An illustration from the story

The Wizard and the Hopping Pot is one of the stories in the wizarding fairy tales collection, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, written by Beedle the Bard.[1]

There are a few versions of this story, one being Beedle's original which describes friendly wizarding and Muggle relations, and the other being a revised tale told after persecution of wizards and witches by Muggles began in Europe during the 1400s.[1]

During this time of hostility, the Wizarding community started to destroy the original Muggle-friendly versions of this tale and created a new anti-Muggle story. This later version is primarily the one told to children to this day, especially by anti-Muggle parents. The original, should they ever read it, often comes as a great surprise.[2]

Beatrix Bloxam, who rewrote many children's tales to be more wholesome, provided her own version of the tale at a later date.

Plot summary

Illustration on the Wizard and the Hopping Pot

This story is about the legacy of an old wizard who, in his generosity, uses his magic to aid the Muggles of his village. Rather than admit he is a wizard, he disguises his magic by pretending to brew wondrous medicines in an old cauldron. On his death, he leaves all his belongings to his only son, who has none of his father's generosity or sympathy towards non-Wizards, and nowhere near his skill at magic. After his father's death, the son finds the pot and a single slipper inside it, together with a note from his father that reads, "In the fond hope, my son, that you will never need this".[1]

Bitter for having been left nothing but a pot, and for despising Muggles, the son closes the door on every person who asks for his help. The first one seeking for his aid is an old woman whose granddaughter is plagued with warts. Closing the door on the old woman, the son hears a clacking in the kitchen and sees his pot has grown a foot and a bad case of warts.

The young mother seeking help

The next one to look for his aid is an old man, whose donkey is lost and cannot go without it to the market to fetch food for his starving family. The son closes the door on him too, and the pot starts making sounds like a donkey.[1]

A young woman comes sobbing to the door, hoping for a cure for her sick baby. Again, the son ignores her pleas and shuts the door on her. A few more similar incidents take place, until the son finally gives up and calls all the neighbours to offer them help. As the people's troubles fade away, the pot empties, until at last out pops the mysterious slipper — one that perfectly fits the foot of the now-quiet pot, and together the two walk off into the sunset.[1]

Alternate Plot Summary

The Hopping Pot

Subsequent versions of this story published after Muggle persecution of wizards and witches began were far more belligerent and punitive against Muggles.[1]

The Hopping Pot protects an innocent wizard from a mob of Muggles. It chases them away from his cottage, catches them, and swallows them whole. In the end, the wizard gains the promise of the remaining villagers that they will not disturb his efforts to practise magic. In return, the wizard commands the Pot to regurgitate its victims. The Pot does so, and the Muggles are burped up whole, though slightly mangled.[1]

Beatrix Bloxum's Version

Objecting to the story's "unhealthy preoccupation with the most horrid subjects", Beatrix Bloxum's final paragraph of her version reads:

"Then the little golden pot danced with delight – hoppitty hoppitty hop! – on its tiny rosy toes! Wee Willykins had cured all the dollies of their poorly tum-tums, and the little pot was so happy that it filled up with sweeties for Wee Willykins and the dollies!
“But don’t forget to brush your teethy-pegs!” cried the pot.
And Wee Willykins kissed and huggled the hoppitty pot and promised always to help the dollies and never to be an old grumpy-wumpkins again.
— Beatrix Bloxum[src]

This re-authoring of the tale is said to have met the same response from generations of wizarding children: uncontrollable retching, and a demand that the book be pulped immediately.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • In an interview, J. K. Rowling explained that the "Wizard and the Hopping Pot is kind of moral, really, it's to teach young witches and wizards that they should be using their magic altruistically."[3]


Notes and references

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