STONE SOUP

There are many variations on the story of stone
soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a
town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to
discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he
wants them to give him food. They tell him in no
uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to
be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t
need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to
make a soup to share with all of them.
The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire
and fills a cauldron with water. With great
ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the
stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew
extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone
soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he
mentions how good the soup would be with just a
little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to
share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has
cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets-indeed, a
substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard
in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce,
we pull back and put all of our energy into self-
preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out
others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing
so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of
a feast.
This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food.
We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will
be richer if we keep to them to ourselves, when in
truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer
whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The
traveler was able to see that the villagers were
holding back, and he had the genius to draw them
out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread
that none of them could have created alone.
Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If
you come forward and share your gifts, you will
inspire others to do the same. The reward is a
banquet that can nourish many.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s