|The weather has started to cool and some days can be quiet brisk. To me this signifies the start of cold weather foods. One in particular being soup. Today, we will be having Stone Soup at MMS. Have you ever heard the story? If you haven’t, allow me to share with you.
Once upon a time, there was a small village in a war torn land. In recent years, their crops had been poor and small. The villagers toiled to insure some sort of harvest. What hadn’t been destroyed by weather or insects, was taken to feed the armies. The war had ended and their crops had been bountiful.
One day a man, a wounded soldier with a large pack on his back, was seen walking up the road. The villagers seized with fear, started running about hiding their stores of food leaving only a rotting onion or a withered carrot in their cupboards. They closed their shutters and doors and watched the stranger approach though the cracks.
When the soldier finally arrived in the village, he knocked at the first door. A wizened old woman opened the door a crack and peered at him. “Excuse me ma’am, might you have something to eat?” “I do not!” She said harshly. “In fact, my cupboard is empty and my stomach pains me with its great hunger.” “I see. Thank you very much then,” said the soldier and he tipped his hat and made his way to the second house.
At the second house, he knocked at the door. The door was opened by an old man, his knees swollen with arthritis. “Excuse me sir, might I trouble you for something to eat?” the solider asked. “You may not!” the old man said darkly. “I haven’t even a bone fit for a dog!” “Very well,” the soldier said. The words of thank you had not yet formed on his lips when the door was slammed in his face.
The soldier sighed and made his way to the next house. Round the village he went, finding cruel responses and slammed doors. The weary soldier made his way back to the village square where he set down his pack and began to collect wood for a fire. He started the fire and warmed his hands then turned to his large pack.
His pack was made from a well worn but sturdy blanket. He untied the ends and removed the blanket from its burden. A large black pot was revealed. The soldier limped to the village well for water. Using the well bucket, he filled his pot with water and then placed it over the fire.
Then he made a slow circuit of the square, picking of stones. He would heft them in his hand and examine each very closely until he was finally satisfied with one stone. It was large, heavy and very smooth. The soldier walked back to his pot and dropped the stone in. Then he sat down and began to wait.
The villagers, hiding behind their doors and shutters were bursting with curiosity. What was the soldier doing? One small, brave, little boy slipped out of his house and went up to the soldier. “What are you doing?” he asked in a squeaky voice.
Without turning his head to look at the boy, the soldier said “Why, I am making stone soup!” The little boy stepped forward to peer into the pot. “Stone soup?” “Yes, stone soup.” The little boy looked back into the pot. “Is it good?” The soldier sighed and shook his head. “Not, really though it would much better if we had an onion.”
The little boy frowned at himself, shook his head and scampered off. Not long after he returned carrying a nice, plump onion. “Why this will make the perfect soup for us to share!” the soldier said as he sliced the onion into the pot. So he and the little boy settled down to wait.
Then an old woman made her way into the square. “What are you doing?” she asked in a raspy voice. The little boy piped up “We are making stone soup!” “Stone soup?” “Yes,” said the soldier, “though it would be much better if we had a carrot or two,” he said wistfully. “A carrot or two,” the old woman echoed thoughtfully. The soldier nodded as he watched the pot.
“I will return home and see if I can find something,” the old woman announced and with that, she scampered back to her house. She returned moments later with two bright orange carrots. “This will make the perfect soup for us to share,” the soldier said as he sliced it into the pot. The old woman settled down next to the soldier to wait.
Next came out the village blacksmith. He added potatoes to the pot. A young woman brought many different herbs. An old man brought out a ham bone with a fair share of meat. A dumpy woman with a flock of children clutching to her skirts brought a cabbage. The brewer brought some barley and his sister brought a handful of beans. They all sat around the fire and waited until the soup was done.
When the soup was ready there was a flurry of activity as people scampered back home for bowls and spoons. The soldier ladled soup into each of the villagers bowls. There was much merriment that night as each villager filled their belly with some of the best soup they had ever tasted. When ask, all the soldier would say is “The secret ingredient is in the stone.”
Thanks for joining me for the story of Stone Soup. I really enjoyed writing my own version of Stone Soup. It is one that I remember from when I was a little girl, so this story is very special to me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
From my bowl to yours, cheers!