The Pig That Went to Market – Enid Blyton

Once there was a gnome named Mister Snooks. He lived in Tweedle Cottage with his little fat pig, Snorter. At least, Snorter wasn’t supposed to live in the cottage, but as Mister Snooks would leave the back door open, and Snorter was very fond of sitting by the fire, it seemed as if the little pig was always indoors.

One day Mister Snooks opened his money box and found that it was quite empty. He didn’t know what to do. He was a lazy, forgetful gnome, and he really didn’t want to go out to work. Oh dear! Why couldn’t his money have lasted just a little longer!

“Oooomph!” said Snorter the pig, walking in at the open kitchen door and sitting down comfortably by the fire.

“Haven’t I told you a hundred times you are not to come indoors!” shouted Mister Snooks and he shooed the pig out. But he once more forgot to shut the door and after a few minutes Snorter sidled in again and sat quietly down on the hearth-rug. This time Mister Snooks didn’t notice him. He was too busy staring gloomily at his empty money box.

Then an idea came into his head. “I will sell Snorter, my little fat pig!” he cried. “He will bring me quite a lot of money! Yes that is a good idea. What use is he I should like to know? All he does is to eat up the scraps for me, and wear a hole in my hearth-rug with sitting on it. I will go and fetch him and take him to market this very day!”

He went to the back door and looked out.

“Snorter, Snorter, Snorter!” he called. “Come here!”

Well, of course, Snorter was akeady there, sitting by the fire, so he didn’t move. He just looked round at his master.

Snooks didn’t see the pig. He kept looking out of the door and calling angrily: “Snorter! Do you hear me? Where are you? I want you! Come here, Snorter! Oh, bless that pig, wherever has he gone?”

“Oooomph!” grunted Snorter, by the fire.

Snooks turned round and saw him there. “Oh, there you are,” he said, crossly. “How many times have I told you not to… still, never mind, I’m going to sell you at the market today, so you won’t be bothering me much more by coming and sitting by my fire!”

Snooks put on his hat, coat and scarf, and took a piece of string out of the string-box. He tied it round the pig’s hind leg and they started off together down the street.

When they came to the bus-stop, Mister Snooks sat down on the seat there. It was not quite time for the bus. He tied the pig’s leg to the leg of the seat, then took out his newspaper and began to read it. When the bus came, he folded up his paper and jumped on the bus. He paid his fare and opened his newspaper again.

“The Market! the Market!” shouted the conductor, at last. Mister Snooks once again folded up his newspaper and jumped off the bus. He walked to the market, and met there a great many farmers, all with cows, goats or sheep, talking about the weather and their fields and crops.

“Good day, Mister Snooks,” said one of them. “What have you come to market for? Can I sell you a fat goose?”

“No, thanks,” said Mister Snooks. “I’ve come to sell Snorter, my little fat pig.”

“Where is he?” said the farmer. “I might buy him. I want a nice little pig like that.”

Snooks looked all round him. Snorter was nowhere to be seen. “Now where is he?” wondered Snooks. “Let me see, I had him on a string.”

“Well, you hadn’t got him with you when you came into the market,” said Mister Straw, the farmer, grinning. “You don’t mean to say you’ve come to sell your pig and have left him behind, Snooks! Ho, ho! That’s just like you!”

“Well…” said Snooks, scratching his head and looking most astonished. “I did start out with him, I know. I remember tying him to the leg of the bus-stop seat but I don’t remember getting him into the bus. Bless us all! If I haven’t left him tied up to the seat!”

“Ho, ho!” roared Mister Straw. “That’s a good joke! Well, he won’t come to market by himself, Mister Snooks. You’d better go and fetch him! I’ll buy him if you bring him.”

Mister Snooks ran to a bus going to his village and jumped on it. He sat down and unfolded his paper again. He didn’t like to think about how foolish he had been. When he arrived at the place where he had first caught the bus that morning, he looked out eagerly to see the bus-stop seat. But no little fat pig was there! Someone had untied him and he had wandered off. Mister Snooks spent a whole hour looking for him, and then went home, most annoyed with himself.

