The Pot of Gold | Ep. 211

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(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

Think about someone you trust.

Being able to trust somebody is a wonderful feeling. But as we’ll hear in this week’s story, putting our trust in the wrong person can put us in a very sticky situation!

Our story is called “The Pot of Gold.” Versions of this tale come from the Jewish tradition.

We recorded this episode before a live audience of very enthusiastic kids and grown-ups at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland. On stage was a trio of actors whose voices you’ve heard in many Circle Round stories: Evan Casey, Kevin Corbett, and Dawn Ursula.

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Nora Saks. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.

Coloring Page

(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes, click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.

Things To Think About After Listening

Eleanor dreamed of working her way toward a bigger house, with more beehives. What’s something you dream of achieving?

Maybe you dream of becoming an artist, or a teacher, or an astronaut. Perhaps you dream of visiting a foreign country, or finally finishing that Lego creation you started last month.

Think about your dream, then draw a picture of you achieving it. Imagine where you’ll be, what you’ll look like, and how you might feel. Then hang that picture somewhere you can see it, as a reminder that it’s never too early to start following our dreams!

Want to share your dream with us? Send a photo of you and your creation to

Musical Spotlight: Diatonic Accordion

Circle Round composer Eric Shimelonis plays the diatonic accordion. (Courtesy of Eric Shimelonis)
One of Circle Round composer Eric Shimelonis’s favorite instruments is the diatonic accordion!(Courtesy of Eric Shimelonis)

The diatonic accordion is a box-shaped reed instrument with pleated bellows in the middle and buttons on either side. You push and pull the bellows with your arms and hands while pressing the buttons with your fingers. When you do, the reeds inside the accordion vibrate to produce notes.

But get this: with the diatonic accordion, the notes you’re playing will change depending on whether you’re pushing or pulling. This added challenge makes the diatonic accordion one of our composer Eric Shimelonis’s favorite instruments to play!


NARRATOR: Eleanor the beekeeper lived in a rickety-crickety house in the countryside. And in the teeny-tiny yard behind her rickety-crickety house, she kept one hive full of buzzing, humming honeybees.

Every morning, Eleanor collected honey from her one hive… poured it into glass jars and ceramic pots… then went to work at the marketplace.

ELEANOR: Honey! Fresh, golden honey for sale! One silver coin for a jar, one gold coin for a pot!

NARRATOR: When Eleanor came home each night, she took all the coins she earned that day and separated the silver coins from the gold.

The silver coins she kept as pocket money. But the gold coins she set aside as savings. She stored them in one of her empty ceramic honey pots, with hopes of saving enough gold coins to buy a bigger house, with a spacious garden and a whole colony of beehives.

Well, Eleanor worked hard – for years – and then… one day…

ELEANOR: (gasp!) Could it be? I’ve counted all the gold coins in my honey pot, and if business keeps up, it should be just a few more months until I leave this rickety-crickety house behind and buy a bigger –

NARRATOR: Eleanor was interrupted by a knock at the door. It was the mail carrier, with a letter marked “Urgent.”

ELEANOR: Oh! It’s a letter from my sister, who lives all the way across the country! Let’s see what she has to say.

NARRATOR: Eleanor opened the envelope and began to read.

ELEANOR: “Dear Eleanor. I’m writing with some very good news. Remember how I told you I was expecting a baby? Well, I’ve just given birth to triplets! Three bouncing baby girls! So I’m wondering… could you please come and stay with us a while and help out? I know the journey is long, but the sooner you can arrive, the better. Love, your sister.”

NARRATOR: Eleanor’s heart flooded with excitement.

ELEANOR: How marvelous! I have three new nieces! I can’t wait to meet them. I’ll just pack up my stuff, then I’ll set off across the country!

NARRATOR: But as Eleanor loaded up her suitcase, something on the table caught her eye.

ELEANOR: Oh! How could I forget? My pot of gold coins! If I bring it with me, the money might get lost or stolen on the journey. But if I leave it behind, who’s to say some straggler won’t come wandering through the countryside, notice an empty house, and snoop around to see what might be worth taking? A pot of gold coins would be the first thing they’d run off with! I must find a way to keep the pot safe!

NARRATOR: Eleanor thought fast. And in a flash, she knew what she would do. She raced out to her beehive and brought back a big bucket of honey. Then she turned the bucket over, and drizzled the honey into her pot of gold coins!

