A long long time ago , a soldier made the long way home after the war. He was on foot because he did not have a horse and the travel by postcarage was to expensive. He did not have a dime to spent. It was getting dark already when he arrived at a village tired and hungry.

The villagers had seen him coming from a far and were looking at him suspiciously, while he got his duffle bag off his back. He stretched his back and smiled.

A villager stept towards him. If he thought he was going to get something to eat here, he could forget about it. The people were hungry too. The war had also found this village, the crop was stolen en whatever was left they did not even share with eachother.

The soldier still smiled.

No, he did not need food, but if someone just had a cooking pot and water?

The farmer was thinking, he had an old pot that he used to cook food for the pigs before.

The soldier could use that one. The pig was gone anyway and the water well was on the square in the middle of the village.

The soldier cleaned the pot thorougly , filled it with water and put it on a fire made of wood.

When the water was boiling he took a spoon and a shiny grey stone out of his duffle bag, he dropped the stone in the boiling water.

The villagers were looking at him full of surprise when he told them this was a soup stone.. With this soup stone he would make the best soup ever made.

He tasted a little of the soup with the spoon and nodded his head in approval. If he had a little salt, he said, the soup would taste even better. Within seconds someone gave the soldier a little salt. He added it to the content of the pot and tasted again: Delicious! But with a few meat bones it would improve even more. Again someone from the group of villagers brought a few bones that were originally for the dogs.

The soldier said, while he tasted some of the soup again. that some potatoes would make the soup more nourishing and again, someone came and brought a small bucket with potatoes.

With a happy face the soldier said that the soup was very delicious, but with some vegetables…………. From everywhere came village women, one with an onion, the other with two leeks, a cabbage , some carrots.

A delicious smell came from the pot, when a farmer proudly stepped towards the soldier and handed him a small piece of sausage and bacon. He had been hiding that, but he was sure it would taste good in the soup.

That night the whole village ate from the delicious “Stone Soup” and everyone went to bed with a full stomach.

The next morning when the soldier was ready to leave, the villagers asked him if they could have his wonderstone. They never wanted to be hungry again.

The soldier gave them the stone, thanked them for their hospitality and encouraged them to make the soup exactly the way he did.

He took his duffle bag and walked out of the village on his way to his next destination. When out of sight he picked up a smooth, round , grey stone, put it in his pocket and walked along humming.

Author unknown. Taken from the book : “The power of the African way of thinking; About UBUNTU, connected leadership and a new world” by Leontine van Hooft.