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To set the scene for the story:

The Wolf stands at the door of the third little pig's house and says

"Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

The little pig answers, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin."

The pig appears to invoke the ancient custom of swearing on the beard of a god, of a revered holy man, or even of the speaker himself. I've found an old traditional English or Scottish song that uses the phrase "I swear by the beard upon my chin":

"[...] O Black Jack Davey came riding by
A whistling so merrily
He made the woods all around him ring
And he charmed the heart of a lady

O come with me my pretty little one
O come with me my honey
I swear by the beard upon my chin
That you'll never want for money"

In saying "Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin" the little pig is saying, in effect,

"” I swear by my beard that I will NOT open my door!"

Zoological note: Most pigs don't have beards, but there is one kind of wild pig in Southeast Asia called "bearded pig."


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