Archive for April 2nd, 2015

April 2, 2015

Stone Soup

pet rock

Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers trick the local people of a town to share their food: a good confidence trick that benefits the group from combining their individual resources. The story is usually told as a lesson in cooperation, especially amid scarcity. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as button soup, wood soup, nail soup, and axe soup. In the story, some hungry travellers come to a village carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with them.

The travellers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making ‘stone soup,’ which tastes wonderful, but could use a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.

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