The Tale of Pigling Bland (Book 15 of 23)

by Beatrix Potter

Hardcover, 1985



Call number




Warne (1985), Edition: First Edition, 88 pages


Pigling sets off from home and, among his adventures, helps Pig-wig escape from Mr. Piperson.

User reviews

LibraryThing member IonaS
From the inscription written by my mother at the beginning of the book I can see she gave it to me on my 6th birthday. I can’t remember reading the book then, though I can see that it is falling apart, but that is probably more from age than being read numerous times!

We learn about an old pig
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called Aunt Pettitoes who had eight little pigs, four little girl pigs and four little boy pigs, one of whom was a little boy pig called Pigling Bland (whatever “Bland” refers to). Funny that Aunt Pettitoes was old, seeing as she’d just had eight little pigs!

There is an “I” narrator in the book but we don’t discover who this is.

Two of the little boy pigs, Pigling Bland and Alexander, go to market. Aunt Pettitoes sheds tears as she bids them farewell and warns them “beware of traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs: always walk upon your hind legs”. She doesn’t tell us why the two have to go to market and her advice and tears make the trip sound ominous.

I don’t know why hen roosts, whatever they are, are dangerous, but the “bacon and eggs” sound exceedingly scary. Is she crying because of the dangers of the trip? Are the piglets in danger of being turned into bacon?

Nowadays, but not when I was a child, of course, I see terrifying videos on Facebook about how pigs end their days and it is many years since I have partaken of bacon, and never will again of course.

Because of this knowledge, the book makes me feel very sad. When reading I’m thinking of whether the two piglets have to buy anything at the market or whether thy themselves are going to be sold, or what.

The book really feels like a tragedy to me and I don’t understand how Beatrix Potter could write the story, since she herself of course knew the fate of such piglets as these two.

The illustrations show that the two are dressed in clothes and do in fact walk upon their hind legs.

Aunt Pettitoes impresses on her sons that once they cross the county boundary they cannot come back; we’re not told why. They each carry a licence to go to market in Lancashire. She also gives them each eight “conversation peppermints”.

They are stopped by a policeman, but can’t find Alexander’s licence so the policeman takes him with him. The text says “I disposed of Alexander in the neighbourhood; he did fairly well when he had settled down.” This is incomprehensible. How was he disposed of?

Pigling Bland dejectedly continues on his own and we then learn that he is going to a “hiring fair” and I assume that he hopes to be hired to do work somewhere, which sounds much better than “bacon and eggs”.

Pigling then gets seized by a farmer and thrown into a hamper. When released he encounters a lovely, female Berkshire pig called Pig-wig who has been sold to be made into bacon and hams (my fears are confirmed), but they run away together and the story does not have a sad ending.

The book is old-fashioned, of course, and I had no understanding of several of the words and am sure I didn’t when I was six, either – wainscot, coppy stool, flitch and antimacassar.

Though the book ends happily, it is not one I would read or give to any small child, because of the sad fate of pigs, but perhaps it is only in these present days that some of us are thinking about these things and finding out we don’t want to kill and eat pigs or any animals for that matter, and by no means everyone has become vegan yet.

Beatrix Potter is a well-known and well-loved author but from a modern point of view I don’t really appreciate the book. So only two stars.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Pigling Bland has to leave home, and sets off on a little adventure. He stays in the house of a nasty man who has a little pig girl he plans to make into bacon. The two of them escape to the next county through Pigling’s cunning.
LibraryThing member paulo.bilyk
The tale of Pigling Bland was publishedin 1913, the year Beatrix potter married and settled down to farming life for good. But she had already been keeping pigs and she setched them for this story, using her own farmayard as the setting. One little black pig was a householdpet and features as the
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"perfectly lovely" Pig-wig who runs away with Piglin Bland.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
Unless the weird adventures of a prissy pig appeal to you this one is forgettable.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

20 inches


0723206066 / 9780723206064
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