While writing this post, I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble to revisit the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. When I asked the sales assistant where the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books could be found, she asked me if I was the woman who called earlier about them. “No,” I said, “that wasn’t me, but I’m happy to hear someone did!”
When we got to the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle shelf in the children’s book section, we discovered that not only had the unknown woman called about them, she’d bought every last book on the shelf! I was delighted. Someone is as big a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan as I am! Dear Unknown Lady who bought all the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books from the Barnes & Noble on New York’s Upper West Side—this post is for you.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the lovable title character of a children’s book series written by Betty MacDonald in the late 1940s and ’50s. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the widow of a pirate, lives in an upside-down house full of animals, toys, and books, and magically cures neighborhood children of bad habits. From children with poor table manners to incorrigible show-offs, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle manages to cure them all with (fairly) harmless and (always) humorous magic. But what would Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle do if called upon to cure some really bad habits in some really awful adults?
Here’s how we think Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would cure some of the most dastardly villains in fiction:
Voldemort (The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would put two drops of Auto-Correct Elixir in Voldemort’s mouth while he slept. Auto-Correct Elixir does just what it sounds like: it autocorrects everything Voldemort says in ridiculous ways, much like a smart phone. Whenever he rants about Muggles and Mudbloods, it comes out of his mouth as “Puggles and Mudhuts.” When he wants to say horcrux, he says “s’more crust,” and when he says “Harry Potter,” it comes out “Scary Daughter.” This soon causes the Death Eaters to dissolve into laughter whenever Voldemort opens his mouth. Bellatrix Lestrange keeps taunting him, asking him to say things like “Dark Lord” (“dart board”) and “Avada Kedrava!” (“I’ve had a cadaver!”). Eventually, Voldemort can’t take the ridicule anymore and gives up on his evil schemes.
The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would sprinkle Frigid-More Powder on the White Witch’s cloak. The powder would render her white fur cloaks useless, and the White Witch would start to feel cold in her own Endless Winter. Teeth chattering and shivering uncontrollably, she’d have to resort to hugging other creatures of Narnia for warmth. Eventually, after many hugs and many sleepless icy nights, the White Witch would see the error of her ways. She’d lift her Endless Winter curse and experience a change of heart toward the creatures of Narnia.
Count Dracula (Dracula, by Bram Stoker)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would blow People Pepper Powder in Dracula’s direction. Once he inhales it, it changes his sense of smell. Every time Dracula gets near his human victims, he gets a terrible itching in his nose as if he’s just sniffed pepper, and he sneezes. Loudly. This makes it impossible for him to sneak up on his prey. What’s worse, everyone keeps saying “Bless you!” before they run away, which vampires simply cannot abide. Dracula eventually gives up trying to suck people’s blood, stops sneezing constantly, and discovers he much prefers donuts.
Agatha Trunchbull (Matilda, by Roald Dahl)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would serve this evil headmistress her daily slice of chocolate cake alongside a big steaming cup of Tiny Tyrant Tea. The tea causes the Trunchbull to shrink a little each time she does something terrible and tyrannical. Since the Trunchbull is a particularly nasty bully from the moment she wakes, she’s reduced to the size of a teacup in no time at all. She’s unable to exact any punishment on anyone and she lives in constant fear of being trampled under other people’s feet. The only way to survive unsquashed in her tiny state is for her to beg for forgiveness and rely on the kindness of the schoolchildren she used to torment.
Count Rugen (The Princess Bride, by William Goldman)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would cure this six-fingered nobleman of his sadistic fascination with torture devices by swapping his regular six-fingered gloves with Goof-up Gloves. The Count’s Goof-up Gloves give his two hands a mind of their own. Whenever he tries to activate his torture devices, his hands mess up and push the wrong buttons. He tries to correct them, but they just keep yanking on the wrong levers and twisting the wrong dials until the torture machine malfunctions and the victim is left sitting there unharmed. Embarrassed, the Count is forced to let his prisoner go while he calls maintenance. He eventually gives up trying to operate torture machinery and picks up knitting instead, which his six-fingered hands are surprisingly good at.
Which fictional villains would you like to see Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure?