Silly Question: Was this little piggy perhaps a cannibal?

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The Independent Culture
THE MYSTERY of the fourth little piggy is solved, writes William Hartston. He had none, according to Reg Kilby, because he had gone to the lavatory to avoid having to go wee wee wee all the way home.

Miss S Lomax, however, believes he was waiting for the first little piggy to return from market and, being a piglet, did not have the teeth for roast beef.

Brian Berry says it is an old Indian rhyme making a distinction between carnivores and vegetarians: pig three had beef and pig four had nan. More worryingly, Edward Greene believes that what the third little piggy had was, in fact, roast pork.

We have also had several explanations concerning large areas 'roughly the size of Wales'. Duncan Bull believe this unit of measure is a sop by 'the London-centric 'national' news media' to give Wales an occasional mention. 'Where I come from,' says Cecily Black of Australia, 'any small tract of land is described as being roughly the size of Wales.' But they do seem to have a very distorted idea of the size of Old South Wales. Peter Davies says that if Wales were ironed out, it would be the second largest country in the world.

The definitive explanation comes from R Bannerman: 'Until recently, any large area was always 'about the size of Belgium', but the Social Chapter opt-out of the Maastricht Treaty allows the British to use Wales as a unit of measurement. Just as the French used to keep a standard metre and kilogram in a vault in Paris, they kept a standard Belgium on their borders.'

All of which leaves room for several more questions:

Why do we say 'Social Chapter' and not 'Social Chapter'? (Geoffrey Langley). Why don't bucket shops sell buckets? (Andrew Belsey.) Why are buttonholes on men's pyjamas horizontal, but on men's shirts vertical, except for the top one? (Werner Mayer.) Why do zebras wear black and white camouflage against a veldt that is mostly browns and greens? (Jasper Fforde.)

Answers and more mysteries should be sent to Silly Question, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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