An Extrospective Journal.

Stone Soup – An Ancient Legend


Stone Soup – An Ancient Legend

Once upon a time, somewhere in
post-war Eastern Europe, there
was a great famine in which
people jealously hoarded
whatever food they could find,
hiding it even from their friends and neighbors.

Three soldiers trudged down a…
road in a strange country. They
were on their way home from
the wars. Besides being tired, they were
hungry. In fact, they had eaten
nothing for many, many days. “How I would like a good dinner
tonight,” said the first. “And a
bed to sleep in,” added the
second. “But that is impossible,”
said the third.

On they marched, until suddenly,
ahead of them, they saw the
lights of a village. “Maybe we’ll
find a bite to eat and a bed to
sleep in,” they thought. Now the peasants of the place
feared strangers. When they
heard that three soldiers were
coming down the road, they
talked among themselves. “Here
come three soldiers,” they said. “Soldiers are always hungry. But we have so little for
ourselves.” And they hurried to
hide their food. They hid the
barley in haylofts, carrots under
quilts, and buckets of milk down
the wells. They hid all they had to eat. Then they waited.

The soldiers stopped at the first
house. “Good evening to you,” they said.
“Could you spare a bit of food for
three hungry soldiers?” “We have
no food for ourselves,” the
residents lied. “It has been a poor harvest.”
The soldiers went to the next
house. “Could you spare a bit of
food?” they asked. “And do you
have a corner where we could
sleep for the night?” “Oh, no,” the man said. “We gave all we could
spare to the soldiers who came
before you.” “And our beds are full,” lied the

At each house, the response was
the same — no one had food or a
place for the soldiers to stay. The
peasants had very good reasons, like feeding the sick and children.
The villagers stood in the street
and sighed. They looked as
hungry as they could.

The soldiers talked together. The
first soldier called out, “Good
people! We are three hungry
soldiers in a strange land. We
have asked you for food and you
have no food. Well, we will have to make stone soup.” The
peasants stared.

The soldiers asked for a big iron
pot, water to fill it, and a fire to
heat it. “And now, if you please,
three round smooth stones.” The
soldiers dropped the stones into
the pot. “Any soup needs salt and
pepper,” the first soldier said, so
children ran to fetch salt and
“Stones make good soup, but
carrots would make it so much better,” the second soldier added. One woman said, “Why, I think I
have a carrot or two!” She ran to
get the carrots.
“A good stone soup should have
some cabbage, but no use asking
for what we don’t have!” said the third soldier. Another woman
said, “I think I can probably find
some cabbage,” and off she
scurried. “If only we had a bit of beef and
some potatoes, this soup would
be fit for a rich man’s table.” The
peasants thought it over, then
ran to fetch what they had
hidden in their cellars. A rich man’s soup, and all from a few
stones! It seemed like magic!
The soldiers said, “If only we had
a bit of barley and some milk,
this soup would be fit for a king!”
And so the peasants managed to retrieve some barley and milk. “The soup is ready,” said the
cooks, “and all will taste it, but
first we need to set the tables.”
Tables and torches were set up in
the square, and all sat down to
eat. Some of the peasants said, “Such a great soup would be
better with bread and cider,” so
they brought forth the last two
items and the banquet was
enjoyed by all.

Never had there been such a
feast. Never had the peasants
tasted such delicious soup, and all
made from stones! They ate and
drank and danced well into the
night. The soldiers asked again if there
was a loft where they might
sleep for the night. “Oh, no!” said
the town folk. “You wise men
must have the best beds in the
village!” So one soldier spent the night in the priest’s house, one in
the baker’s house, and one in the
mayor’s house. In the morning, the villagers
gathered to say goodbye. “Many
thanks to you,” the people said,
“for we shall never go hungry
now that you have taught us
how to make soup from stones!”

The moral of the story is that by
working together and everyone
contributing just a little, a
greater good is achieved.


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This entry was posted on September 25, 2013 by in Fables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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