Prose
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 

 

Stone Soup

There once was an old woman who was so poor, she had nothing but the clothes on her back, and a battered cooking pot.

One afternoon, her feet aching mercilessly, her stomach a shrunken knot, she stopped by the side of the road. The old woman hadn't
a clue what to do next. Her long life seemed to be over.

On impulse, she filled her pot with water from a nearby stream, and kindled a fire. When the pot began to boil, she laughed at her own
stupidity.

"My final meal will be boiled water," she cackled to herself. Then she looked down and saw a round stone by her feet. Delirious with
hunger, she bent over, picked up the stone, and dropped it into the pot.

"Now I've got something to cook," she said to herself sarcastically.

A man passed by on the road. He stopped and looked at the boiling pot. "What are you making?" he asked.

"Stone Soup," the old woman muttered. She felt a zany inspiration rise up in her. "It's an old family recipe. Much the best that you've ever tasted."

The man was intrigued. "If I wait here, can I have some of the stone soup when it's ready?"

The old woman chuckled to herself. She made an elaborate show of sampling a taste. "It's not quite perfect yet. Needs a little salt
for seasoning."

As it turned out, the passer-by had some salt in a small bag in his coat pocket. He poured some of the salt into the stone soup.

Then a farmer's wife came up the road, carrying a bulky sack of potatoes. "What's cooking?" she sang out.

"Stone soup," said the old woman. "It's a recipe passed down in our family from my great-grandmother." The old woman dipped in a spoon, tasted the soup, and smiled."It's good," she said, "But it wants some thickening."

The farmer's wife was glad to pitch in some of her potatoes. Silently,the three strangers watched the pot boil.

And so it went! A butcher passed by in a stained apron, carrying some lamb shanks he had been unable to sell at the market. He,
too, inquired about the soup. When he learned that the soup was mostly vegetables, the butcher received permission to add his lamb
shanks to the boiling pot. In a few moments, the soup had some meat on its bones.

A delicious smell rose into the air, and attracted even more passers-by.

"What, you're not using celery or carrots?" asked one man. "Here, have some of mine, fresh from the garden."

Finally, the soup was ready, and the improbable feast was doled out to each person in the crowd. They all agreed it was the best soup they'd ever tasted. Each of them begged the old woman for the recipe.

She patted her full stomach, and shook her head slowly and gently. "All I will say is that you must start with a secret ingredient, a magic stone."

The moral of this story? For me, It's a reminder that if you start a project from scratch, and appear to be creating something
appealingly different, resources will often appear out of the blue.

The key elements are confidence, spontaneity, a sense of humor, and a willingness to share your bounty with others.

Some of you know exactly what I mean. You've survived your own Dark Night of the Soul, and created enduring monuments out of little more than a magic stone and a deep need. It's something we all can do, if we let our intuition guide us. Never forget that your intentions have infinite organizing power.

Blessings,

Owen