Sweet Porridge

sweet porridgeIn this (also known as “The Magic Porridge Pot”), a poor but good little girl looking for something to eat is given a magic pot by a kind old woman. When someone said some special words, the pot cooked sweet porridge. The only problem was that special words were also needed to make the pot stop cooking. There are a number of other folktales with similar themes, as well as a poem which inspired a short piece of orchestral music that has since become famous thanks to a 1940 Disney movie.

Beginner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Beginner Level 400 word list are: , , , , and .

General Comments on the Story

One of the interesting things about folktales is that their history can often be traced back over hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. In the introduction to the 1940 Disney version of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the conductor says that the story upon which the music is based goes back almost 2,000 years. The music by French composer Paul Dukas was inspired by a poem of the same name written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1797. The oldest known variation of this type of story is said to be “The Egyptian Miracle Worker”, found in “Philopseudes” (Lover of Lies), written by Lucian around AD 150. This appears to be the source for the Goethe poem and could well be the source for most other “Sweet Porridge” themed folktales.

household talesOur source for the story was a book called Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm from British writer and translator Margaret Hunt. The book, which was first published in 1884, contains translations of all 200 Grimm folktales plus 10 s. It can be downloaded in various forms from Project Gutenberg here. I have not been able to find a complete on the Internet, perhaps because the book contains so many stories.


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(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. (นิทานชาวบ้าน) 9000
(adj: folk) Of or relating to the traditions of the common people of a country or region. (เกี่ยวกับขนบประเพณีของชาวบ้าน) 2000
(n: tale pl tales) A story about real or imaginary events; an exciting or dramatic story that may not be completely true. (นิทาน) 3000

cook(v: cook, cooks, cooked, cooking) To prepare (food) for eating by using heat. (ทำอาหาร) 1000

floor(n: floor pl floors) The part of a room on which you stand or walk. (พื้นห้อง) 1000

forest(n: forest pl forests) A thick growth of trees and bushes that covers a large area. (ป่าไม้) 2000

porridge(n: porridge, noncount) A soft food made by boiling rolled oats in water or milk. (อาหารเช้าที่ทำจากข้าวโอ๊ตใส่น้ำหรือนม) 6000

pot(n: pot pl pots) A deep, round container that is used in cooking, for holding food, liquids etc, or for growing plants. (หม้อ) 2000

legend(n: legend pl legends) A story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true. (ตำนาน)
(adj: legendary) 1. Mentioned etc in legend. King Arthur is a legendary hero. (ในตำนาน) 2. Very famous because of being very great, good etc. He was a legendary football player. (เป็นตำนาน) 6000

e-book(n: e-book pl e-books) A book whose contents are in an electronic format so that it can be downloaded and read.

audiobook(n: audiobook pl audiobooks) A book that is read out loud and recorded on a CD or as a computer file so that it can be listened to.

Disney’s original version of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (10 minutes). This was the third and most famous segment of the 1940 film ‘Fantasia’, and the only segment from the original film to also feature in the sequel, ‘Fantasia 2000’. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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