He went indoors and took off his things. When he went to put something in the dust-bin he left the kitchen door open as usual and in a few minutes, the little pig, who had quietly trotted back to his garden, walked in. He sat himself down on the hearth-rug, and warmed himself by the fire. When Snooks went to take the kettle off the stove, he fell over Snorter, and bumped his nose on the fender.

“Oh, so there you are!” he said, sitting up and staring at Snorter. “How many times have I… oh well, never mind. I’m very glad you are back! I shall take you to market tomorrow. Now, get out of my way, unless you want boiling water dripped on you!”

Snorter knew Mister Snooks’ carelessness with kettles, and he trotted under the table. Mister Snooks shooed him out into the garden, but in five minutes’ time he was back again, oomphing quietly in front of the fire. He really was a most persistent little pig!

Next day Mister Snooks again put on his hat, coat and muffler, found a new bit of string and set off with the pig trotting quietly behind him.

Snorter couldn’t make up his mind what his master was thinking of doing, but imagined that he was just taking him for a walk, like a dog. He quite enjoyed it, for a change.

This time Snooks didn’t have to wait for the bus. It came rumbling up just as he got to the bus-stop. In he jumped, taking the surprised pig with him.

“You can’t have that pig here,” said the conductor. “Passengers won’t like it.”

“Well, could I put him outside by you?” asked Snooks. Snorter was sitting quietly on one of the seats, most astonished at everything.” I’ll pay you a bit extra if you’ll let him sit outside there, where you let people put their bags sometimes.”

“All right,” said the conductor. So Snorter was trotted out by the conductor, and stowed away just under the stairs that led to the top of the bus. He sat there quietly beside two bags, and poked his nose out to see what was passing.

Snooks paid fares for two, and then undid his newspaper. He had soon read it from cover to cover, and would have gone right past the market if the conductor hadn’t bawled in his ear, and tapped him hard on the shoulder.

“The Market, sir, the Market!” he cried. “Didn’t you say you wanted the market. Come out then, we can’t wait here all day for you to get out!”

Mister Snooks jumped with fright to hear such a shouting in his ear. He pushed his newspaper into his pocket and rushed off the bus, nearly falling on his nose. Then, catching sight of Farmer Straw in the distance, he ran after him.

“Hie, hie!” shouted the conductor. “What about your pig?”

Mister Snooks didn’t even hear him, he was panting so much! He tore on, after Mister Straw.

The conductor danced with rage on his bus, and yelled more loudly than ever. “Your pig, I say! You’ve left your pig, your PIG, PIG, PIG!”

But Mister Snooks was too far away to hear a word. The conductor, thinking that the pig would follow Snooks to the market, undid the string and tipped him down the steps. The pig was astonished. This was a most surprising day. He had no idea where his master had gone, so he stood still, put his nose into the air and sniffed. His nose told him where his home was, so the little fellow started off down the dusty lanes, trotting merrily back to the garden he knew so well.

Meanwhile Mister Snooks had caught up Farmer Straw. “Hey, there!” he panted. “Farmer Straw! Stop a moment. Do you still want to buy my pig?”

The farmer stopped and turned round. He grinned when he saw Mister Snooks, all out of breath and red in the face.

“Yes,” he said. “I’ll buy your pig, Snooks. Is he nice and fat?”

“Oh, fine!” said Snooks. “As fat as butter. He’s the best pig in the world.”

“Where is he?” asked the farmer, looking about.

Snooks looked round too. He was surprised to see no pig. He scratched his head, and frowned. Wherever could Snorter be?

“Don’t tell me you left him tied up to the bus-stop seat again!” cried the farmer, with a shout of laughter. “Oh, don’t tell me that, Snooks!”

