Stone Soup

anchobutternutsoupFall is soup weather here in Texas.  I am always glad when the highs move out of the 80’s down to the 70’s.  It is at that point that my family will eat soup.  Soup is one of my favorite dishes to make.  There is something very comforting about making it and eating it.  Here is a picture of the beautiful Ancho-Butternut Squash Soup I made for dinner.  It was heavenly.

stonesoupThe making of this soup led me to think about a favorite story of mine Stone Soup.  I was looking through my books to find a copy and found I have three different versions of this story.  Stone Soup is an old folk tale. I am certain that it has as many versions as there are storytellers. It is a story about cleverness, sharing, and generosity.  Here are the three versions I have.

  • Sapienza, Marilyn. Stone Soup. Illustrated by Hans Wilhelm.  Middletown, CT: Weekly Reader Books, 1986.
  • McGovern, Ann.  Stone Soup.  Illustrated by Winslow Pinney Pels.  New York: Scholastic, 1968, 1986.
  • Brown, Marcia.  Stone Soup. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, renewed 1975.

Marcia Brown’s book is the oldest and perhaps the closest to the original story.  In her story three soldiers are coming home from war.  They wander into a village looking for food and a place to sleep.  Unfortunately the peasants of that town fear strangers.  They hid all the food. They were too afraid to share.

Ann McGovern’s book features a young, poor man who walked and walked. it doesn’t say where he came from or where he is going.  He came upon a little old lady, who had nothing to give him.  She was too frightened to share.

Marilyn Sapeinza’s book features two pigs, Molly & Max.  They too have been traveling.  They are hungry and tired, but the village they happen upon has no food or comfort to give them. Here is what it says about the village in this book: “What Molly and Max didn’t know is that these villagers weren’t kind.  They were stingy and mean.”

Are all these villages suffering from the same hardships as our protagonists (soldiers, young man, pigs)?  No, but no one is willing to share.  They let the tired, hungry travelers think they are suffering from the hardships of hunger, too. In each story, the hungry travelers try to help the villagers by eliminating hunger for all of them by making the intriguing “Stone Soup.”  Imagine what water and clean stones would taste like.  Slowly and with suggestion, everyone contributes something for the soup. In every story, soup fit for a king is made.  Everyone shares more and a great celebration is had! The soldiers, young man and pigs are treated like heroes.  They have a comfy bed to sleep in for the night.  In the morning when they leave their villages, they remind the townfolk to always share stone soup!

Have you ever made stone soup?  I have made stone soup with my children and also a group of preschoolers in story time.  It is a fun activity.  You can have everything ready to go and begin to read the story.  You can let the children help you make the soup and act out the story.   Here’s the recipe from Marilyn Sapeinza’s book.

Heat some water in a pot,
Add some stones you’ve scrubbed a lot.

Sprinkle pepper, salt, and herbs.
Let it boil undistrurbed.

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 its done,
Share stone soup with everyone.

Tell this story to someone you love and help them make stone soup.  You may hear them say, “Soup from a stone. Fancy that!”



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