Once upon a time, there lived a girl and her mother, in a little cottage in the middle of a village.  The mother was often ill, and they were so poor that finally one day, they didn't have a thing left to eat.  So the girl went for a walk to think and see what she might come up with.  But nothing came to her, she just walked and walked and soon found herself in the forest.  Discouraged, tired, and very very hungry, she finally sat herself down under a tree and cried bitterly.
      Not long, a kindly old woman came her way.  She asked the child what the matter was and listened to her woes.  Moved by her sorrow, and her concern for her mother, the old woman (who was really a witch) handed her a pot and said all she had to do when she was hungry was to command "Pot, boil" and it would cook sweet porridge for her.  And when she had her fill, all she had to do was say "Pot, stay!" and the pot would stop making porridge.
      The girl thanked the old woman and skipped home, happily holding on to her new pot.  Right away she tried it out, and she and her mother had the finest millet porridge they had ever tasted.  From that day on, mother and daughter never had to go hungry again.  Also, the girl happily noted that her mother's health improved miraculously.
      Now it happened that one day, mother got hungry as the girl was not at home.  So she took out the pot and said "Pot, boil."  The pot started to bubble and soon her hunger was stilled.  But oh my ... she had forgotten the words to make the pot stop cooking.  "Pot, stop" she tried.  Nothing happened but that the porridge started to run out over the egde.  "Pot, don't!" she cried, but still it would boil and boil and boil ... "Please, pot, stop it!" ... alas, the porridge had started to run down the stove, across the floor, and before you knew it, out of the door, down the street, up the steps to the next house, then the next ... it was as if the little pot wanted to feed the world!  Before long, the whole town was awash in a sea of porridge.
      Somehow, the girl finally made her way home and simply commanded "Pot, stay!" and immediately the pot ceased to bubble and boil.
      But for a long time to come, anyone wanting to enter or leave the village had to eat their way through a mound of sweet porridge.
      Mother and daughter, however, went on to live happily for a long, long time, with the help of their wondrous little pot.
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This page created October 2000 by Valkyrie
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