There’s a famous story called Stone Soup. It’s an old French tale about three tired and hungry soldiers who had traveled far and went into a village to find a place to sleep and to have their stomachs filled.
But when the villagers saw them coming, they hid all of their food. It had been a poor harvest, and they wanted to keep all they had for themselves. They covered the stores of food, hiding everything they could.
When the soldiers came, they asked for a place to spend the night. The villagers insisted that all of their beds were full and there certainly was no room for the strangers.
The soldiers asked for a meal, but every last villager insisted there was no food to spare. Each made an excuse and none offered hospitality.
The soldiers looked at each other. Then one said, “Well then, we’ll have to make stone soup.”
The villagers were surprised at this. They had made many different kinds of soups but never one from stones. Could it be possible? There were many stones around. What if they each could be made into soup?
The soldier chose three smooth stones for the soup and asked for a large iron pot to cook it in. The villagers were so curious at how to make stone soup that someone offered a pot.
The stones were placed inside it, water was poured into it, and a fire was lit under it. The soldiers looked satisfied, but said, “Any soup needs salt and pepper.” The villagers agreed and one ran to get them. The soldiers added them to the pot and the villagers were wondering what kind of soup was coming to a boil.
The soldiers began to talk amongst themselves. “Stone soup is wonderful, but carrots make it even better.” The villagers looked at one another and one ran to get carrots out from under the blanket where she had hidden them.
The soldiers then began to say how if there were potatoes and a bit of beef it would be good enough for any rich man’s table. The sound of that was tempting to the poor villagers, and two ran off to provide potatoes and beef for the stone soup.
One more time the soldiers spoke among themselves about the soup. “When the king dined with us, he loved this very soup with just a bit of barley and milk.” This was a king’s meal, all from stones! The villagers were so excited that they had the soup of kings in their village and villagers brought to the pot barley and milk.
The soldiers announced that the soup would soon be ready and that the soldiers would give a taste to them all. Now the villagers began to talk among themselves and say that such a soup should have bread and a roast and cider. It wasn’t long before the tables were set and a feast was spread before them all.
Everyone was sure it was the best soup they had ever tasted. And to think, it was made from stones.
(This version of the story is under copyright.)