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WORLD FOLK TALES - CENTRAL EUROPE

- Pot, Cook -
A Czech Tale

In a village there lived a poor widow with her daughter. They lived in an old house with roof full of holes. They had several hens. The old woman used to go to the forest to fetch some wood in winter and strawberries in summer. Her daughter sold eggs in the town. That was their life.
Once in summer, the mother was ill and the girl had to go to the forest to pick up strawberries. they made gruel of strawberries. She took a pot and a piece of bread and went to the forest. When the pot was full of strawberries, she came to a well, took the bread and began to eat it. It was just noon.

Suddenly an old woman appeared. She looked like a beggar and had a pot in her hand.

"Oh, my girl," said the woman, "I would like to eat. I have not had even a piece of bread in my mouth since yesterday morning. Would you give me a piece of bread?"

"Why not?" said the girl, "If you are hungry, I will give you all my bread. I hope it is not too hard for you."

The girl gave the woman all her lunch.

"Thank you very much, my girl, thank you. You were so kind to me and I will give you something too. I will give you this pot. When you give the pot on the table and say: Pot, cook; it will cook so much gruel you want. When you think you have enough gruel, say: Pot, stop; and it will stop cooking. Do not forget what you are to say."

The old woman gave her the pot and disappeared.

When the girl came home, she said everything to her mother and gave the pot onthe table. Then she said: "Pot, cook." She wanted to find out if the old woman spoke the truth. Suddenly the gruel began to be cooked in the pot and there was more and more gruel. In the moment the pot was full of gruel. "Pot, stop," said the girl and it stopped.

They both sat down and ate the gruel.

When they ate all the gruel, the girl took some eggs and went to the town to sell them. She had to be in the town for a long time. She sold the eggs late in the evening

Her mother waited for her but she was hungry and wanted to have some gruel again. She took the pot, gave it on the table and said: "Pot, cook." Gruel began to be cook and in a moment the pot was full.

"I will have to bring a bowl and a spoon," she said to herself and went to the closet.

When she came back, she froze looking at the pot: gruel was running out of the pot to the table, to the chair and to the floor. The woman forgot what to say to make the pot stop cooking!

She gave the bowl on the pot but it fell down and broke. Gruel was running out.

There was so much gruel in the room that the woman had to go out. She lamented: "What did my girl bring to our home? I knew it would not be anything good for us."

In a while gruel began to run out of the house.

The old woman did not know where to go so she went to the attic and lamented.

There was more and more gruel, it ran to the village and may be it would be running far away if the girl did not return and say: "Pot, stop."

In the village, there was a hill of gruel and when the farmers wanted to get home, they had to eat the gruel.


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