Example: [Cerf, 1970]
Then he drove round the bend himself — and crashed head-on into the biggest pig he ever had seen.
Origins: The first print sighting of this tale is the one quoted above, from 1970. At that time the story was set in England, a land of twisty little back roads and extremely high hedges. Such a setting makes the scenario of one motorist's screaming out to another about an upcoming road hazard all the more plausible.
But as urban legends do, this one migrated to the United States. In 1984, it turned up in the
I'm having a hard time picturing any Oklahoma farmer jumping up and down by the side of a road when he could be over the next rise rounding up the pig. As a story, it works better when it's two motorists coming together — one who has already had to swerve to avoid the porker, and another who doesn't know what's coming up. Putting a farmer into the tale causes it to lose whatever believability it ever had; even if the pig didn't belong to that particular fellow, rare is the farmer who would leave his neighbor's livestock to be run over instead of doing something about it.
Sometimes simple little urban legends work best as thinly-disguised advice, as this one does. "Don't be so quick to assume the worst," says the tale. "Not everything means what you think it does when it first lands on your ears."
An unusual take on the legend restructures it to have a different meaning, one stressing the importance of clarity of expression:
A man driving along a curve in the road passes two monks. In passing the two monks cry out "The end is near!" The driver sneers and continues on down the road. After the driver screeches and screams, one monk turns to the other and says "I knew we should have yelled 'Bridge out!'"
Last updated: 7 April 2011
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Curses! Broiled Again! New York: W. W. Norton, 1989. ISBN 0-393-30711-5 (pp. 127-128). Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Mexican Pet. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986. ISBN 0-393-30542-2 (p. 62). Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good To Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (pp. 115-116). 1. Cerf, Bennett. The Sound of Laughter. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1970 (p. 439). Morley, Robert. Robert Morley's Second Book of Bricks. UK: Coronet Books, 1982 (p. 62).
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