poor, but hardworking woodcutter was walking home from the
forest, with an ax strapped to his back. Suddenly he came
upon a large old pot made of brass. It was the biggest pot
he had ever seen.
a fine pot!" he exclaimed. "But how will I get it home? It's
too heavy to carry...Wait, I know..." He untied his shoulder
strap and dropped the heavy ax into the pot. He proceeded
to tie one end of the strap through one of the pot's handles
and the other end around his waist. Then he began the hard
work of dragging the clumsy pot down the path to his small
wife was most pleased to see the pot and said, "What a fortunate
day, husband. You found a wonderful old pot and another ax.
I just found the pot. I had the ax before."
are two axes in the pot," she said.
looked inside and was speechless. Two identical axes sat side
by side. As he leaned down to pull them out, his straw hat
fell from his head and into the pot. Now two hats rested near
The pot is haunted!"
magical!" she said happily. "Let's put tonight's dinner inside
and see what happens."
said the wife. "Get our savings from the jar on the shelf!"
of coins doubled.
magical!" cried the woodcutter. "What shall we put in next?"
of course," said his practical wife. "Let's get rich while
the coins inside repeatedly, and the amount doubled each time.
An hour later every jar, pan, basket, pocket, chest, shelf,
and shoe they owned was filled with money. They were, indeed,
wife," said the woodcutter, "we can build a fine house and
have a big vegetable garden, and I won't have to work so hard
from now on. I'm so happy that I could dance!"
grabbed her around the waist and began to dance around and
around the small room. Suddenly he slipped on some loose coins
and accidentally dropped his wife into the pot! He tried to
pull her back out--but it was too late. He now had two wives.
They stepped out of the pot and looked closely at each other.
It was impossible to tell them apart.
have I done?" cried the woodcutter. "Can a man live with two
vies at the same time?"
my house," said the first wife.
my house," said the second wife.
smiled and grabbed the woodcutter and made him get into the
pot. Two woodcutters climbed back out.
families live in the same house?" asked both of the men.
said the first wife.
echoed the second wife.
money was given to the second couple and they built an elegant
house. It was right next to the first couple's fine, new house.
Ever since that time, the people of the village have remarked
on the strong resemblance of the woodcutter and his wife's
new relatives, the ones who must have brought them all that
this tale I often hear, "Wow! I want one of those pots!" Materialism
must be a timeless and multicultural trait. Another version
is in The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children's Literature by
May Hill Arbuthnot (Chicago: Scott Forsman, 1961, pp. 333-334.)