ELEANOR: Oooo, look at that! The sticky honey is covering up all my coins! Once the pot is filled to the top, you’ll never even know there’s money in there.

NARRATOR: And it was true! Once the pot was brimming with ooey-gooey honey, Eleanor couldn’t see the gold coins at all.

But she wasn’t finished.

ELEANOR: Now I need to leave this pot somewhere safe… like with my neighbor! Rufus the baker! He isn’t the warmest fellow, but I have given him the occasional jar of honey to make his treats. So he owes me a favor.

NARRATOR: With her honey pot in her hand, Eleanor went over to see Rufus. The baker’s house was just as rickety and crickety as Eleanor’s was – but the most delicious smells were always wafting out from inside. Eleanor got a rich whiff of cocoa as Rufus opened the door.

RUFUS: Greetings, Eleanor. What can I do for you today? And make it snappy. I have a double-chocolate bundt cake in the oven and it mustn’t overbake!

ELEANOR: Well, Rufus… in a nutshell, my sister had triplets and she’s asked me to come and visit for a while. She lives all the way across the country and I don’t know how long I’ll be away. So while I’m gone, can you please keep an eye on… this

NARRATOR: Eleanor held up the ceramic honey pot.

ELEANOR: It’s a very special batch of honey, you might say. It took a long time to make – years, really – and I need to keep it safe. So will you watch it for me? All I ask is that you don’t use any of it; as a token of my thanks, I’ll bring you a dozen pots of honey when I return.

NARRATOR: Rufus’s eyes gleamed as he pictured all the honey cakes, honey pies, and honey buns he could bake with a dozen pots of honey.

RUFUS: Alright. I will watch your honey, Eleanor. And when you come back, I look forward to all those delicious pots of – Oh holy molasses! My bundt cake! It’s burning! I must go!

NARRATOR: Well, the days passed, then the weeks, and the longer Eleanor was away, the less Rufus thought about the pot of honey. He had shoved it behind the extra bags of flour on his pantry’s top shelf, and eventually forgot all about it.

But one evening, as he was whipping up a dozen batches of bran muffins, he realized…

RUFUS: Uch! Son of a biscuit!

NARRATOR: …he was missing a key ingredient!

RUFUS: Honey! I don’t have any honey and I’m supposed to deliver these muffins to a customer tomorrow! I suppose I could swap out the honey for sugar, but they won’t be the same. Hmmm…

NARRATOR: Rufus glanced around the kitchen. When his eyes fell on the pantry’s top shelf, his scowling face broke into a smile!

RUFUS: Well, sandwich me in shortbread and call me a cookie! I do have some honey! Eleanor’s honey! She told me not to use it, but come now. I’ll just use a few cups and replace it before she returns. She’ll never know the difference!

NARRATOR: Rufus pulled Eleanor’s honey pot off the shelf. But when he took off the lid and plunged his measuring cup inside…

RUFUS: What the devil’s food cake????

NARRATOR: …he felt it clink against something hard! He took a closer look, then his eyes grew as round and wide as two whoopie pies.

RUFUS: Well glaze my donuts and fry my fritters! This pot is full of gold coins! They were hidden beneath the honey! No wonder Eleanor wanted to keep it safe!

NARRATOR: As Rufus stared at the coins, a sudden thought occurred to him.

A sudden greedy thought!

RUFUS: I wonder…what if I kept all these gold coins for myself? I’ll take them out of the pot, then I’ll fill the pot up with honey from the store. If Eleanor comes back and asks me where her coins are, I’ll deny that she gave me a pot filled with anything but honey. After all, it seems she was keeping her savings a secret. There’s no way she can prove there was money… in the honey!

NARRATOR: What do you think?

Could Eleanor prove her money was hidden in the honey?

And if so, how?

We’ll find out what happens, after a quick break.


NARRATOR: I’m Rebecca Sheir and welcome back to Circle Round, live at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland! Today our story is called “The Pot of Gold.”

Before the break, Eleanor the beekeeper left a ceramic pot with her neighbor, Rufus the baker. Hidden in the pot, beneath a thick layer of honey, were the gold coins she’d been saving up to buy a new house.

Unfortunately, Rufus discovered Eleanor’s secret. Greedily, he thrust his hands into the pot…and began pulling out the coins with his sticky fingers.

RUFUS: One gold coin… two gold coins – no, no, make that three. Or four? This honey is so thick, the coins keep sticking together!

NARRATOR: Once Rufus was certain he had retrieved all the coins from the pot, he gave them a good rinse, then went to work spending them.

