A traveler had been walking for many days when he came upon a village. The traveler was hungry and tired, but had nothing to eat, and had no money. What he did have was a cooking pot, and so he set out to make the best of things.
He built a small cooking fire just off the road in the center of town, and put his cooking pot on it. He filled the pot with water.
As he waited for the water to boil, some villagers stopped and asked him what he was doing. “I’m making Stone Soup,” he said. “It’s an ancient and mystical recipe handed down through my family.” Then, he took a round stone out of his pocket and dropped it into the pot.
The traveler started to tell stories of all of the places he had been and the interesting things he had seen. Several villagers stopped to listen to him, and the traveler began to attract a crowd. The traveler kept telling stories, only to stop to taste his soup. “Hmm… coming along nicely,” he said. “A little salt would really help bring out the flavor.” A village woman scurried off to get some salt, curious.
The traveler continued to tell stories, of ships and animals and long distances on the plains. More villagers gathered, and the traveler would only stop to taste the soup. “Delicious… but an onion and a few carrots would really make it perfect.” A villager that had an onion and some carrots to spare ran to his cellar to get them.
The traveler went on with his stories, of kings and battles and secret treasures. Every few minutes he would stop, and taste, and comment. “A piece of beef might really be delicious.” “Perhaps some celery…” Each time a curious villager would run home and come back with a new ingredient.
Finally, the soup was ready. The traveler was gracious enough to share the soup with all of the villagers – a delicious magic soup made only with a stone.