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The Stone Soup Fable

This old German fable effectively sums up our feelings about soup in general. It’s a collaborative food that brings people together. And most importantly, good soup always tells a great story! Read on for this classic fable.

A wisened, old traveller was traversing a foreign land when he came upon a small village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows.

The stranger  simply smiled, stopped in the town square and asked in a loud voice to those watching him tentatively, “why are you all so frightened. I am a simple traveler, looking for a hot meal to fill my belly and a soft place to rest my head for the night.

"There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," a villager replied from his porch. "We are weak and our children are starving. Best you keep moving on."

"Oh, I have everything I need," he proclaimed as he theatrically drew a silken bag from his cloak and an ordinary-looking stone from the silken bag "In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." All I need is a large iron cauldron, some water and some tinder with which to build a fire”

This was a simple enough request, and a few of the villagers brought him a large cauldron, a few pales of water and built a small fire under the cauldron.

Then, with great ceremony, he produced the stone, and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows.  As the stranger sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their suspicion.

"Ahh," the stranger said to himself rather loudly, "I do like a tasty stone soup.  Of course, stone soup with cabbage - that's hard to beat."

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he'd retrieved from its hiding place, and handed it to the traveller, who thanked the villager and added it to the pot.

"Wonderful!!" cried the stranger. "You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king."

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . .  And so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share.

The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day.

As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road. He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to a group, "It was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed the magic."