Easy Stories in English

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Hold On, Little Pot!

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OK, let’s start the episode.

[introduction music]

Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.

I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for beginners. The name of the story is Hold On, Little Pot! You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Pot. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Pot. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation after it.

OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.

Chamber pots – not for cooking! (CC BY-SA 2.0 FR)

A pot is a big round thing that you cook food in. You can cook sauces, stews and soups in pots. A saucepan is a special kind of pot. In the old days, people used chamberpots. Chamberpots are pots that you put under your bed and use like a toilet. Eww!

A builder is a person who builds things. Builders build houses, museums, offices, restaurants and so on.

A brick wall (Oula Lehtinen CC BY-SA 3.0)

A brick is a small, hard piece of clay that is used in building houses. Bricks are usually red. You stick bricks together to build a wall, and you put walls together to build a house. Bricks are very heavy, and can also be used as weapons to hurt people.

Hide, and the past tense is hid, is when you make it so people can’t see something. For example, maybe you are eating chocolate, but you don’t want other people to see it, because then they will want to eat the chocolate. So you hide the chocolate in the cupboard so that they won’t see it. You can also hide yourself. Maybe you don’t want your teacher to see you, because you forgot to do the homework, so you hide behind a door.

People digging in the sand

When you want to put something underground, you need to dig. The past tense is dug. You dig using a wide tool called a shovel, but you can also dig with your hands. When you dig, you make a hole, an empty space in the ground. Dogs often dig with their hands and hide bones in the hole. In crime films, people often dig holes and hide dead bodies in them.

Someone pouring a drink (Anthony Carriuolo CC BY-SA 4.0)

When you have water in a bottle, but you want to have it in a glass, you pour it. I am very bad at pouring drinks. Usually, half of the drink goes into the glass, and half goes onto the floor! When you pour beer, you have to be careful so that the beer does not all turn into white stuff called foam, because the foam then goes away and you have less beer to drink.

When you are right next to something and can feel it, you are touching it. Usually, you touch things or people with your hands. Right now, with coronavirus, people are not touching each other very much. If you go outside and touch lots of things, you should wash your hands when you come home. Generally, if you touch something dirty, you should wash your hands.

A sword (MathKnight CC BY 4.0)

A sword is a long, sharp weapon. We don’t use swords now, but they were used about five hundred years ago. In the TV series Game of Thrones, most of the characters fight with swords. For example, Arya Stark is very good at fighting with a sword. In Harry Potter, Harry Potter uses the Sword of Gryffindor to kill the basilisk in the second book.

You can also use glue to stick something to something else

When you stick to something, you are touching that thing and it won’t stop touching you. For example, if you lick an envelope, you put your tongue on it, it will stick together when you close it, and it is hard to open afterwards. If it is very hot and you are sweating a lot, lots of water is coming out of your body, then your clothes will stick to you. If you wear a hat for a long time, your hair will stick to your head.

If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support us on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. Last week I talked about free things, my favourite musician, my terrible memory, and things I wrote in an old diary. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.

A big thank-you to our new patron, Rea Oviedo. Thank you so much, Rea. Your support really means a lot to me.

OK, so listen and enjoy!

Hold On, Little Pot!

Once, there was a builder. He worked very hard, but he was happy. He had a good home and a beautiful wife.

One day, the King came to him and said, ‘Dear builder! I have heard that you are the best builder in the country. I want to see your work. Build a house for my son.’

The builder was very surprised. He did not think he was so good at his job, but he was very happy to work for the King. So he went and built the house, and then he came home.

‘My lovely wife,’ he said. ‘Did you miss me?’

‘Hmm? Oh yes, of course. You finished that house very quickly.’

‘I finished it quickly because I wanted to come home to you!’

‘Well, I’m afraid the King has another job for you. He wants you to build a bigger house for his daughter.’

So the builder went and worked, and he thought about his wife the whole time. He didn’t like being away from home.

When he came back, his wife said, ‘Oh, you’re back. You know, the King has another job for you.’

‘I don’t believe it!’ he said. ‘I cannot say no to the King, but this is too much. What must I build this time?’

‘The King wants a new castle. It must be beautiful, and you have five days to finish it.’

Five days?! I can’t build a castle in five days!’

His wife sighed. ‘Well, you have to try. If you do not do it, the King will kill you.’

That night, the builder went into the forest. He could not sleep. The King would kill him, and then his wife would be alone.