“No, indeed I didn’t,” said Snooks. “I remember quite well taking him on the bus, because the conductor made a bit of a fuss about him. I had to put him outside by the bags there.”

“Well, where is he, then?” said Mister Straw.

“I must have left him on the bus,” said Mister Snooks, looking very blue. “Yes that’s what happened. Oh dear me, how forgetful I am!”

“Well, look, there’s the bus you came on, going back home again,” said the farmer, pointing. “Catch it and get your pig! Quick! I’ll wait here for you.”

Snooks ran to the bus and jumped on it. The conductor stared at him in surprise.

“Where’s my pig?” said Snooks. “Quick, tell me! I’m going to sell him.”

“Well, you won’t sell him today!” said the conductor. “I shouted and shouted after you when I found you had left your pig here but you didn’t take any notice, so I let him loose, thinking he’d come after you. Didn’t he come?”

“No, he didn’t,” said Snooks, gloomily. “Oh well, it’s no good my going after Farmer Straw now, without my pig. He’ll only laugh himself purple in the face. I’d best go home. Here’s my fare, conductor.”

Snooks went home in the bus and let himself in at the front door. He had left the back door open as usual, but he had forgotten that. He went into the kitchen to set the kettle on the stove and dear me, bless us all, there, sitting on the hearth-rug as usual, was Snorter, the fat little pig! He had found his way home quite well, taking many a short cut on the way, and, finding the back door open, had gone in to sit by the fire.

“Oh, so you’re back again, are you!” said Snooks, pleased. “That’s good. I thought I’d lost you. Now get out of the kitchen, Snorter. Shoo! Shoo!”

Out went Snorter, grunting “Ooooomph! Ooooomph! Ooooomph!”

But in two twinks he was back again, for, as usual, Snooks forgot to shut the kitchen door!

Now the next day Snooks took up his hat, muffler and coat, and found a new piece of string to take the pig to market. He looked at himself sternly in the glass and said: “Now, Snooks, just be sensible to-day! Remember to take the pig into the bus and remember to take him out of the bus! Then maybe you’ll get him to market and be able to sell him for a fine price to Farmer Straw!”

Then off he went, the pig trotting happily beside him on the string. Snorter was no longer surprised at anything now. He just thought that his master must be quite mad, but he didn’t mind at all.

They got safely into the bus, and the conductor made the pig stand outside again.

“Please don’t let me get out of the bus without my pig this time,” said Snooks to the conductor, when he paid his fare and the pig’s. “I really must take him to market today.”

The conductor promised. The bus rattled on, and after some time the conductor bawled out “The Market, the Market! Remember your
PIG, Mister Snooks, remember your PIG, PIG, PIG!”

“All right, all right!” said Mister Snooks, going red when he saw everyone staring at him. “You needn’t keep on saying it. I’ll remember the pig all right!”

He got out of the bus and took the pig with him. Snorter jumped down and trotted along to the market beside his master, very much enjoying saying “How do you do” to all the cows, goats, sheep, geese and ducks that he passed.

Snooks looked everywhere for Mister Straw the farmer, but he couldn’t see him. Someone told him that the farmer had gone to have a buttered bun in Dame Sally’s cook-shop, so he went there. He tied up Snorter outside, and went in to find Farmer Straw.

Snorter stood outside talking to a grey goose there and a fat goat. Both belonged to the same master, and their strings were tied together.

“My master wants to sell me,” said the goose, and was just going to tell the pig all about her life when Mister Snooks came out of the cook-shop. Farmer Straw wasn’t there. He had gone to sell two cows in the middle of the market at twelve o’clock.

Quickly, Mister Snooks untied the nearest string and set off to find the farmer but the foolish man had not looked to see that he was untying the right string and bless us all, he had the string belonging to the goose and the goat. Think of that! The little pig was left behind and the goose and the goat hurried after Mister Snooks, wondering whatever in the world was happening.

“SS-ss-ss-ss!” hissed the goose. But Mister Snooks took no notice. He was far too busy looking for Mister Straw.

