(See Bartholomew Pigs.)
He has brought his pigs to a pretty market.
He has made a very bad bargain; he has managed his business in a
very bad way. Pigs were the chief articles of sale with our Saxon
herdsmen, and till recently the village cottager looked to pay his rent
by the sale of his pigs.
He follows me about like an Anthony pig,
or such and such a one is a Tantony pig; meaning a beggar, a
hanger on. Stow says that the officers of the market used to slit the
ears of pigs unfit for food. One day one of the proctors of St.
Anthony's Hospital tied a bell about a pig whose ear was slit, and no
one would ever hurt it. The pig would follow like a dog anyone who fed
Please the pigs.
If the Virgin permits. (Saxon, piga, a virgin.) In the
Danish New Testament “maiden” is generally rendered pigen. “Pig
Cross,” dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is Virgin Cross, or the Lady Cross. So also “Pig's Hill,” “Pig's Ditch,” in some instances
at least, are the field and diggin' attached to the Lady's Chapel,
though in others they are simply the hill and ditch where pigs were
offered for sale. Another etymology is Please the pixies (fairies), a saying still common in Devonshire.
It is somewhat remarkable that pige should be Norse for
maiden, and noq or og Gaelic for young generally. Thus ogan (a young man), and voie (a young woman).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894