Difference between revisions of "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.

The story


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

Movin' out

Mom kicks her three adult children out of her house and gives them money to become stable on their own. 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 penetration tester to break and enter his brothers' houses, simulating the effect of weather. The pen tester blows at the walls of the first brother's straw hut and finds that the whole thing is a weak spot. He easily breaks in, and the first brother escapes to the second's wood frame cottage. It takes all of the pen tester's breath, but he eventually finds a weak spot in the wood cottage and breaks in. Both brothers escape to Practy's brick house. Frightened, they suggest returning to mom, but Practy reassures them that his house can withstand weather. The pen 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 pen tester tries ramming the door with his body, but the house holds firm. The brothers show a new-found respect for Practy.

Social engineering

Many tellings skip this act about the pen tester's attempts to lure out Practy to assault him.

Going rogue

By now, the penetration test is officially over, yet something Practy did has made the pen tester furious. He brings climbing gear to scale the house's walls. Practy senses what is coming and puts a pot of water to boil in the fireplace so that if the pen tester enters through the chimney, he's likely to get his bottom burned.


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.

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