Could the big bad wolf really "blow your house in"?

I happened to be talking to a friend who does a lot of work with alternative building materials, and somehow the topic of the big bad wolf and the three little pigs came up. She pointed out that a well-made straw bale house is quite sturdy and that the big bad wolf would have a hard time blowing one down. She said that people who worked with cob thought that the story of the three little pigs was propaganda for the brick industry.

But I’m not so interested in that, what I’d like to know is, could the big bad wolf blow down even a house made of loosely stacked hay? I mean it seems to me that a wolf doesn’t have very good apparatus for huffing and puffing. I would think you need to constrict you mouth, pucker up or something, in order to blow very hard.

I wonder if a wolf could blow at all and if he could, would he do as good a job as a human could.

I don’t know if this is exactly the right forum, but I am looking for a factual answer. What does it take to blow a strong current of air from your mouth and how strong could a wolf blow?

You have to consider that even if the wolf can blow air very fast he can’t blow very much of it. That means his breath will be focused on a fairly small area say 1x1 foot. Even a small breeze over a 10ftx10ft wall will put more force on the wall than any wolf could hope to generate. The area that the wind acts on is 100 times as big as the area the wolf acts on. In order to generate the same force the wolf would have to blow air 100 times as fast as the wind. Its more likely (though still impossible) that the wolf would punch a hole in the wall than blow it all down.

Read my Teemings piece on The Three Little Pigs:

The storty is a surprisingly late one, with the “definitive” version coming from just over a hundred years ago, in 1898. As I note, there’s a straw house (not a straw bakle house) in Salem, Mass., made in imitation of colonial straw structures. While not as sturdy as the bale types, they still ought to stand up to heavy winds (the Salem house has been standing since the 1930s). But there used to be *two[/ui] straw houses there. Fire took the other one, and it’s easy to see why. Maybe the Big Bad Wold smoked it down.

I certainly believe you when you say that the definitive version is only 100 years old, but I’ve read a couple instances of very similar tales that were older than that. Both involved different farm animals (I think a cat, maybe a goose, and some other one in one instance) fleeing the farm because (still at least in one case, I don’t remember clearly the two stories) something bad was going to happen to them. Once again in at least one instance, but I think in both, the wolf farts instead of blowing. I think there were other incidents taking place before.

Sorry, I can’t remember more details. Though thinking hard, I believe one of these was collected in the french countryside during the early 19th century.

If you read the linked article, I refer to similar stories recorded by Grimm and others. (My info comes mainly from the recently published Annotated Fairy Tales) I haven’t heard of any in which the wolf farts down a house, but the very grossness of that image gives it an air of authenticity – American fairy tales are usually very cleaned up – the donkey has gold coins coming out of its mouth, instead of its butt, and so on.

I do believe that in considering the real-world effectiveness of lupine respiratory exertions, you must properly contrast them against the structural integrity established under porcine construction techniques.