Making Stone Soup – A CCC Tradition

The Prep Table
Stirring the Pot
For those new to the CCC community, you may have heard mention of Stone Soup as the weather gets cooler, likely with an air of breathless anticipation, regardless of whether the speaker is 5 or 35 years old. Stone soup is a favorite tradition at CCC, usually beginning with a reading of the familiar tale and ending with a Stone Soup feast for lunch or minimeal.  I hadn’t heard the story since childhood, and I was pleased to be reminded of the basic traditional story.  I was also excited to find an altered version in Scholastic Bookclub
last year, set in China and featuring Buddhist monks, written by Jon J. Muth. Muth is a particular favorite author and illustrator at our house, and it was fun to compare the
storylines.  The following version is by Marcia Brown, set in France in the 1700s:

Three soldiers were traveling home. They were very tired and very hungry. They had not eaten in three days. As they came upon a village, the townsfolk worried the soldiers would eat everything they had, so they quickly hid all their vegetables, meats and grain. As the soldiers went from house to house looking for food and lodging, they were turned away. The villages repeatedly told them there was nothing to be had. By the time the soldiers made it to the
center of town, everyone had turned them down. One of the soldiers cried out, “Since there is no food, I will have to make Stone Soup. I will need a large pot, fire and water.” Some of the villagers took an interest in this announcement and help get the pot of water heated. The elders of the village ask “What magic is this? Soup from Stones?” As the soldiers began to stir the soup, they suggest that maybe the soup might taste better if they had some salt and pepper. Off runs a woman who comes back with salt and pepper. The soldiers then say, “Stones like these generally make good soup, but if there were some carrots it would be so much better.” One by the one the villagers run home to collect the food they denied the soldiers earlier. After the soup is complete, the villagers and soldiers sit at a large table to share the soup. Soon bread, meat and drink arrived creating a feast fit for a king. Singing and dancing became part of the evening as the villagers celebrated their new knowledge of stone soup. Our tale ends as the soldiers ask to sleep in a hay loft. The villagers are aghast. “A hayloft? Not for such wise men. They shall have the best beds in the town!”

By Melissa Dubois — Reprinted from the CCC November 2011 Newsletter