We've all heard the story of stone soup where hungry and weary travelers come into a town. The villagers are worried the travelers will take too much, so no help is offered to the travelers. The travelers decide to make stone soup, which incites the curiosity of the townspeople who now long to help make the soup better. By the end of the story, all are fed, rested, and friendly.
This story matters a lot at this time because our world is facing a refugee crisis. People we don't know may come to our towns. We can be afraid of them, be unwilling to share, but they may have just what our town needs - a way to bring people together because when we know and understand people, fear flees and friendship enters in. This story shows the importance of each person and how we are all connected and part of a larger whole.
Once a year, my grandchildren gather for our Stone Soup party. Each child brings an offering for the soup. I start out with a stone and some water. We read the story and then each child adds their offering in the order it is added in the book. Even the pickiest of eaters is excited to taste the creation, and they can see the importance of each person's offering. The soup needs each one of us to be the best it can be.
Today I am missing my son and his wife and family who are stationed far away from us in the USAF. They won't be here for Thanksgiving and the day will be a bit less bright without them, but we will enjoy the company of those who are able to be here.
There are a lot of retellings of Stone Soup available. My favorite is out of print (of course - if I like a book it goes out of print).
Marilyn Sapienza retells the story and her characters are so much fun and a bit over the top with their emotions. Hans Wilhelm is the illustrator and his drawings add the personality to this story published by Weekly Reader in 1986.
Max and Molly are the travelers. Mr. Ratfink and his family are the first to notice the travelers are almost to their village. They warn the villagers and soon the entire village is closed up tight to the weary travelers. All of the villagers are animals (not a human in the story). By the end of the tale, they have learned to share and all have become friends.
I love the last lines of this story: '"How can we thank you for the secret recipe?' they called.
'Share Stone Soup with everyone,' sang the travelers."
On the very last page is the recipe for Stone Soup:
"Heat some water in a pot.
Add some stones you've scrubbed a lot.
Sprinkle pepper, salt, and herbs.
Let it boil undisturbed.
Drop in carrots, onions too.
Let the soup heat through and through.
Stir in milk to make it sweet.
Add potatoes for a treat.
Toss in meat cubes. Let it stew.
Let it bubble. Let it brew.
Taste the soup and when it's done,
Share Stone Soup with everyone."
We end up with extra vegetables besides carrots and onions because I have eleven grandchildren, but that makes it even better.
During this holiday season, may your water and stones be added upon until what is created is rich, soothing, hearty, and healthy for you and all of your loved ones.