31 Days of Halloween #6

The Goosemother Scroll Episode 3 Text below for those who'd like to read along.

In spite of the tragedy that marked the three little pigs’ birthdays, their childhoods were as happy as any pig’s could be. And though they lived in desperate poverty, their home was always rich with love.

That isn’t to say their lives were easy.

Strongheart was always getting himself into scraps with the boys from the village. He swore he always fought fair, but Mother wished he wouldn’t fight at all. “It’s just... the things they say about us, Mother!” Strong would insist. “Are only words,” Mother would finish. And Strong would feel awful for a day or two, but he would be back at it soon enough.

Meekfoot was a sweet boy, but the poor child was afraid of his own tail. He wouldn’t play with other children. He wouldn’t even go out into the garden by himself. “Ah, my dear Meek,” Mother would say to herself. “If only he were a little more like his brother, and his brother a little more like him.”

The daughter was nothing like either of her brothers. For one, she had never been given a proper name, for all her mother’s joy was gone by the time she remembered to name her. She was simply called Pyg.

Pyg did not mind her namelessness. She was no less loved by her mother and brothers. The only trouble about it was that having no name meant everyone else called her something different, and it was hard to keep it all straight. To the teacher who sometimes visited from the village, Pyg was Miss Snout-in-a-book, for she was nearly always reading. To the shopkeeper who bought her mother’s truffles from her, she was Old Sage Ears, for she seemed so much wiser than other children her age. To many others, she was Our Blessing. For everyone remembered the night she was nearly taken away, though no one liked to talk of the brother who was.

The little family in the cottage did the best they could, and they were very happy. But trouble was spreading all across the land. There was talk of wars in nearby kingdoms, and food became more expensive. The Hog King imposed new taxes, too, and soon no one could buy Mother’s truffles.

“I can no longer provide for you, my piglets,” Mother cried one day. “You will fair better out in the world where you may find some work to support yourselves. Promise me you’ll watch over each other, dear loves! My poor heart could not bear to lose you forever!”

Strongheart vowed no one would hurt his siblings without taking him out first. Meekfoot sobbed but swore he’d try to be brave. Pyg promised she’d keep her brothers out of trouble. And then the three set out upon the road, heavy-hearted but hopeful, to find their fortune.

A few miles from home, they found an abandoned farm on which to rest for the night.

“How lucky we are!” said Strongheart. “I thought we’d have to sleep in the grass.” “Perhaps we could stay here forever!” said Meekfoot though he knew that wasn’t possible.

Pyg was about to say something when a sound caught her attention. A creaking sound, coming from above them within the farmhouse.

“Somebody’s here!” Meekfoot whimpered.

Not just one somebody, but a dozen, and each with long claws that went click-click-click as they descended the stairs from the attic where they had been waiting for a meal to come wandering in.