What Is The Purpose Of The Stone In Stone Soup?

As I pulled my stone from the box, the children gasped with excitement. The magic is in the anticipation, the group energy, the shared curiosity. They had to guess where it had come from, and why it was in the box. It was a pleasant change from their usual worksheets, powerpoints and tight schedules.

The stone was very dull, boring grey, and rather chipped.

But the stone had a story; it had the traditional tale of “stone soup”, which I’d blended from the many versions I’d found online.

I like to make these stories up a bit (sometimes quite a bit). It gets the kids so much more excited and engaged when they are part of the telling of it, too.

The story goes something like this…

An old couple in an old cart, pulled along by an old horse, arrive at a dusty little village in the middle of nowhere.

It had been a long and tiring journey across the dusty plain. The couple were looking forward to getting something for them and their horse to eat and to drink. And somewhere to rest all of their weary bones, too.

But they were rudely shooed away.

“We haven’t got enough for you. Go away. Scat. Get out of town,” the villagers cried.

The old man saw the look in the villagers eyes. He knew that look. The look of despair. They didn’t stop.

The couple traveled on until they got to the edge of the village, where they stopped by the side of the road.

The old man set up camp, while his wife lit a fire under a big pot of water. And when the water reached boiling point, the old man carefully added three stones into the simmering liquid.

“What are you making?” asked the farmer who happened to be passing by.

“Stone soup,” he replied.

News travelled about the stone soup. A crowd soon gathered.

“It might be even better with a carrot,” suggested a small impatient boy.

“Indeed!” said the couple.

A villager went and pulled a bunch of carrots from their garden, chopped them up, and popped them into the pot.

The crowd got bigger and more curious.

“What about a potato?” someone shouted.

“I’ll go get one,” shouted someone else.

“And I’ve got a left-over ham-bone and a few scraps”, someone else piped up.

And so it continued.

The more the crowd sniffed the magic stone soup, the hungrier they all got.

And the hungrier they got, and the better the soup smelled, the more they found to add to it.

The old man said this was probably the best stone soup he’d ever made. “But something is missing. It needs something else to make it perfect”.

The villagers sniffed the soup and scratched their heads.

“What else could be missing?” they asked.

They searched through their cupboards and popped more offerings into the pot.


Eventually, when they couldn’t improve the stone soup anymore, the old man and his wife asked them all to sit down in a circle around the pot, each with a bowl at the ready.

The old man was right. It was the best soup they’d ever tasted. And here was enough for the whole village and the old couple. Someone even found some oats for their horse.

They finished every last drop. They sat around the fire sharing stories with the old man and his wife.

Yes, they’d been tricked. However, there was indeed enough to go round.

I hope this tale taught you that too.

Yes. There is enough for everyone when we all share.

With that, I popped the chipped (but now not quite so boring) stone back into my “What Box”, ready to be added my “Wisdom of Children” e-book.

And finally…..

You might like to make some real soup.

Here is a blog called “How To Make Chicken Stock From Scratch” which I wrote a few years back.

Also, why not tune into my monthly Random Dialogues “Stand Up & Speak For Yourself” online event.

This is a lively monthly event with up to six speakers, each giving a five-minute talk (on whatever they want to talk about), followed by questions from the audience.

We all need to be heard, to be listened to, and be part of something. Random Dialogues is a pot of water with three stones in it. And when we gather together to add our stories, our questions, and our presence, together we cook up a deliciously satisfying soup of human togetherness.

These events create connections, build community, and boost resilience. But most of all it’s a bonding experience. And we can all certainly do with more of that right now.

Come along and join us, either in the audience or live on stage.

Most of our speakers have never spoken before, so it’s a great opportunity to give it a go.

You’ll be surprised how well you say what you have to say, when you say it from your heart.

What people have been saying about Random Dialogues:

“Random Dialogues is a modern-day self-help movement to encourage people to find and share their voice. And it’s fun too.” Ian Moncrieff MacMillan

“A melting pot of alternative approaches to life, all trying to mould things that will be useful to others for a very long time” Edward Hoare

“I can honestly say that Random Dialogues exposes me to much wider subjects for my brain that I’m not engaged in in any other part of my life. It’s a big expansion for me!” Sue Sanderman

Find more about Random Dialogues here 👉https://bit.ly/randomdialogues

And as always, it’s good to have you here. Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it.

Jane Tyson

This was Episode 26: What Is The Purpose of The Stone In Stone Soup?

A playful exploration of mums as agents of change Also on Instagram @mum_coach https://sites.google.com/view/mumcoach/welcome

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store