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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Stone Soup

We’re having a Stone Soup party at church this weekend. I’m really looking forward to it.  The menu is simple:  Stone Soup, bread, apple pie, and cheddar cheese.  Everyone is bringing something --- I’m just responsible to keep the broth boiling.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story of Stone Soup, here’s Wikipedia’s version of it: 

A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows. The stranger smiled and asked, why are you all so frightened. I am a simple traveler, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal. "There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," he was told. "We are weak and our children are starving. Better keep moving on." "Oh, I have everything I need," he said. "In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." He pulled an iron cauldron from his cloak, filled it with water, and began to build a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a silken bag and dropped it into the water. By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows. As the stranger sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their fear. "Ahh," the stranger said to himself rather loudly, "I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage -- that's hard to beat." Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he'd retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. "Wonderful!!" cried the stranger. "You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king." The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share. The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day. As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road. He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to a group, that it was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed the magic."

As we thought about starting the season of harvest and Thanksgiving, this seemed to express the sentiments well.  We each bring the little we have, and together we can produce something wonderful and nourishing (for the body or the soul) 
Each person coming to the party is bringing something --- we won’t know what until they get there.  A carrot, a potato, some leeks, a few green beans.  Add it all to the boiling broth and bouquet garni and we should have a glorious vegetable soup to share.