At last he spied the farmer, who had just sold his cows at a very good price indeed, and was looking very pleased with himself.

“Farmer Straw!” called Mister Snooks, hurrying up to him. “I’ve been looking for you all the morning. Will you buy my pig?”

“Certainly,” said Mister Straw, jingling all the money in his pocket. “I want a nice fat pig like yours, Mister Snooks. Where is he?”

“I’ve got him on this string,” said Mister Snooks. “Come up, Snorter, come up! ”

The farmer stared in astonishment at the goose and the goat on the string. Then he stared at Snooks.

“Do you think you really have a pig to sell me?” he asked. “Or are you quite, quite mad?”

Snooks stared angrily at Mister Straw. Then he looked round to see his pig and he nearly fell backwards in amazement when he saw not one pig, but a goose and a goat, staring solemnly at him!

“But there was a pig!” he said. “There really was! Oh dear whatever can have happened to him this time!”

Then Farmer Straw began to laugh till the tears ran down his big round nose. “Oh, Snooks, you’ll be the death of me!” he cried. “You really will! You’ve gone and taken someone else’s animals instead of your poor little pig. How you do lose that pig to be sure! Anyone would think you didn’t want him!”

Snooks stared at the goose and the goat, and his heart beat fast in dismay. Yes he had left the pig behind at the cook-shop. He remembered seeing the goose and the goat outside now. His pig must be there!

Off he went at top speed, the goose waddling behind him, hissing and cackling and the goat trotting in surprise. They couldn’t understand things at all.

Back to the cook-shop went poor Mister Snooks and there, looking very lonely and forlorn outside, was poor little Snorter the pig. He looked up at his master with surprised eyes when he saw him coming back with the goose and the goat.

Snooks quietly tied up the two creatures hoping that no one had noticed the mistake he had made. But it was no use. Out of the shop came a furious little man, with bright red cheeks, angry eyes and a big Stick!

“So it was you who took my goose and my goat, was it? ” he cried. “Take that, and take that!”

Thwack, thwack! Poor Mister Snooks got such sharp blows on his shoulders that he danced with pain. He almost ran away without his pig but he thought that really he couldn’t go without him again. So he quickly untied Snorter and ran off with him, his shoulders smarting with the blows that the furious little man kept giving him.

“My!” thought Mister Snooks. “This is the last time I am so forgetful. It doesn’t pay! It leads to no end of trouble! Oh dear! Now I must find Mister Straw.”

He hunted about for the farmer for two hours and couldn’t find him anywhere. Lots of people told him where they had just seen him, but when Mister Snooks arrived there, hot and bothered, he had always just gone.

But at last Snooks found him. He was about to get into his farm-cart, ready to drive home.

“Hie, hie!” shouted Snooks, running up. “Wait a moment. Will you buy my pig? I really have got him this time!”

He went up to Mister Straw, and the farmer looked down at the pig. “Ah,” he said. “That surely is a fine pig, one of the fattest I’ve ever seen! A fine little fellow, surely!”

“How much will you give me for him?” asked Mister Snooks, eagerly.

“Nothing!” said the farmer. “You look into my cart, Snooks, and tell me what you see there.” Snooks looked and in the bottom of the cart lay what do you think a fine fat little pig, with a very curly tail and very bright eyes! “I’ve just bought him!” said the farmer, whipping up his horse and starting off home. “Sorry, Mister Snooks you’re just too late. It was a pity you kept forgetting to take that pig of yours to market! I’d take him home and keep him if I were you!”

So away back home went poor Mister Snooks with Snorter the pig. He didn’t try to take him to market to sell him any more. No he decided that it was too hard work to keep losing him and finding him again. So now he goes out to work and earns quite a lot of money.

As for Snorter the pig, you can guess where be is! Sitting warming his nose by the kitchen fire for, as you may know by now, Snooks never can remember to shut his kitchen door!