Gateway to the Classics: For the Children's Hour by Carolyn S. Bailey
For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

The Wonderful Porridge Pot

T HERE was once a little girl who lived all alone with her mother, and they were so poor that they had nothing to eat. So the child went out in the world to try and find some food for her mother. As she went along, she met a very old woman, and the old woman gave her a little, iron porridge pot which she had been carrying under her apron.

"You must say to it: 'Little pot, boil,' " said the old woman, "and it will boil sweet porridge for you, and when you say to it: 'Little pot, stop,' then it will stop boiling."

So the child took the pot home to her mother, and she set it on the table, and said to it: "Little pot, boil." It set about boiling at once, and they had all the food they needed for a great many days. But one day, when the little girl was gone out, the mother thought she would say: "Little pot, boil."

Well the porridge pot boiled and bubbled away until it was quite full, and then the mother wished it to stop boiling—but she had forgotten what to say. So the little porridge pot just kept right on boiling and bubbling and boiling, and spilling over, until the kitchen table was covered with porridge, and then the kitchen was full, and, next, the whole house was full.

The mother had to pick up her skirts and run for her life, and the porridge poured out the door, and down the road, and into the other people's kitchens, enough to feed the whole town. And still no one was able to stop it.

At last there was only one house left in the whole town that was not full of porridge, and that was the house where the little girl had gone. When she saw the stream of porridge coming, and all the people running, she called out, loudly: "Little pot, stop!" And, of course, the little pot stopped boiling porridge at once; but all the people had to eat  their way back to their houses again!

— Adapted from Grimm by
Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

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