Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. The tale serves to illustrate the value of sharing. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as axe soup, button soup, nail soup, and wood soup. To me, “stone soup” is the best ingredient because stone contains minerals.
Some travelers 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 the very hungry travelers. Then the travelers 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 travelers answer that they are making “stone soup,” which tastes wonderful and which they would be delighted to share with the villager although it still needs a bit of garnish (which they are missing) to improve the flavor.
The villager, who anticipates enjoying a share of the soup, does not mind parting with a few carrots, so these are added to the soup which has not yet reached its full potential. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient, like potatoes, onions, cabbages, peas, celery, tomatoes, sweet corn, even meat like chicken, pork and beef, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Finally, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot, and a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by the travelers and villagers alike.
Although the travelers have thus ‘tricked” the villagers into sharing their food with them, they have successfully transformed it into a tasty meal which they share with the donors.
If you have young children in your family or you plan to interact with nieces, nephews, or grandchildren this month, you are invited to view an adaptation of this story with them.
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As one journalist observes, “We’re in the final weeks of the year, the rapid unfurling of the end of the spool.” For you, it may be a a time of reflection and of ritual, and so I wish you. . .
I will be offline (mostly) until the new year. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!
In the meantime, a memoir minute:
Have always loved Stone Soup!
Jack, you’re an early bird this morning. Obviously, the idea of sharing is appealing for you–and me. Merry Christmas! 😀
Good morning, Marian! Your post was up earlier today.
Stone Soup is such a good story.
My daughter used to read a book at my mother-in-law’ house every time we visited. It was called Teena and the Magic Pot, sort of a variation in that it’s never ending food. My mother-in-law sent her the book one day, a few years ago.
Enjoy your holiday season and break!
I love this story Marian. Even though a little deceit was used, the community could see what value each of their contribution made for this nutritious brew.
A blessed Christmas to you and family.
Susan, I never thought about the “deceit” until you mentioned it. Stone would hardly be tasty without the vegetables added, ingredients that propel the story forward. All for a good cause, I guess. Thanks for the insight! 😀
Yes, when I researched the familiar story, the “Teena” was called Samantha, and the black pot was lodged in her backpack, rather a stretch, I’d say. And, yes, I got up early, launched the post, and then went back to bed. You are so observant. Thank you, Merril, and happy Hanukkah! 😀
Stone Soup is a wonderful story and definitely important to pass along to future generations. Wishing you and your family a safe and peaceful holiday season, Marian.
Safe and peaceful is a holiday wish I can return to you and your family, including your mother. Thanks for staying in touch, Jill!
This is one of my favourite stories – with a “loaves and fishes” kind of theme. There is enough for all, if we all share a little. Merry Christmas! Enjoy a wonderful holiday season.
Your comment reminds me that this kind of sharing is the answer to world hunger, a situation that pains my heart. I like your reference to the “loaves and fishes” story too. Thank you, Arlene! 😀
Stone Soup is a great story! So glad you featured it, Marian. What a great reminder to share what we have. Happy Holidays, Marian, to you and your family!
And I’m glad you read it again here, another adaptation of a story that is said to have originated in China. I’m going to put the link here, so you and other readers can check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_Story_of_Stone_Soup
The three Chang brothers are constantly overworked by a mean, old fisherman. One day the fisherman scolds the boys for forgetting to prepare his lunch. The boys gather fish and other ingredients to make a delicious soup, then decide to trick the fisherman by digging a hole, filling it with water, and tossing in rocks. They then convince the fisherman that this is how they prepared the soup using special “flavored rocks”, astonishing the gullible fisherman. The narrator insists that this is the “real” stone soup story.
The book concludes with an author’s note and a recipe for “Chang Brother’s Egg Drop Stone Soup”
Thank you so much, Linda Marie! 😀
A delightful tale such a great story and video…Wishing and yours a happy festive season Marian 🙂 x
Thank you, Carol. And happy cooking and feasting! 😀
I loved this story when I was a kid, but I’d forgotten all about it! Thank you for posting it. Have a wonderful holiday with your family!
The story never grows old because sharing makes us happy and fulFILLED! The story has many adaptations, and here is one of Chinese origin that claims to be the original: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_Story_of_Stone_Soup
Thanks, Liz! 😀
You’re welcome, Marian. The Real Story of Stone Soup looks like a lot of fun.
Rather rough and tumble!
