Stone Soup

Three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and years of war, hid what little they had to eat and met the 3 at the village square, bemoaning the lack of food.

The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier turned to the village elders. ‘Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones.’ Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town's greatest pot as the soldiers dropped in 3 smooth stones. ‘Now this will be a fine soup’, said the second soldier; ‘but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!’ Up jumped a villager, crying ‘What luck! I've just remembered where some's been left!’ And off she ran, returning with salt, an apronful of parsley and a turnip.

As the pot boiled, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream found their way into the great pot, and a cask of fresh juice was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast.

They ate and celebrated well into the night, refreshed by the feast. In the morning the 3 soldiers awoke to find the village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village's best breads and cheese. ‘You’ve given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones", said an elder, "and we shall never forget.’ The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: ‘There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast’. And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.

‘The more we share, the more we have.’