A Woman's Voice

STONE SOUP ~ February 14, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte


Right about now I want to go back to my storytelling ways. One of the stories I want to share with you comes from a second grade reader that was used when I taught school many years ago.  It’s called Stone Soup.   The reason this story has come to mind so many times over the years is because of a somewhat embarrassing situation that took place.  After I left teaching and when I was employed by a major bank, I was asked to give my opinion on a certain topic being discussed at a meeting.  I was actually stunned to be called upon to put in my two cents worth and I was almost dumbstruck.   Finding myself in this awkward situation was totally new to me and my resources were very limited as far as the business world was concerned.

The first thing that popped into my head came from a second grade reader. The fact that we were discussing the roles of individuals within the financial institution seemed to give new relevance to this particular story.  This was a story or fairytale that took place during extremely difficult times.  Perhaps some of you remember it.  For those of you that don’t, please let me tell you a bit about it.  According to this “once upon a time” story which took place many years ago, there was much poverty and very little to eat. In essence, the people were all nearly starving to death. There were many small towns scattered about and the towns people were at their wit’s end in trying to just survive. 

One day a stranger came to town and right in the middle of the town square, he proceeded to light a fire.  Out of curiosity, several of the local folks gathered around and asked him what he was doing.  He decided to tell them that he was making “stone soup” when in reality he was actually starving just like them.  Most of them jeered and laughed at him because they all knew that there was no such thing as “stone soup” but the stranger insisted that there was indeed a fine recipe.  After he lit the fire, he continued to stoke it.  When it was big and hot enough, he got a large metal container and filled it with water.  He put it over the fire and added a few stones to it and watched the water start to boil.  More and more people gathered to watch this man and observe his foolishness.  After the water was boiling at full force he asked the large group that had now gathered if any one of them happened to have a tasty onion to add to this “stone soup” recipe of his.  Sure enough one person happened to have his request.  He them asked if anyone else happened to have a bone or two that could enhance his recipe.  Sure enough, some one did.  Before you know it, they were others who were standing around that had a few other ingredients to add to this stranger’s recipe for “stone soup”.  After adding all that the town folks had to offer, he ended up with quite a tasty pot of soup.  He then ladled it out for all to enjoy.  In this story, the stranger had nothing to offer except a good idea when he walked into that poverty-stricken town.  Not one of them could make a meal with what each had, but by combining what they had together they could make a delicious soup that could be shared by all.

Therefore, I sat around that corporate table for the very first time in my life and related this story.  I explained to those in attendance that we all have something to offer in this huge institution but we all need to work together to make it happen.  The employees at the bottom of any pyramidal structure have something vital to offer to enhance the success of any business just like the employees in the middle or at the top.  I felt that in order to promote the new philosophy that we were discussing at this particular meeting, we would be wise to remember the moral of this particular story.  It’s about recognizing and acknowledging what each of us has to offer and working together for the greater good. My supervisor, the one who asked me what I thought in the first place, was impressed enough with this story that at a future meeting in another boardroom she put me on the spot once again.  She asked me to repeat it to this level of management and I did.  We tried to make a small difference in the way that people think. I have a sneaking suspicion that we touched a few lives in our own way. I sure hope we did!



6 Responses to 'STONE SOUP ~ February 14, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Mary Haskett said,

    A lovely story with a message for all of us to take to heart.

    • Thanks so much Mary…I am very grateful for your comment and your continued support. Blessing to you and yours.

  2. hope_rising said,

    Miss D!

    Great story and so so true. I have heard that story before, I can’t really remember where, but somehow I think my grandfather told me. It has been years and years though, if not for your article I would never have thought of it.

    The moral of the story is so so true. We are so much more relevant when we are a part of a whole. Even more so, when we acknowledge that without doing our part, the whole is not complete.

    LLL from HTH !

    great post!

    • Hope,
      You are making my day with all your “catching up” on my posts and the encouraging comments that you are leaving behind. I agree that “Stone Soup” is a great story and I’m pleased to hear that your grandfather shared it with you so many years ago.
      HTH from LLL

  3. Arlene said,

    I’ve read this story a few times already, but it never fails to amaze me over and over again. I believe you did touch lives through it.

    Btw, I’m visiting through Blog Farm. I’m glad I read your blog. God bless!

    • Arlene,
      Thanks for your comments and welcome to a fellow member of the Blog Farm. I appreciate your visit! God bless you and yours.

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