You may recall that Rufus’s house was every bit as rickety and crickety as Eleanor’s was. So he decided he’d use this windfall to fix it up! He swapped out his rough, uneven floorboards for shiny marble tiles… he slathered a fresh coat of paint on all his walls… he even splurged on new windows and a shiny metal roof.

So months later, when Eleanor returned from her trip and swung by her neighbor’s house to pick up her honey pot, she was astounded by what she saw.

ELEANOR: Wow! Rufus’s house looks amazing! His baking business must have taken off while I was away!

NARRATOR: When Eleanor knocked at the door, she got a whiff of sugar and cream as Rufus answered with his usual scowl.

RUFUS: Oh, Eleanor. You’re back.

ELEANOR: Yes I am! And I’m happy to see you, too! Anyway, I’m pleased to report that my sister and her new babies are doing fine! You should see those sweet little cuties with their bright eyes and plump cheeks and –

RUFUS: I’m sure they’re sweeter than a cream puff – which, by the way, is what I am baking right now so I only have a moment. I suppose you’ve come to ask for your “special batch of honey”?

ELEANOR: Indeed! I appreciate you keeping it safe for me.

RUFUS: It was my pleasure. I can assure you, Eleanor: your honey was in the very best of hands. Here you go!

NARRATOR: Eleanor took the pot with an appreciative grin.

ELEANOR: Thank you, Rufus. And congratulations on the improvements to your house! New roof, new windows, new paint… and are those new floors?

RUFUS: They are! Let’s just say things went very sweetly for me while you were away. Very sweetly indeed. Now if you’ll excuse me, my cream puffs await!

NARRATOR: When Eleanor returned to her rickety-crickety house, she lifted the lid off her ceramic honey pot and glanced inside.

ELEANOR: Oh, good! The pot is still full of honey; it looks like my plan worked! Seems Rufus had no idea there were gold coins hidden in here. But I’ll take a quick look just to make sure.

NARRATOR: Eleanor turned the pot over into a big bowl. But to her dismay, the only gold that came out was gooey, golden honey!

ELEANOR: What??? Where are my coins????

NARRATOR: Eleanor jumped up from the table, bolted back to Rufus’s house, and pounded on the door.

ELEANOR: Rufus! Rufus! Where is my money?

NARRATOR: This time when Rufus answered the door, he wasn’t scowling. He was smiling!

RUFUS: I’m sorry, Eleanor. Did you say “Where is my ‘honey’”? Or “Where is my ‘money’”? Because I gave you your honey. If it’s “money” you’re looking for, I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about!

ELEANOR: Oh yes you do! There were gold coins in this honey pot! And you used those coins to buy yourself new floors, new windows, new paint, and a new roof!

NARRATOR: Rufus pretended to be shocked.

RUFUS: For goodness cake, Eleanor! That’s quite an accusation you’re making! Why would I, a successful baker, steal your money? But suppose there was money in your honey. Without witnesses, without proof, there’s no way you could prove that I stole it from you. Now good day, Eleanor.

NARRATOR: As Rufus closed the door, Eleanor heaved a sigh. Her neighbor was right: no witnesses had seen her put the coins into the pot. And the only proof she had that Rufus had made off with her money was his newly fixed-up house!

ELEANOR: Ugh. I guess I’ll have to go back to square one, and start saving my gold coins all over again!

NARRATOR: Eleanor was so distraught, she shoved the pot in her cupboard and went straight to bed. The next morning, she fought back tears as she sold her honey at the marketplace.

ELEANOR: Honey! Fresh, golden honey for sale! One silver coin for a jar, one gold coin for a –

NARRATOR: Eleanor buried her face in her hands. Then all of a sudden…

POTTER: Eleanor?

NARRATOR: …she heard a voice.

POTTER: Eleanor! Are you okay?

NARRATOR: Eleanor uncovered her face. Standing beside her was the village potter: a talented fellow who crafted beautiful ceramic pots and bowls on his wheel and sold them at the marketplace. In fact, he had sold Eleanor all of her honey pots – including the pot that once held her savings!

ELEANOR: Oh, hello potter! Thanks for asking if I’m okay. The truth is, I’m not. But it’s a long, sad story and you don’t want to hear it!

POTTER: Actually, I do! Tell me everything. I am all ears!

NARRATOR: So Eleanor told her tale. When she finished, the potter had a curious gleam in his eye.