This is a great story, one for the ages. Have a wonderful Christmas break. xo
You too, Darlene. I hope you can enjoy a few Canadian and British traditions as you celebrate in Spain. 😀
I’ve always loved this story, Marian! My favorite soup is Borscht which is a Ukrainian cabbage or beet soup. Mennonites adopted it when they lived in Ukraine. Have a lovely Christmas sharing your “soup”!
Like the borscht we were served in Ukraine, this story has so many variations, yet the theme of sharing is still the same. Thanks for the good wishes, Elfrieda! 😀
Fables and folk tales have been a favorite for me since I was young. I so enjoyed reading Stone Soup and appreciate its message; a perfect one especially for this time of year. Thanks for sharing and have a joyful Christmas with your family.
Melanie, same here. I’ve loved fables and folk tales since I could listen to stories. However, I did not hear the stone soup story until I was an adult. If you have a Florida Christmas, you will probably enjoy warmish weather, as we hope. Thanks! 😀
We’ll be here in the warmth. 🙂
The Stone Soup fable is always one to touch my heart. Sharing what you can, and joining with others to create something beneficial to all. In this season of celebrations, may we all reach out and embrace that tradition.
Ginger, you just summarized the fable perfectly. Thanks for chiming in. I wish you good health in 2023. 😀
This was a favorite story when my kids were little. Good lessons about sharing, plus learning to experiment with making soup. (Both my sons make soup!) Blessed Christmas to you. I have a few lights up and ornaments and my sons assigned me to make a yogurt-cream cheese pie. Most delicious, I assure you, and a holiday favorite. May there be peace in this world.
Like you, Elaine, I get assigned what to make/bring for shared holiday dinners. I like that role better since I’m operating with less energy these days. Yogurt-cream cheese sounds delicious–and also with fewer calories without compromising on taste.
I too long for peace in this world, but it can only begin with sharing and caring. 😀
Hi Marian, a lovely post to end the year. I know this story and have always enjoyed it. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I look forward to reading your new book in 2023.
Yes, this legend is a storyteller’s delight because it’s imaginative and leaves us with a moral lesson without hitting us over the head with it. Thanks for the good wishes here too, Robbie! ;-D
I loved this story Marian. Very clever travellers. Just get people curious and the donations come. Happy holidays to you Marian. Have a lovely Christmas. <3
Yes, this ancient story does illustrate how humans operate: curious people willingly chime in. Thanks for joining the chat here, Debby. 😀
I love the photo of the process of getting your book laid out: best wishes to you both in this stage! And got your beautiful card the other day. Something nice about a real card in your hands, right? I do hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season. We’ve got ice this morning … so will try to stay safe!
Thanks for the nod here, Melodie. You are the first to notice another glimpse of our process. It would have been much easier to farm out the layout, but then we wouldn’t have “Cliff-hanger” moments, and you know how much my husband likes challenges.
Yes, in this digital age I’m surprised how many cards are sold. Target and the dollar stores have aisles of greeting cards, so lots of other people must be buying them too. Here’s to a safe and sacred holiday for all of us. 😀
Merry Christmas Marian! Xoxo
Same to you, Jenn. Thank you! 😀
I read Stone Soup to my students many times. It’s a timeless message to contribute what we can for a common goal. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of community and being part of a team.
It doesn’t surprise me that you read Stone Soup to your students, Pete.
And now you are part of a different community: bloggers without borders. I can tell you are enjoying the camaraderie here, being part of a global team.
Do enjoy this season with your family! 😀
I have never heard of stone soup but I think it’s brilliant 🤭😊 what a clever way of enticing the village into giving something so small but eventually what leads to delicious soup .
My Great Grandmother had eight children, of whom so had to feed ,and the story goes , from my Father, that there was a stock pot on the stove that was always filled with delicious soup . My Father said he’s never forgotten the delicious taste or smell and it never ever went empty .
Of course at some point it must have but in the eye of a child it was magic .
Have the most delicious Christmas Marian .
I like your home-made story of “stone” soup as well as the old folk tale here. In fact, it’s an even better one because it’s personal to you. It IS magical!
And I wish you a delicious Christmas as well, Cherry! 😀
Stone soup is such a lovely story. I hope your holidays were wonderful. Good luck on the launch of your new book!
Happy New Year, Luanne. How lovely to see you here, brightening up the beginning of 2023. All the best in writing and storytelling this year! 😀