Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Street Filled With Porridge

"Stop, Little Pot, stop!" I thought when I looked outside the window this morning. Fourteen inches of heavy, wet snow covered our yard that, for a couple of days, had briefly been a soggy brownish green after the last snow finally melted. Today and tomorrow would increase our snow day total to seven, and five of those seven days would rob us of the first week of June.

The view of the street took me back instantly to one of my favorite Grimm Tales, "Sweet Porridge," sometimes retold as "The Magic Porridge Pot." In the story, a little girl and her mother are saved from starvation by the gift of a little magic pot. When instructed to "Boil, Little Pot, boil," the pot bubbles over with delicious, stick-to-your-ribs, sweet porridge and will only stop when specifically directed to "Stop, Little Pot, stop!"
One day, while the girl is visiting a friend, her mother instructs the pot to boil but can't recall the exact words to make the magic pot stop producing porridge. The sweet, hot cereal boils over the rim of the pot, fills the cottage, seeps out the windows and beneath the crack in the door, eventually filling the yard and the street beyond. The entire neighborhood is filled with porridge!
In the picture book I loved as a child, the neighbors trooped into the streets, carrying spoons and bowls and buckets and ate their fill. In some versions, the villagers run away, frightened at first. When they return to their street, they must eat their way back into their homes. Fortunately, according to one retelling, the porridge is just as delicious cold as it is hot.
Staring out the window, grieving already over the lost June days, I remember the end of the story...when the little girl returns the magic pot to its owner. When asked if she has taken care of the little pot, the girl answers honestly, "No, but it took care of us."
Perhaps these two snow days, blanketing our street in pristine beauty, took care of me by giving me a gift I didn't know I needed...two days to slow down, catch my breath, and enjoy the sweet refreshment that quiet time provides.

If you would like to check out a retelling of "The Magic Porridge Pot," I found a fun video.


  1. I remember that story. I think it as in one of my own elementary school reading books and written as a reader's theater. Fun memory! Thanks for that! Including a website is also so thoughtful. Snow days can be fun days when you have something like this to occupy your time. D :)

  2. Beautiful picture! Thank you for the fun link! I remember this story from when I was younger :) great post!

  3. Lovely post and story. Reminds me of the story "Strega Nona" - except it was a magic pasta pot.

  4. And the winter continues... Love the connection you made with your "little pot" story.

  5. Love the way you used the story to move your writing, heart and mind all forward! Lovely as the snow!