There was once a man who had been traveling for a long time. Having run out of food, he was weary and hungry from his journey. When he came upon a small village, he thought, "Maybe someone could share some food."
When the man knocked at the first house, he asked the woman who answered, "Could you spare a bit of food? I’ve traveled a long way and am very hungry." "I’m sorry, but I have nothing to give you," the woman replied.
So the traveler went to the next door and asked again. The answer was the same. He went from door to door and each time he was turned away. Not one of the villagers were willing to oblige the man as times were tough and no one had much to spare.
But then one villager said, "All I have is some water." "Thank you," the traveler said smiling gratefully, "We can make some soup from that water. We can make stone soup."
He asked the man for a cooking pot and started building a small fire. As the water started to boil, 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?" The curious villager agreed.
"First, we must add a special stone," said the traveler. "One with magic in it." He reached into his knapsack and carefully unwrapped a special stone he’d been carrying with him for many years. Then he put it in the simmering pot.
Soon people from the village heard about this strange man who was making soup from a stone. They started gathering around the fire, asking questions. "What does your stone soup taste like?" asked one of the villagers. "Well, it would be better with a few onions," the traveler admitted. "Oh, I have some onions," he replied.
Another villager said, "I could bring a few carrots." Someone else offered, "We still have some potatoes in our garden. I’ll go get them."
One by one, each villager brought something to add to the pot. What had started as just some water and a magic stone, had now become a delicious soup, enough to feed the whole village. The traveler and the villagers sat down together to enjoy their feast, and the miracle they’d help to create.
Stone Soup Inspirations
The Stone Soup Folktale has been the inspiration for many other groups and organizations. Most notably the book, Stone Soup for the World edited by Marianne Larned. This collection of heartwarming stories, many which can be found on the Stone Soup for the World website, feature ordinary people doing extraordinary things and show that greatness grows out of simple acts of giving. After reading the inspirational stories, we hope you catch the Stone Soup spirit, which is the belief that "Like the traveler in the folktale, we each have a magic stone: the power to give and get others to join us in building a world that works for everyone."
The Stone Soup Foundation works to support the premise of the stone soup story, that with a little imagination, cooperation and goodwill, we can make the world a better place.