Long ago, a ragged traveler arrived in a small village and asked for something to eat. "We have nothing for you," said the villagers, eyeing him suspiciously. They shut their doors in his face. "Well then," said the traveler, "could you spare me a pot? The stoncs here are just perfect for stone soup." "Stone soup!" the villagers exclaimed. "Who ever heard of stone soup?"

A crowd gathered as the traveler built a fire under a large pot of water and carefully added a handful of stones. After a while he tasted a steaming spoonful, and sighed. "Not bad," he said, "but it's a pity I don't have a carrot." A bunch of carrots was quickly produced. "Mmm, much better," said the traveler, "but an onion would really bring out the flavor of the stones." A bag of onions was eagerly passed forward . Everyone wanted to have a hand in this mysterious soup, and soon the pot was brimming with celery, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, barley, and meat. A delicious fragrance rose from the bubbling soup. The traveler tried it one last time, and pronounced it ready. There was enough for everyone in the village. And everyone was amazed that such a delicious soup could be made from stones.






Copyright 2000 Setsuko Watanabe