He sat by a river and cried.

‘What is wrong?’

He saw a woman next to him. She was very old, and she had red eyes.

‘Who are you?’ he said.

‘I am just an old woman. Tell me what’s wrong. You’re crying.’

‘Oh, it’s just… The King has asked me to build a castle for him in five days. I cannot do it, and he will kill me.’

‘Ah,’ said the old woman. ‘I can help with that.’

She gave him a piece of her hair.

‘Put this under the first brick you put down.’

The builder thought she was crazy, but he did what she said. He put the hair under the first brick of the castle and started building. He worked and worked, but the day went very slowly. When night came, he had finished the castle.

‘I don’t believe it!’ he said. The hair he put under the brick had changed time. It was magic!

When he came home, his wife was very surprised. ‘You finished it?’

‘Yes! I was so excited to see you that I worked all day.’

‘How wonderful,’ she said.

But when the King saw the new castle the next day, he was not happy.

‘Hmm, this castle needs something. I know! It needs a lake. Every good castle has a lake.’

‘A lake? But I am a builder. I cannot make a lake.’

‘You are such a good builder. You must know how to make a lake! You finished the castle so quickly, so I think you will only need three days this time.’

To make the lake, he would have to dig a hole and fill the hole with water. It was too much work for three days!

The builder went back into the forest that night and cried. The old woman came again and said, ‘Well, well, well. He wants you to make a lake, does he? You know, I think this king really hates you.’

‘I don’t understand why. I have always worked hard for him!’

‘It is very strange. But don’t worry. I will help you again.’

This time, she gave him a bowl of water.

‘Dig the hole and pour this water in.’

So the builder did that. He dug all day, and made a big hole. Then he poured the bowl of water in. The water grew and grew, and the lake filled with water, and it was beautiful and blue.

But of course, his wife and the King were not happy to see it.

‘You are quite an amazing builder!’ said the King, very angry. ‘But I want to see something really special now! Tomorrow morning, I will come to your house. I want to see a himphamp. If you do not make me a himphamp, I will kill you myself!’

The builder did not understand. What was a himphamp? He had never heard of it.

Again, he went to the old woman in the forest and told her about the himphamp.

‘This will be more difficult. Do exactly what I say. Take this pot.’ She gave him a pot. ‘Put it under your bed, and hide in your room tonight. When someone touches the pot, say, “Hold on, little pot!” Then you will be safe.’

The builder did not understand, but he said thank you to the old woman.

When he came home, the King was there. He was in his bed, with his wife. And they were kissing.

‘Oh, my King, my King!’ she cried. ‘I love you so much!’

The builder couldn’t believe it. His wife was sleeping with the King! Now he understood. All this time, the King wanted him to build big houses and castles, so that he was away and the King could sleep with his wife.

The builder wanted to kill the King, but the King had his sword next to the bed. So the builder waited until they went to sleep. Then he put the pot under the bed and hid.

In the morning, the King said, ‘Oh, that was a good night. And your husband is busy looking for a himphamp. But of course, himphamps aren’t real!’

‘I know,’ said the wife.

‘I know you know. Anyway, I’m going to the toilet,’ said the King.

‘There’s a pot under the bed,’ said the wife.

So the King took out the pot, and when he touched it, the builder said, ‘Hold on, little pot!’

The pot stuck to the King’s hand, and he could not move away from it.

‘The pot is stuck to my hand!’ he cried.

‘Let me help you,’ said the wife.

When she touched the pot, the builder said, ‘Hold on, little pot!’

And his wife stuck to the pot as well.

‘I can’t believe this!’ said the King. ‘What is happening?’

‘Good morning, my King,’ said the builder.

‘Oh, no,’ said the King and the builder’s wife.

The builder stood there. He was very angry. ‘I can’t believe you. You,’ he said to his wife, ‘you slept with another man. And you,’ he said to the King, ‘you made me build castles and lakes, because you wanted to sleep with my wife.’

‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ said his wife. ‘Please help us.’

‘No!’ The builder took the King’s sword and said, ‘Out! Get out!’

The King and the wife ran outside with the pot stuck to them. It was heavy, and they could not run fast. In the garden, a cat saw them, and thought there was food in the pot. She tried to eat the food, but when she touched the pot, the builder cried, ‘Hold on, little pot!’ and the cat stuck to the pot.

