Stone Soup

David Trammel's picture

There once was a traveler who came to a small village, tired and weary from his long journey. The traveler did not have anything to eat and hoped that a friendly villager would be able to feed him.

He came to the first house and knocked on the door. He asked the woman who answered if she could spare just a small bit of food as he had traveled far and was very hungry. The woman replied, “I’m sorry I have nothing to give you. I can barely feed my own family.”

So the traveler went to another door and asked again. The answer was the same: “I have nothing to give you.” He went from door to door and each time was turned away.

Undaunted, the traveler went to the village square, took a large cooking pot from his bag and filled it with water. From twigs he gathered nearby he started a fire and put the pot on it. As he boiled the water, a passing villager stopped and asked him what he was doing.

“I’m making stone soup." The traveler replied, "Would you like to join me?"

From his backpack the traveler took out a small red velvet bag. The villager watched as the traveler reverently remove a small round stone and held it up.

"My grandfather got this from a dragon long ago as reward for a debt." The traveler dropped it carefully into the now boiling water. "It is magical and when cooked, produces a wonderful and hearty soup."

The two of them sat there for a few minutes watching the pot and fire. Then the traveler removed a spoon from his pack and took a small sip of the soup.

"Hmmmmm," he said. "Almost done but it needs something..."

The villager asked if carrots were good in stone soup. “Sure,” said the traveler. The villager went home and returned with carrots from his garden to add to the boiling water.

Soon, another curious villager came by and she too heard the tale of the magical stone. The traveler invited her to join them when the soup was done.

He took another sip of the soup.

"Hmmm," he said. "Almost done but it needs something..."

She asked if potatoes were good with stone soup. "Sure," said the traveler. She went home and returned with some potatoes. A young boy passed by and hearing the tale of the magical stone, ran home to soon rejoin the group, bringing his mother and a collection of fine china dinner bowls from their home which they shared with the group.

In time, a crowd gathered with each new arrival hearing the tale of the magical stone. After a few minutes, each would come back and offer their own ingredient: mushrooms, onions, salt, black pepper, acorn, squash. Everyone wanted to be part of the creation.

Finally after the whole village had gathered the traveler removed the stone and declared, “The stone soup is ready!” And everyone joined in a feast where there was none before.