Once upon a time a pig lived in the great forest. She looked after herself very well, caring for her cottage and fetching water from a nearby stream. She collected twigs and branches, and with these she kept a fire blazing all winter long.
One day, as snow fell and a north wind howled, the little pig kindled a fire and began to cook her supper when suddenly she heard a banging on her door. A voice called out, "Dear little pig, please let me in! I am nearly frozen to death."The little pig recognized the voice. "No, I cannot let you in," she said, "for it I do, wolf, you will eat me."
"I won't," said the wolf, "but if you open your door and let me put just one of my back legs inside your house, I shall not die."
The little pig knew how terrible it was to be cold, and she was kindhearted, and so she thought that she might let one back leg inside her house, for the wolf could do her no harm that way. "Very well," she said, "one back leg," and she opened her door just wide enough so that the wolf could put one back leg inside.
But the little pig, kind as she was, was not entirely trusting, and so she put a big pot of water on the fire.
For a while the wolf was quiet. Then at last he sighed, "Dear little pig, will you let me put my other leg inside your house? I am so so so so coooooolldddd. Just one more leg, please?"
So the little pig opened her door a little wider and let the wolf put his other leg inside.
The little pig busied herself with the fire and soon the wolf began to sigh again. "Dear pig, I have no intention of harming you. My front legs are frozen stiff. Won't you let me bring them inside?"
"All right," said the little pig, and she opened the door a little wider.
The wolf moved backward until he was inside, and all the while the little pig continued to stoke the fire.
After some time the wolf again began to sigh. "Dear kind pig, my mouth and nose are filled with icicles. I can barely breathe. Do let me in. I promise not to harm you."
The kind pig picked up a sack and a piece of string, and she said, "All right, wolf, come in backward very carefully so that you do not break my door down," and the wolf wriggled backward until at last his whole body was inside - but he did not realize until it was too late that he was inside not only the house, but the sack. Then, quick as lightning, the little pig tied up the mouth of the sack and, seizing the bowl of boiling water on the fire, she poured it over the struggling wolf.
The wolf howled and howled, for he had been badly burned, and meanwhile the little pig ran outside and round the back of her little cottage, and there she climbed a ladder she had put there, for the day before she had mended her roof. Up she climbed, and when she reached the top, she heaved the ladder up behind her and sighed, "Ah, I was nearly eaten by that wolf. I shall stay here until the coast is clear."
Inside the house the wolf wailed and thrashed until at last he burst out of the sack and looked around to make certain the little pig with her boiling water was nowhere in sight. Then he hurried away to find his friends, for he was determined to get even.
After a short time the little pig heard the sound of many wolves coming toward her house, and when they arrived, she counted them and saw that there were 10.
"Where is that little pig?" theycried, peering inside the house and behind the bushes. "Where has she gone?" they cried, until at last one of the wolves looked up. "There she is," shouted the wolf, and all 10 wolves stood staring up trying to decide how to get the little pig.
"I will stand here," said the first wolf, the one who had been tied inside the sack and scalded by the boiling water. "And one of you climb upon my back. Then the others will climb up one by one until we have made a wolf-ladder, and then we shall get that little pig."
So the first wolf stood close to the house, and the others began to climb, one by one, coming closer and closer to the poor little pig.
Just as the 10th wolf was climbing atop the ladder, the little pig cried, "Boiling water! Boiling water for the bad, bad wolf. Watch out!" and the first wolf, remembering the scalding water, was terrified, and without thinking he dashed from the house as fast as he could, and the other nine wolves came crashing down to the ground in a heap.
Some of the wolves fell so hard they broke bones, and others ran away as fast as they could, deep in the forest never to return.
When the little pig knew she was safe, she climbed down and returned to her house and firmly bolted the door. And never again did the wolves disturb the kind little pig, and the wolf who had been badly burned moved far away, to another part of the forest where he knew he would never again see that little pig.