User:Tepples/The Penetration Test

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"The Penetration Test" is a short story. The first known published version appears in English Forests and Forest Trees (1853), about dust-using Lilliputians living in a forest. It also appears in The Nursery Rhymes of England (1886) by James Halliwell-Phillipps, English Fairy Tales (1890) by Joseph Jacobs, and The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, with a change in species of the viewpoint characters to anthropomorphic swine.



A single mom lives with her son Practy and his two slacker brothers. Tellings haven't explored how Practy became so obsessed with home safety or skilled at masonry, nor how the mom became single.

Movin' out

Mom gets fed up with her three adult children for the last time and gives them go away money to leave her house. Practy recommends that if the other two want to build separate houses, the houses should be close together for mutual protection. Knowing that his brothers are going to cut corners in order to finish fast and afford furniture, Practy builds a brick house that sleeps three with a fireplace. By the time the other two finish a straw hut and a wood frame cottage, Practy has only finished the foundation, and the others make fun of him for such a slow project. But by the end of the week, a solid house for three is erected on Practy's lot.

Testing the walls

Practy decides to teach his slacker brothers a lesson, hiring a home inspector to perform a penetration test on his brothers' houses, simulating the effect of weather. The tester blows at the walls of the first brother's straw hut and finds that the whole thing is a weak spot that wouldn't survive a minute in high wind. It takes all of the tester's breath to find a weakness in the second brother's wood cottage, but he breaks in there as well. Both brothers bunk up in Practy's brick house. Frightened, they suggest returning to mom, but Practy reassures them that his house can withstand weather. The tester blows all over the walls of the brick house but can't find a weak spot before the dizziness and tingling of hyperventilation set in. The tester then tries ramming the door with his body, but the house holds firm. After this successful demonstration, the brothers show a new-found respect for Practy.

Social engineering

Because of the cultural difference between common garden areas and modern enclosure-driven farms, many tellings skip this act.

A second round of penetration testing involves social engineering to lure the three into a secluded area where they can be taken down one at a time. The tester first makes an appointment with the first brother to go with to glean from the corners of a turnip field. But Practy wakes up early, and the two of them clear out that corner an hour early. The tester returns at the scheduled time to find them declining because they already managed to clear it out.

The next day, the tester makes an appointment with another of the three to pick apples from an apple tree. This one too arrives early and climbs the tree to get an early start. When the tester arrives and asks for a sample, the second brother tosses it in one direction, and while the tester is running away to retrieve it, the second brother runs away in the other direction.

Recognizing that Practy's new house is sort of lacking in furniture after the extra money spent on brick construction the tester invites Practy to a swap meet being held at the fairgrounds. They decide to meet there in the afternoon. Practy shows up an hour early and buys a butter churn. On the way out, Practy sees the tester, curls up to hide in the butter churn, and rolls down the hill, scaring the tester off.

Going rogue

The tester returns to Practy's house to ask what was up with the final scenario that they had planned. When Practy explains that he was inside that butter churn, this infuriates the tester so much that he decides to go rogue. He brings climbing gear to scale the house's walls so he can play Santa, climb down the chimney, and beat the tar out of all three of them. Practy senses what is coming and quickly puts a pot of water over the fire to boil. On the way down, the tester lands on the lid of a pot of water over the fire and burns his behind. The three siblings make a citizen's arrest for this home invasion outside what was agreed upon and haul the disgruntled tester into the police station to be booked by three little pigs.


In May 1933, Walt Disney Productions released a short film titled "The Three Little Pigs", based on a story first published in 1853 and changed to pigs by the 1880s. The film was a smash hit in theaters. But had the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 been in effect at the time, the publishers of the older versions would have had grounds to sue Disney for copyright infringement. What hypocrites.

Real life

A more serious adaptation of the story could draw inspiration from real-life occurrences. In Welsh architecture, a tŷ unnos, or one-night house, was erected to claim squatter's rights to a piece of land. These were often sod houses with a thatched roof, analogous to the first pig's house of straw.

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