When the fire was going and the water had begun to boil, the man took out a small silk pouch. With great ceremony, he reached in and pulled out a smooth, round stone. He carefully dropped the stone into the boiling water. The villagers watched eagerly. The man began to slowly stir the pot, sniffing the aroma and licking his lips in anticipation. “I do like a tasty stone soup,” he said. “Of course, stone soup with cabbage—now that’s really special.” “I might be able to find a bit of cabbage,” one villager said.
And off she went to her house, returning with a small cabbage she had stored away in her pantry. “Wonderful!” said the man, as he added the cabbage to the pot. After a moment of silence, the village butcher spoke up. “I know where there’s a bit of salted beef,” he said. And off he went to his shop to get it.
“Can you imagine what this soup would taste like if we had a bit of onion…and perhaps a few potatoes…and a carrot or two…and some mushrooms. Oh, this would be a meal fit for royalty.”
And before he knew it, the soup pot was filled to the brim with vegetables of all kinds— carrots and potatoes, mushrooms and onions, turnips and green beans, beets and celery—all brought by the men and women and children of the village.
Not only that, but the village baker came out with some fresh bread and butter. And as the soup simmered slowly over the fire, the wonderful aroma began to waft over the villagers. And they began to relax and talk together, sharing songs and stories and jokes. When the soup was finally done, the man ladled it out into bowls, and they all shared a delicious meal together.
There was more than enough for everyone to eat their fill. Afterward, they all declared that it was the best soup they had every tasted. The next morning, he and Bo woke early and packed up his belongings. As they were leaving the village, they passed by a group of children playing at the side of the road. The man handed the youngest one the silk pouch containing the stone, and he whispered, “It was not the stone that performed the magic. It was all of us together!”