The farmer was in his woodshed, sawing wood, so he did not hear the pipes; and the farmer's wife was deaf, and could not hear them. But a little pig that had strayed around in front of the house heard the noise, and ran away in great fear to the pigsty.

Then, as Tom saw the playing did no good, he thought he would sing also, and therefore he began bawling, at the top of his voice,

"Over the hills, not a great ways off, The woodchuck died with the whooping-cough!"

The farmer had stopped sawing to rest, just then; and when he heard the singing he rushed out of the shed, and chased Tom away with a big stick of wood. The boy went back to his father, and said, sorrowfully, for he was more hungry than before,

"The farmer gave me nothing but a scolding; but there was a very nice pig running around the yard."

"How big was it?" asked Barney.

"Oh, just about big enough to make a nice dinner for you and me."

The piper slowly shook his head; "'T is long since I on pig have fed, And though I feel it 's wrong to steal, Roast pig is very nice," he said.

Tom knew very well what he meant by that, so he laid down the pipes, and went back to the farmer's house.

When he came near he heard the farmer again sawing wood in the woodshed, and so he went softly up to the pig-sty and reached over and grabbed the little pig by the ears. The pig squealed, of course, but the farmer was making so much noise himself that he did not hear it, and in a minute Tom had the pig tucked under his arm and was running back home with it.

The piper was very glad to see the pig, and said to Tom,

"You are a good son, and the pig is very nice and fat. We shall have a dinner fit for a king."

It was not long before the piper had the pig killed and cut into pieces and boiling in the pot. Only the tail was left out, for Tom wanted to make a whistle of it, and as there was plenty to eat besides the tail his father let him have it.

The piper and his son had a fine dinner that day, and so great was their hunger that the little pig was all eaten up at one meal!

Then Barney lay down to sleep, and Tom sat on a bench outside the door and began to make a whistle out of the pig's tail with his pocket-knife.

Now Farmer Bowser, when he had finished sawing the wood, found it was time to feed the pig, so he took a pail of meal and went to the pigsty. But when he came to the sty there was no pig to be seen, and he searched all round the place for a good hour without finding it.

"Piggy, piggy, piggy!" he called, but no piggy came, and then he knew his pig had been stolen. He was very angry, indeed, for the pig was a great pet, and he had wanted to keep it till it grew very big.

So he put on his coat and buckled a strap around his waist, and went down to the village to see if he could find out who had stolen his pig.

Up and down the street he went, and in and out the lanes, but no traces of the pig could he find anywhere. And that was no great wonder, for the pig was eaten by that time and its bones picked clean.

Finally the farmer came to the end of the street where the piper lived in his little hut, and there he saw Tom sitting on a bench and blowing on a whistle made from a pig's tail.

"Where did you get that tail?" asked the farmer.

"I found it," said naughty Tom, beginning to be frightened.

"Let me see it," demanded the farmer; and when he had looked at it carefully he cried out,

"This tail belonged to my little pig, for I know very well the curl at the end of it! Tell me, you rascal, where is the pig?"

Then Tom fell in a tremble, for he knew his wickedness was discovered.

"The pig is eat, your honor," he answered.

The farmer said never a word, but his face grew black with anger, and, unbuckling the strap that was about his waist, he waved it around his head, and whack! came the strap over Tom's back.

"Ow, ow!" cried the boy, and started to run down the street.

Whack! whack! fell the strap over his shoulder, for the farmer followed at his heels half-way down the street, nor did he spare the strap until he had give Tom a good beating.

Mother Goose in Prose Page 46

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