You all know the old folktale of Stone Soup, right?

Well, here’s a quick recap: a hungry, weary traveler comes to a new town in search of a meal. The townsfolk, untrusting of his mangy appearance, claim to have nothing to offer him. If they have nothing, he then says, they would too find use for his “Stone Soup.” The man claims that by dropping this magical stone in boiling water it will make the most delicious soup they’ve ever tasted. All he needs is a fire, a pot and some water.

A woman, intrigued by the idea of this “stone soup,” obliges him. The man tastes the water, then claims it needs just a little salt, barley and butter. Another man obliges with the desired ingredients. Once again, he tastes it and says that although it is much better, it still needs vegetables and potatoes. A third person, not understanding the trick, is mesmerized by the miracle soup,  and fetches the ingredients. He follows it up by asking for meat to add, which another among the growing crowd also fetches.

Smelling that the soup was finished, both the man and rest of the crowd ate their fill of the delicious soup before the man fished the stone out of the pot and went on his way.


The Moral of the Story

A somewhat silly, and very unbelievable, folktale as it may be, the message and moral of the story is quite good: good things come from sharing. If it wasn’t for the generosity of strangers, each contributing small yet important parts to the soup, no one would have been able to partake in this extraordinarily delicious meal.

Collaboration, sharing, acceptance and goodwill among your neighbors are strong values that we all should share and demonstrate all year long, but they are particularly important during the sometimes harsh and dreary winter months.

People get snowed in, ice gets so bad people can’t leave their homes, cars die or go sliding off the road. This time of year is so important to demonstrate kindness with your fellow man. Help your older neighbor shovel their driveway or pull over and help that stranger jumpstart his car battery.

One of the best ways to show goodwill? Food. Like the story shows, food can help bring even complete strangers together. Why not whip up a batch of your own “Stone Soup”? Make an extra large batch that you and your family can enjoy. Then, fill up some containers and take them to share with your neighbors. Not only will they appreciate it, but it may spark them to pay it forward with an act of kindness of their own. A small gesture can go a long way.

Need some ideas for a simple “Stone Soup” recipe? Here’s a couple that fit the bill.


Mom’s Mixed Bean Soup


Easy, Cheesy Pinto Bean Soup


Italian-Style Ham & Bean Soup


20-Minute Pork Three-Bean Soup