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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: Teapot's First Lesson
By Julie Seeto
~10th Place


Pete’s Pottery Place, at the end of Market Square, was a thriving business. A swan-shaped planter taking pride of place in the front window was certainly a drawcard. Especially when the pink and white petunias planted in its hollow back were in bloom. Most of the homes in the village proudly displayed at least one, if not several, of Pete’s unique pieces.

In fact his pottery barely had time to collect dust on the shelves before it was sold out. Mrs Jones had even given him a good price for his very own teapot when he had run out of stock in the shop. She didn’t care that it had been used already. Pete didn’t mind making himself a new teapot. He had a few favourite pieces that would never be for sale, but his teapot, thankfully, was not one of them.

Inside the workroom, Pete threw a lump of clay on his potter’s wheel and started to work it in his wet, weathered hands. Drawing up the walls slowly and smoothly, he levelled off the top and pressed out a bulge in the middle. Smiling at the result, he trimmed the base and set the pot aside to work on the lid and spout. As he worked, droplets beaded on his upper lip, moistening the whitened bristles of his moustache.

Pete returned to the pot on his bench. A rather small but sturdy piece, it would make an excellent teapot. Using his fettling knife he pushed the tip carefully through the side wall, turning it gently to make a neat hole.
“Ow! Stop it! That hurts.”
Startled, Pete dropped the knife, staring in disbelief as the pot wriggled out of his grip and rolled over on its side. Suddenly, two bulges appeared on its base and grew into short fat legs. The pot stood on its new legs, a little wobbly at first – Pete had given it a rather large girth. Then little hands grew out of the walls, first on this side, then on the other. Finally two eyes popped out on the rim and blinked. The little pot clenched its fist at Pete. “What do you think you’re doing?” it demanded.

Still in shock, Pete’s jaw dropped. None of his creations had ever objected to his work before. At least none of them had plainly told him so.
“Well?” the pot asked, impatiently tapping its foot against the bench. “I was a perfectly good pot, until you poked a hole in me.”
“I … need pouring holes,” Pete began to explain. “Teapots work better with pouring holes.”
“Teapot…?! Tea pot!” the teapot squealed, hopping about on the bench and working itself into a huff. A little puff of steam escaped out of the hole in its side. “I can’t be a teapot!”
“I need a teapot,” Pete said firmly.
“Humph!” the teapot snorted. “I don’t want to be a teapot! I want to be … a graceful swan full of gorgeous flowers.” With that, Teapot flung out its arms and tried to glide gracefully across the bench, but stumbled over its own feet instead, rolling dangerously close to the edge.
“Careful, now,” said Pete catching the pot up in his hands and placing it gently back in the middle of the bench. “You’ll spoil my handiwork. You haven’t been fired yet.”
“Fired?” Teapot blinked its eyes and sat down, almost afraid to ask, “ … what is fired?”
“Fired in a furnace to harden you and make you usable.”
“Then of course, you’ll need to be glazed and fired some more.”
Teapot’s eyes widened as it leaned back on its hands. “Why didn’t you make me graceful like a swan …?”
Pete’s voice softened. “I don’t need another swan. I need a teapot. And teapots must have pouring holes and be fired and glazed, or you’ll be of no use to me.”
“Will it hurt forever?” Teapot asked, hoping otherwise.
“Only for a time.”
Teapot was silent for a moment. “Are you sure it has to be this way?”
“Oh, dear Teapot, you must trust me. I am the Potter and you are the clay!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Angela Linton01/15/10
The message is so true, thanks for the reminder.
Rachel Phelps01/16/10
I really liked this story. I felt it might have been stronger without the final sentence because it can register as a cliche and the point of the story had already been firmly established. Trust the rest of the story to carry the message and don't rely on a "message-maker" sentence on the end. You brought in the topic well and created a sweet story.
Mona Purvis01/16/10
Imaginative, on topic and lots of fun with a great message.
I enjoyed this entry. Fresh and creative.
Very well written.

Mildred Sheldon01/16/10
I loved this entry. It was a very enjoyable read. Keep writing and thank you very much.
Karen Pourbabaee 01/17/10
A charming fairytale-like story reminiscent of "Pinnochio" with a strong spiritual message...just great!
Jan Ackerson 01/18/10
Creative and well done.

It'll look neater and be easier to read if you put a white space between all paragraphs, even those that consist solely of a few words of dialog.

I've started a class in the FaithWriters forums for Beginner and Intermediate writers. I'd love to see you there--look for "Jan's Writing Basics".

This is an appealing little fable!
Diana Symons01/18/10
Very sweet. I didn't get the "message" until I read the comments, but now it seems pretty obvious. Nicely done. Be careful of punctuation-missing some commas.
Virgil Youngblood 01/19/10
A fun read with a good message. Like the teapot, we are uniquely created to serve. Thanks for the reminder.
Lisa Johnson01/21/10
You did a very good job on this story! The object lesson was awesome! Congratulations for your win on your level, and your placement in the Editor's Choice!!!
Cindy Carver01/22/10
This was very cute. I got a nice smile out of it. Very well written and nicely pulled together. Congratulations on your award.
Leah Nichols 01/23/10
Very creative fable! You write very well. I'd suggest narrowing in on Pete's point of view; the narrative makes it a little distant.

Congrats on your EC! I'm glad I liked the piece that beat me out by one spot. ;)
Deborah Engle 01/23/10
I love this story which so excellently portrays a valuable truth all Christians need to learn. Congratulations on your EC!
Rachel Dorsey01/24/10

I like this story so much! I think it showed a creative side that has been explored through using the idea of the teapot coming to life.

I think the last sentence would have been better if it just ended with the first part and eliminate the Potter/clay reference since it is obvious from the body of the story.