FICTION - The Magical Cooking Pot - A cultural story for kids of all ages
In the country where Wendy lived, there had not been any rain for a long, long time. Everything was dry and the animals that didn't die of hunger yet, moved far, far away. The crops had died in the fields, and the people were hungry. In their culture, they believed in dancing for rain and that the earth would recognize their need for food and water.
The river had mostly dried up. There were only a few spots of water left and a few kilometers away, was a deep pool in the river. Nobody wanted to go near it, as it was said to be a sacred pool. Everyone believed that the forefathers would punish them if they were to disturb the sacred pool, but for some reason, Wendy always felt attracted to it. She would sit on the edge of the river just to admire the pool as it always comforted her whenever she needed some time to herself. Her parents didn't know about it, and she wouldn't dare tell them about it. It was her secret. Every time when Wendy looked into the pool, she could see a girl staring back at her. She believed that it was her friend and chatted to her many times.
Each day, Wendy's mother and father watched the sky. They were looking for the rain clouds, but they did not come. They would pray to the heavens to open up, but nothing happened.
One day, Wendy went back to the pool in the river. She looked deep, deep into the water and saw the same beautiful face of her friend. Although she knew very well that she was not to touch the water, she didn't care anymore. We are all going to die of hunger soon, anyways, she thought. She took off all her clothes and got into the pool, and, down, down, down she went until she got to a cave.
She heard a voice say,
"Rampa-dampa-dam, why did you come?"
Wendy was scared out of her mind. The voice startled her and she felt very uneasy until she saw a familiar face coming out of the dark.
Not knowing what to say, she just stood there, not knowing what to expect. All she could think about was her parents to whom she did not even think to say goodbye to that morning.
"And what would you like today, Wendy, my friend?"
Still unsure about what was happening, but also very relieved at the question, Wendy didn't want to make any excuses because she was trespassing, after all.
"I need food for my mother and father, O friend," she said with a quivering voice.
The girl didn't say anything, but with her hands she made sudden movements. To Wendy, it looked like someone playing the piano. The girl's fingers went up and down, up and down in rhythmic movements in the air. After a few seconds, the girl started to dance with her eyes closed and she was humming a very unfamiliar, yet beautiful tune. Wendy stood in awe, trying to understand what it was that she was seeing, when suddenly, the girl stopped to speak.
"Then, pick up the pot that is standing in front of you. Turn it round three times and say, Cook for me, cook for me, little pot of mine."
Wendy was sure that the pot wasn't there before. It just magically appeared out of nowhere and even though she was skeptical about following the instructions she was given, she also knew that she had nothing to lose.
She did as she was told. She picked up the pot, turned it round three times as she said, "Cook for me, cook for me, little pot of mine."
The girl started to repeat her ritual, but this time, while doing it, she said, "Again...again....again."
After the third time of repeating "Cook for me, cook for me, little pot of mine," Wendy could feel that the pot became heavier and heavier.
The she took off the lid and amazingly, the pot was full of bubbling stew.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, O friend" Wendy said with tears of happiness in her eyes. She could not believe her luck.
The girl gave her a quick, big smile and then danced her way back into the cave, humming the same beautiful, unfamiliar tune as earlier.
The pot of stew was heavy, but somehow, Wendy managed to swim back up. She took the stew home to her mother and father and told them that her fiend had given it to her. They all had as much food as they could eat.
Each day, Wendy went to the pool and each day she took a pot of food home for her mother and father and made sure to share it with the less fortunate. It was the least she could do after secretly "disturbing the forefathers".