Magic Pisspot

A great tale from Sweden

This tale was first published in 1844 as Svenska folksagor och äventyr (Swedish Folk-tales and Adventures). I met it at the Ljungby Storytelling Festival in Sweden, centred on the wonderful Ljungby storytelling museum.

I was told the tale by the museum director, Meg Nömgård, and then read it in a German translation of a book by local storyteller and author Per Gustavsson’s, Der verzauberte Pisspott. And in 2017 I was delighted to have the privilege of translating the complete book as The Magic Pisspot: Swedish Folk Tales.

I have also heard a “cleaner” (i.e. less scatological) Turkish variant, told in German by Sonja Fischer. A widow sends her daughter to sell thread in the bazaar. Instead of bringing the money home, the girl buys a beautiful pot – which ultimately leads to the sultan’s son as her bridegroom.
Sonja’s tale can be watched here.

When I passed Sonja’s Turkish version on to Per Gustavvson, he replied:
Nice to listen to the Turkish variant. In my book Gränslösa sager (”Limitless fairy tales”) I retold a variant from Afghanistan. Here a poor woman gives birth to a pot, instead of a child. But in the end of the story transforms, of course, the pot to a beautiful young man and the princess falls in love with the man. The tale is in Gisela Borcherding: Granatapfel und Flügelpferd (Leopoldshafen 2003).

My 2013 video recording was my first telling of the story, at the Brüder Grimm Märchenfestspiele in Hanau.


The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres.

Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.

Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.

The videos are © Richard Martin.

Professionally recorded CDs and DVDs are available here.

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Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling