When Pigs Fly!

“The phrase ‘when pigs fly’ is an adynaton—a figure of speech so hyperbolic that it describes an impossibility. The implication of such a phrase is that the circumstances in question (the adynaton, and the circumstances to which the adynaton is being applied) will never occur.”

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I don’t believe Tank the piglet can fly, but he might be dreaming of it.

Tank, the Kunekune piglet, lives on the farm from which Natasha and I purchase organic chicken and duck eggs. He and his two brothers, Arnold Ziffel and Mr.Yet-to-be-Named (I recommended Porky) share the sustainable, natural surroundings with mom, dad and auntie pig; cows, sheep and goats; chickens and ducks; a large, overly-friendly dog and a few black cats.

“The idiom ‘when pigs fly’ is apparently derived from a centuries-old Scottish proverb, though some other references to pigs flying or pigs with wings are more famous. At least one appears in the works of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

‘Thinking again?’ the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
‘I’ve a right to think,’ said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
‘Just about as much right,’ said the Duchess, ‘as pigs have to fly….’

Let’s leave the flying to the winged critters, shall we?

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When Natasha and I first visited this happy little farm, a bleating dark grayish brown lamb was living in the front yard. I believe farmer Erica told us that “Grimm” was rejected by his momma, so he was getting special love by the humans. I have absolutely no idea why momma wouldn’t want him because Grimm was totes adorbs and I wanted to take him home.

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This is Grimm today. He’s grown and his color has changed. Grimm doesn’t fly, but Farmer Erica picks him up like you would pick up a cat or dog or small child. I suppose for a lamb whose four feet are usually on the ground, that might be considered flying.

“In Polish, a similar expression is ‘See a tank rolling in here?’, while simultaneously lowering a lower eyelid with a finger.”

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You may have to think about that expression for a minute. I didn’t get it at first and Tank was too busy taking pig naps to care. Meanwhile, Arnold Ziffel roots around in the grass, pushes his snout into the dirt, and has lunch with mom.

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“In the 1968 movie The Lion in Winter, King Henry II tells his wife Eleanor of Aquitane ‘When pigs have wings!’ She replies ‘There’ll be pork in the trees come morning!’

No, no, no, no, no. There will be no piglets or pork in the trees. Tank, Arnold and Mr. No-Name are happy to stay on the ground, happy to commune with their farm family, on four legs. Flying is only for pig dreams and statements of impossibility like…

Wait. What? You want me to give up dark chocolate?

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This post has been brought to you by Wikipedia, three adorable piglets and Linda G. Hill’s One Liner Wednesday. Click HERE for more one-liners.

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23 responses to When Pigs Fly!

  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    Arnold Ziffel was my favourite animal actor … Glad to hear his legacy lives on 😀

    Shortly after I ran my first race many years ago, I received a card in the mail from my sister which said ‘so I guess pigs really can fly’. I chose to think it was funny rather than insulting 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Your sister has a wicked sense of humor. LOL! We have a TV station here that shows nothing but oldies. Green Acres is one of them. It’s the place to be. Faaarm living is the life for me….

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        LOVED that show … And Petticoat Junction 🙂

        I considered the card from sister as payback for the Mother’s Day card I sent her saying how lucky her kids were to have her as mother … Rather than a sister 😉

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Ha! Sounds like you have a comical insulting rivalry going on with your sister. What’s next? 😉

  2. loisajay says:

    This is one of my favorite expressions–and I have a small collection of pottery flying pigs, too! Love my little porkers.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh, I bet your little piggies are adorable. Pigs are so cute and, yet, the real ones can smell so bad. The cool think about these Kunekunes is how social they are. Start rubbing them under their front leg and they fall over for belly rubs. It’s too cute!

  3. Dan Antion says:

    I’m pretty sure Tank can fly in his dreams. Every time my wife and daughter see baby pigs, goats, sheep, cows, bears…you name it, I have to say “No, you can’t have one!” They are so cute.

    Thanks for the history on the phrase. I always like learning the origin of words/phrases. The farm photos are wonderful. If it weren’t for the occasional brown leaf, I’d think it was summer. Tank doesn’t appear to care mush about the weather.

    Usually, moms ignore the animals they don’t think are going to thrive. We’re pretty sure that our dog, Maddie, was such a pup. She has problems, and three years later, still requires special attention. Maybe her mom was right, but we’ll hang in with her. You never know how things will turn out…when pigs fly 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s a good thing I don’t live on a farm or in a house with acreage. Yeah, it would be the Mary Zoo…cats, dogs, goats in pajamas, baby pigs, etc. My girlfriend and I have been learning so much about farming and these animals just by buying eggs. And this farm is so cool because they care about how they raise and feed their critters and the environment. Erica and Al are like two farmer hippies.

      I had a cat once like Maddie – lots of special attention. I never gave up on him because he was my fur baby. I can see, though, why people give up and it mostly revolves around the cost of veterinarian care.

      • Dan Antion says:

        My wife would apply to volunteer at the Mary Zoo. Maddie just needs a lot of attention. She’s better on a leash or somehow confined. She likes to be in small spaces, she’s not good around people but she loved to sit outside and watch the world go by. But we have to sit with her. She’s on some medicine that has helped quite a bit, but it doesn’t fix everything. She’s very smart, but like some cats I know, she’s selectively smart.

        The farm where we get dairy products is very much like what you describe. The milk is so good, especially their chocolate milk.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        I’ll keep your wife in mind if I ever have that zoo 😉

        Poor Maddie! It’s tough when animals have those kind of thought/behavioral issues and you can’t communicate with them to tell them it’s okay. Fortunately for Maddie, though, she has loving human parents who take very good care of her.

  4. You certainly have some cute four-legged friends here. 🙂 Locally, I couldn’t count how many loaves of bread I’ve bought or lunches with beer I’ve enjoyed at When Pigs Fly, Kittery, Maine. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Sounds like a heavenly place where you can fly to and have a pig-snorting good time.

      Sorry, I had to say it.

  5. joey says:

    That post was so Charlotte’s Web! Okay, Tank and Grimm are way cute, but that black and white pig stole my heart!

  6. sandmanstwin says:

    S**tty humour alert!!!
    After 60 seconds I had to give up on the “see a tank rolling in here”. But then I did the actions and it became as clear as a poke in the eye. I don’t hold you completely responsible for my injury, BC (and your mischief night advice worked a treat so you’re in credit) but I can’t help but think there’s more than one ‘idiom’ here.
    Oh dear. I’m sorry, I did warn you. Lovely piece and beautiful animals, Mary, thanks. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You are welcome! It took me most of the afternoon to figure out the meaning of the tank rolling in the eye. I also had to do the actions, but I refrained from hurting myself with a finger poke. That would have been udderly disastrous.

      I have my own saying when I’m served a very small portion of something in a restaurant…”That doesn’t amount to a poke in the eye.” Makes no sense, I know, but I never said I was an intellectual.

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