Once upon a time in the land of Dingle there lived a poor young widow by the name of Dolores.
Dolores' husband had died of a fever only a year after they had married, leaving her with nothing but a small house, a small pot, and a small garden. Every day, Dolores would spend hours cooking vegetables in her pot to sell in town. The little money she got from her trouble was used to pay for fuel to cook, medicine, and so on, so that none was left over.
One day, while she was pulling vegetables out of her garden, Dolores saw a small figure with a large nose sitting on her fence, watching her.
"Good day, sir," she said politely. "Who are you?"
"Good day to you, Dolores. I am the gnome of Dingle woods. I have seen your struggling and have come to give you a magic gift from the fairies of Dingle."
"Oh, heavens! What a surprise! Why thank you, sir gnome. What gift have you brought me?"
"It is this," said the gnome, taking a pot out from behind the fence and offering it to Dolores. "It is a magic cooking pot. When you place water and vegetables into the pot, the pot will cook them in a few minutes without any need for fuel."
"Oh, truly this is a wonderful gift!" cried Dolores. "How can I ever thank you?"
"There is no need to thank me," said the gnome. "But beware! Only put water or vegetables in the pot. The day that anything else is put into the pot, the spell will be broken and it will turn into an ordinary pot."
"Oh, I shall be very careful, sir gnome. I shall! Thank you, again. Good day!"
And the gnome disappeared.
On that very day, Dolores put vegetables and water into the magic pot, and lo and behold, within a few minutes, they were all cooked, without any need for fuel. Dolores had many hours to herself that day free from cooking, which gave her time to lay about in the sun and pick flowers. She sold her cooked vegetables for the same money as always, but because she didn't need to buy fuel, she had one penny left over at the end of the day.
This went on for ten years. Dolores cooked vegetables, lay about in the sun, sold them, and saved a penny each day. And always she was careful not to put anything besides vegetables and water in the magic pot.
And then one day, Dolores planted flowers in both of her pots, bought a microwave oven for $26.50 from a local Walmart, and with the $10 she had left over she bought a ceramic gnome to put in the garden.