Monday, May 4, 2009

The Story Of Stone Soup

The Story of Stone Soup
A fable which was written down by Marcia Brown in 1947; the story exists in many variations throughout the world. This one is said to be an old French story (sometimes it is said to be Russian), and is therefore not copyrighted.
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 two 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 hay lofts, 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 woman.
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 pepper."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.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.
In this version the story clearly indicates that what each villager had was all they had of the item that they contributed, and alone no one villager had the makings of a meal.
Everything we do, stems from our state of mind, worry, fear, depression ( with the exception of clinical depression) saddness, anger, and frustration are all a state of mind, and we all know that we can, at anytime we choose change our state of mind and at that point eliminate the existance of these emotions, either temporarily or permanently depending on what we choose, and how good we have become of thinking ourselves past these emotions.
I recently had a cause to make “Stone soup” after Madison’s teacher decided to share the story with her class. I can honestly say that at that time the only thing good about the soup, was that I knew it was a valuable life lesson that Madison had learned, and we decided to participate in that. The good thing is I had some degree of control over the ingredients, and it wasn’t so so bad.
In the villagers state of mind, they were living a life of scarcity, they felt they had nothing to share, with these outsiders, who were strangers, so they were going to horad or withdraw anything that they had to give or contribute.All the while each knowing they didn’t independantly have the means to make soup, or to have a hearty meal.
It wasn’t until they witnessed the soldiers determination to make something from nothing that they begin to realize that by giving what little they had, they were contributing to a feast worthy of a rich man.
They learned to make something from nothing, and they learned this based on the determination of others.
There are so many lessons, or morals contained in the story of stone soup.Lessons of Giving, sharing, contibuting, determination, gratitude, teamwork, and community support. The story of stone soup shows us how to come together to make something great. The final feast is made by all our individual contributions, and is better than what any of us could have made by ourselves. We can see from the story that the act of sharing itself brings a community together, and makes everyone's lives richer. It could also be said that Every Month a Million is such a community, a place that needs contributions from all types of people and places to become all that we would have it to be. Everyone who becomes involved, in whatever flavor they choose, will benefit from the products and community that are created because of it. Each of our efforts do make a difference, much the same as the story of stone soup.

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