For an online class I taught, about working with archetypes (Campbell and Jung, for example), one of the assignments was to take traditional fairy tale and add a modernized character–or a character from a current work-in-progress. Though I’m not writing about a prepper, there is one in a novel I have outlined in my mind and which I hope to write in the next few years. In my novel, he is a minor character. For this prompt, I added a “prepper” spin on a familiar tale.
The Two Little Pigs and the Prepper
Once upon a time, there were three little pigs who lived in a modest house at the edge of the wood with their father. They played together every day when they were young, and although they enjoyed each other’s company, their differences were apparent even as piglets.
The youngest pig, Johnnie, loved to play with everything, but he was such a butterfly that he flitted from one toy to the next without mastering anything. His father and brothers often had to clean up after him.
The middle pig was named Richmond, and he loved to climb trees and build things with sticks, but he was more distracted by digging holes everywhere to bury coins and toys he had acquired—to keep them safe from the prying hands of his brothers, especially the oldest, Thomas.
As the oldest, Thomas got his own room in the pigs’ small home. There, he stored as many toys as he could. Sometimes, he even sold Johnnie’s toys to make a few extra coins. Thomas liked to save his money, for his dream was to one day build a house even better than his father’s.
The day came for the three little pigs to go out into the world and find their place. Their father called them to the table and said, “My little piggies, I am grown old, and so are you. It’s time for you to leave home and build your lives. I have saved a small amount of money for each of you, and I have a larger amount for the one who agrees to take me in and care for me in my old age.
“Money?” Thomas asked, his ears perking up at his favorite word.
“Yes,” said his father. “Whoever takes me in shall inherit my house and my land and grow rich from it.”
“That’s a lot of work,” said Johnnie. “I’ll just take the standard amount and make my own way.”
“It’s a lot of responsibility, caring for a parent,” said Richmond. “I’ll take the standard amount, too.” He kept his smile to himself, but he thought about all the coins he had buried over the years. He had no need for his father’s money or property.
“I’ll certainly take you in,” said Thomas. “But I don’t want to live in this house or on this land. We’ll sell it and buy a new plot of land up on the hill where all the town can see. And we shall build a mansion that will be the envy of all who gaze upon it.”
Johnnie spent half a morning walking until he found an abandoned plot of land. He spent the rest of the day building a hut out of straw and went to bed early. With little else to do, he spent his days lounging and eating wild mushrooms and asparagus that grew on his land.
Richmond used his father’s money to buy a plot of land near a stream and a flourishing forest. Under cover of night, he began preparing the land for his house. When the sun rose, he covered his preparations with a rough tent and slept until nightfall. He repeated this pattern for many nights. Anytime he was seen, which was rare, he was covered in dirt.
Thomas spent the first day auctioning off his father’s property, and with the proceeds, he bought a plot of land on the highest hill and hired the most talented of masons—the ones usually reserved for the king. As he sat on his hill, he gazed down at his brothers. “I’m glad I am not as lazy as them, for they sleep all day.”
His father nodded. “The correct son has taken me in,” he said. “With Thomas, I’ll always be taken care of.”
The days continued, and Thomas’s house was finally completed. It was all the town could talk about. Johnnie spent his days as he always did, lounging around. Richmond was the laughing stock of his brothers, for he had worked for months on the house he kept covered until its completion, only to reveal a small wooden shack upon completion.
“What a lazy bunch,” Thomas said, judging from atop the hill.
One evening, a big bad wolf scurried onto Johnnie’s land.
“Grrrrr,” he growled at the entrance to the straw shed. “Who is it that dares squat on my land?”
Johnnie cleared his throat. “Your land?” he asked through the flimsy wall. He parted the straw and peered out at the thick strands of drool dripping from the wolf’s sharp fangs.
“Yes,” the wolf said, rubbing his belly. “I was out hunting in the forest, but now I’m ready to settle in for a sleep.” He licked his lips. “And you’re on my land.”
“Your land? You have just as much right to this land as I do.”
“That might be true,” said the wolf. “But I have sharper teeth. And I say you’re on my land.”
“Sorry,” Johnnie said. “If you give me a minute, I’ll—”
But the wolf didn’t give him a chance to finish. Instead, he huffed and puffed and blew the house down, leaving poor Johnnie trembling in a pile of straw. As fast as he could, Johnnie ran along the edge of the forest until he came to Richmond’s shack.
Richmond heard Johnnie coming a mile off, and he opened the door so Johnnie could run right in. Out of breath, Johnnie explained about the wolf just as the predator arrived at the door.
“You sly little pigs, let me in,” he said. But the pigs didn’t answer. The wolf couldn’t even hear them breathing. Nonetheless, he huffed and he puffed and found it surprisingly easy to blow down the house, since it was made only of sticks. When the dust cleared, the wolf looked around for the pigs, but there was no sign of them. “Those sly little pigs must have snuck up to their brother’s mansion on the hill,” he muttered. Even the wolf, out hunting in the forest, had heard about the brilliant mansion.
So he trudged up the hill and knocked on the door. “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in,” he demanded.
Thomas answered the door through a peephole. “Go away, or I’ll call the authorities,” he said.
“I am the authority,” said the wolf. “You are harboring a known squatter in there.”
“My father is not a squatter,” said Thomas. “Go away.”
“I’m talking about your good-for-nothing brother who built a pathetic pile of rubbish on my land. Now let me in.”
The wolf knew better than to huff and puff at the brick mansion. Instead, he clawed ferociously at the wooden door. Thomas grew worried because the door started to buckle.
“You should have bought higher quality wood,” his father said.
“I know, but I wanted to use that money for the golden door hardware that sparkles in the sun.”
Just as the wolf’s claws broke through the door, an explosion down the hill stole everyone’s attention. Thomas and his father turned to look through the gaping hole in the door. The wolf turned as well.
Standing at the bottom of the hill stood Richmond, dressed in riot gear and holding an imposing-looking rifle. Strapped around his chest were rounds and rounds of ammo. Next to him, his rather bewildered brother stood holding a machete and a flame thrower. Halfway up the hill, a smoking crater revealed that one of them had a grenade launcher as well.
“What the what?” the wolf asked, eyeing the warning shot.
“You think I’m stupid?” Richmond asked. “For someone prepared for an apocalypse, a mere wolf is barely a challenge. Now, will you flee the country willingly, relinquishing your claim on Johnnie’s land, or will I have to kill you?”
The pigs’ father smiled. “I never realized I raised a prepper.” He wiped a tear from his eye. “Your mother would be proud.” Then he turned, with just the hint of disgust, to Thomas. “I’m glad one of you developed a useful skill.”
The wolf took one look at the flame thrower, the rifle, the machete, and the terrifying look in Richmond’s eye. But before he could make a decision, Johnnie flipped a switch, and the air filled with the scent of singed hair and roasted meat.
Later, after the feast, Thomas sheepishly paid Richmond a good portion of gold. “For saving my life,” he said. “Maybe you can use it to build a bit of a better shack than that old wooden house you used to have.”
But Richmond just shook his head. Maybe Thomas liked flashy golden door hardware, but any prepper knew that the best place to invest money was in an underground bunker, away from the prying eyes of greedy brothers and big, bad wolves.
One last day to purchase The Girl Who Flew Away or The Scarred Letter for just $1.99.
Don’t miss the last day of Barking Rain Press’s Summer Daze sale. You can read The Scarred Letter and The Girl Who Flew Away for just $1.99 each. Prices are good anywhere ebooks are sold. But hurry–the sale ends on July 4th!