs came home to Animalia and everything from then on was different. At last they could actually fly! They could do all the things that the other Animals could do. And anyone who said they couldn’t was laughed at by the other Animals, and made fun of, and even punished. Love was all that mattered, they said (even if they weren’t absolutely sure what that meant) and if anyone loved oddly or strangely they should be cast aside and ignored or even put into gaol.
Everybody was now happy and content in that Kingdom by the Sea except the Words in the Dictionary. They were very afraid. ‘None of us is safe’, they would say, ‘for the Grand Council can now decide that anyone of us can mean anything’. They even remembered how a singer and a poet in the Olden Days, called Gilbert and Sullivan, had written, ‘when everyone is somebody, then no-one’s anybody’. But of course Words are not very loving creatures, so they were ignored, and none too politely either.
*David Daintree is a Sydney-born, Tasmania-dwelling classicist, wit and writer. He served as President of Campion College, Australia’s only Liberal Arts college, from 2008 to 2012.