The King, the wife and the cat ran. In town, a dog saw them, and wanted to eat the cat. But when the dog touched the pot, the builder cried, ‘Hold on, little pot!’ and the dog stuck to the pot.

The King, the wife, the cat and the dog ran. They ran to the castle that the builder had built. The King’s horse saw them. He ran to them, because he thought the King was in danger. When he touched the pot, the builder cried, ‘Hold on, little pot!’ and the horse stuck to the pot.

‘Look,’ said the builder. ‘It’s a himphamp! I made a himphamp, my King. Aren’t you happy?’

‘Please stop!’ said the wife. ‘I’m sorry! We’re sorry!’

‘I will give you gold!’ said the King. ‘All my gold!’

The builder held the sword and said, ‘I don’t want your gold. I want you to build me a castle, and you have, hmm, ten minutes! Can’t you do that, my King? Can’t you build a castle in ten minutes?’

‘I will kill you, you—’

The King walked back and fell into the lake. The wife, the cat, the dog and the horse were all stuck to the pot, so the pot pulled them down into the water.

‘No!’ cried the King.

‘Yes!’ cried the builder.

And that was it. The himphamp was dead. The little pot had killed them all. The builder went inside the castle he had built and made a new home.


So maybe in today’s story you can hear a drip, drip, drip, drip in the background. I’m really sorry. It’s because we have another leak.

So a leak is when water comes through the ceiling of your house. So water is falling inside the house. This is the third leak this year. We have a problem with the drain above our house. So the water goes into this place on the roof and then it collects and it all falls down and goes in the house and it’s very annoying.

But I have talked enough about the leak, because I talked about it in two previous episodes. I talked about the leak in Old Sultan. So you can listen to that at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Old. And I talked about it the second time it happened in Golden Horses, which you can listen to at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Golden.

Anyway, hopefully the problem with the leak will be fixed today [it was!], but I don’t know. So I’m just not happy about it.

But otherwise, apart from the leak, I am doing well. I am good.

Anyway, today’s story comes from Scandinavia. So Scandinavia is Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Actually, some people say Finland is also in Scandinavia, but some people say it is not because Finnish people and the Finnish language come from a different place. Finnish is not related to the other Scandinavian languages.

Some people also say the island Iceland is in Scandinavia, because Danish people went to Iceland and the Icelandic language is based on Danish, but it is very far away from Scandinavia.

So who knows if it is part of Scandinavia! I don’t know. But I do know that today’s story comes from Scandinavia.

And don’t worry. There is no such thing as a himphamp. Himphamps are not real. It’s just a funny word.

If you enjoyed the story, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Go to Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. For just a few dollars a month you can get extra episodes, conversational podcasts, exercises, and much more. Thank you for listening, and until next week.


11 responses to “Hold On, Little Pot!”

  1. Its every simple to learn english

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thanks for the comment, Rahma! 🙂

  2. Pedro Petrucci avatar
    Pedro Petrucci

    I really like this story. It’s got a folk background linked, at least for me, to a medieval times.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      I’d love to hear you elaborate on this. I’m not quite sure what you mean 🙂

  3. Vitor avatar

    Hey Ariel, I have a suggestion for you. There is a story called Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, you can see in this link below (https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/rappaccini-daughter-nathaniel-hawthorne-american-stories/2600030.html). I think that you can make your own version of this story. If you have time, take a look in this story ( it’s sad but is amazing).
    That’s it.
    Have a nice day!

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      OMG, Vitor, I just read the summary and this sounds like exactly the kind of story I love! I love beautiful and tragic tales like this. I’ve put the full story on my Kindle and I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

  4. Artem avatar

    My darling Ariel Goodbody. I am from RUSSIA. I had already read more than 30 your stories ! thank-you for your Efforts for teaching with exciting method particularly my brain !!!!!! thanks a lot !

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Wow, fantastic work! 🙂

  5. Misva Fitriani avatar
    Misva Fitriani

    Thank you so much for the story, Ariel Goodbody! I learned so much. The way you tell the story is very entertaining, really awesome and the story comes alive! Thank you so much ❤️. And well, I want to know who the author is.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thank you for the kind comment, Misva! This is a classic fairy tale from the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Porridge

    2. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Oops, sorry! I got confused. This is NOT ‘Sweet Porridge’. That’s a different story. This one is a Scandinavian fairy tale: https://sites.pitt.edu/~dash/type0571b.html#scandinavia

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