Thursday, October 9, 2008

3 Little Pigs Lost in the Woods

Have I mentioned:

1) how oddly fairy tales appear again and again in our news media,
2) how oddly the patterns of fairy tales are repeated in our lives?

You might enjoy this Tuesday article from Scotsman - here is the punchline, for those pressed for time:

Three young Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs found abandoned in a Scottish forest may have been the latest and most exotic victims of the global credit crunch, it was revealed yesterday. The three young sows were discovered wandering in dense woodland in a remote area of Aberdeenshire, between Huntly and Dufftown, last week. One theory being pursued by animal cruelty investigators is that the owners set them loose in the woods because they could no longer afford to keep them.

This certainly is a strange - if happily ended - tale. It makes me ponder other tales of animals set loose on continents strange to them because of an economic or other collapse. How many African animals were kept beneath the Coliseum in Rome, and what became of them when the Visigoths poured over the hills? Will wolves some day break out of city zoos and reinhabit a post-icestorm America, as in The Day After Tomorrow? Might a post-apocalypse hiker find in the Rocky Mountains a giraffe loose from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo? How often, I wonder, have we human beings transported or trafficked animals across the globe - like these three Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs - only to set them adrift in environments utterly bewildering to them, unsentient wanderers and exiles?

An additional note: the Scotsman article, entitled "Fairy tale ending for three little pigs lost in the woods," does something typical of both modern media and modern film - it plays mix and match with fairy tales, blending the 3 little pigs (who get lost only in the wolf's stomach) with Goldilocks or Gretel or some other mostly-innocent lost in a dark wood. Open for discussion: what causes this odd conflation and merging of tales in our media, and what does it mean?

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