POTTER: So… you say your neighbor stole all your gold coins?

ELEANOR: It sure looks like it! After all, his house used to be as rickety and crickety as mine is, and now it’s got an entire facelift! That kind of thing isn’t cheap. I’m certain he spent every last bit of my savings! But how do I prove it?


NARRATOR: The potter scratched his chin.

POTTER: … I think I may have an idea. Meet me at Rufus’s house tonight. And bring the honey pot. Together, we’ll take a crack at solving your problem!

NARRATOR: Eleanor was excited to see what the potter had in mind. So that night, she grabbed her honey pot and met the potter outside Rufus’s house. When the baker answered the door, the air filled with the sweet scent of cinnamon.

RUFUS: Hello, Eleanor. And who’s your friend here? I don’t believe we’ve met.

POTTER: I am a humble potter, Rufus. And though you know nothing about me, I have heard an awful lot about you!

RUFUS: Oh! About my incredible baking, you mean? I’m cooking up some cinnamon sticky buns right now and they are to die for!

POTTER: I’m sure your sticky buns are amazing. But I wonder: what about your… sticky fingers?

RUFUS: Come again???

NARRATOR: The potter pointed at Eleanor’s honey pot.

POTTER: Does this pot look familiar to you, Rufus?

RUFUS: Why yes! That’s the pot Eleanor had me watch for her while she was out of town. She gave it to me full of honey, and that’s precisely how I returned it.

POTTER: Are you sure?

RUFUS: As sure as the sun rises! Or my bread dough. Not to mention my fabulously fluffy soufflés!

POTTER: Very well then. Might you have a hammer in this beautifully renovated house of yours?

RUFUS: A hammer?!?

POTTER: Yes! If not, a very large rolling pin will do.

NARRATOR: Rufus was perplexed, but he fetched his largest rolling pin.

POTTER: Thank you, Rufus. Eleanor?


POTTER: Can you place the honey pot on the ground, please?

NARRATOR: Eleanor wasn’t sure what the potter was up to, but she placed the pot on the stone walkway.

POTTER: Thank you! Now Rufus, I want you to take this rolling pin… and smash the pot.

RUFUS: Smash… the pot…?!???

NARRATOR: Rufus was taken aback. Eleanor was, too!

ELEANOR: But potter! You worked hard on that pot!

POTTER: I know, Eleanor! I know. I can always make another. So go ahead, Rufus! Give it a good whack!

NARRATOR: Rufus clutched the rolling pin in his hand. Then he took a deep breath, pulled back his arm, and…

RUFUS: Hi-yahhh!

NARRATOR: …he smashed the pot to pieces!

Shards of clay went scattering everywhere. The potter knelt down and began examining the fragments.

POTTER: Let me see…. Not this one…. Not this one… (gasp!) A-HA!!!

NARRATOR: He picked up one of the larger fragments and handed it to Eleanor.

POTTER: Eleanor? Take a look, won’t you?

NARRATOR: Eleanor squinted at the broken piece of pot. And as her eyes came into focus, so did her mind! All at once, everything became clear. She turned toward Rufus with a grin.

ELEANOR: You know, Rufus… I have to admit, I was wrong. You didn’t steal all my gold coins.

RUFUS: Of course I didn’t! An honorable man like me would never –

ELEANOR: You didn’t steal all my gold coins, because you left two of them behind!

NARRATOR: Eleanor held up the broken piece of pot. Clinging to one side was a sticky layer of honey…. and clinging to the honey were two gold coins!

ELEANOR: Here are two gold coins that you didn’t steal from me, because they were glued to the inside of the pot! The honey made them stick! And now you are in a sticky situation, because these coins are proof that I have been speaking the truth. I gave you a pot filled with honey and money!

NARRATOR: Rufus stared at the coins.

RUFUS: Well batter my brownies and beat my egg whites! You’ve caught me red-handed! And…

NARRATOR: He hung his head.

RUFUS:sticky-fingered, too.

NARRATOR: Well, after that, Rufus worked extra hard to pay Eleanor all the money he owed her. And eventually, she was able to leave her rickety-crickety house behind and buy a bigger one, with a spacious garden and a whole colony of beehives.

Eleanor had never been happier. Because not only was she as busy as a bee… but she was living out her dream, in what truly felt like home, sweet home.

Rebecca Sheir Host, Circle Round
Rebecca Sheir is the host "Circle Round," WBUR's kids storytelling podcast.



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