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  Stone Soup Sunday
After Meeting for Worship on the second Sunday of March, we gather in the Schoolhouse for our monthly Eating Meeting. But this one is special, for it honors the charity Right Sharing of World Resources with a special meal. This meal, based on the folk tale about how a group of soldiers made stone soup, is a simple one--only soup and bread is available. Those who attend bring in pre-cooked ingredients that can be combined together to make a delicious soup. Members of our Hospitality Committee cook up two versions of stone soup---one a tomato-based vegetarian and the other a meat-based soup. Homemade bread complements the soup. We ask all who attend to donate some money to be sent to Right Sharing of World Resources. 


The Complete Story of Stone Soup

Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they’re missing. The villager doesn’t mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which hasn’t reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. Other villagers walk by, adding more ingredients. Finally the travelers have a delicious and nourishing pot of soup to share.

In the Portuguese tradition, the traveler is a monk and the story takes place around Almeirim, Portugal. Nowadays many restaurants in Almeirim serve stone soup, or sopa de pedra. It there’s a capital of stone soup, then Almeirim would be it.

In the French and Hungarian versions of the tale, the travelers become soldiers, returning home from the Napoleonic Wars in the French version (the one our Meeting follows), and a single, starving soldier, who encounters several hardships on his journey back to his homeland, in the Hungarian version.

In Northern European and Scandinavian countries, the soup is most commonly known as nail soup. In these versions of the story, the main character is typically a tramp looking for food and lodgings, who convinces an old woman that he’ll make nail soup for the both of them if she would just add a few ingredients for the garnish. In Eastern Europe variation of the story, the soup is called axe soup, with an axe being the catalyst.

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