This is more of an interactive storytelling thing that is a fun way to produce the communal meal at any gathering, especially while camping at a festival. It gets the kids involved and teaches a valuable lesson.

Materials:
A large cauldron or dutch oven placed over the fire and filled with water
A fist sized stone, well washed
A cutting board and knife

Each participant should bring something edible to the circle, the following items are suitable:
Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, Parsnips, Turnips, Spinach, dried herbs and spices, salt, pepper, bell pepper, jerusalem artichokes, yams, cabbagei, bok choy, collard greens, celery, canned beans, rice, barley. If there are no vegetarians present, then meat can also be brought. Flour for dumplings may also be appropriate.

One person should play the fool, who we call Jack and should act out as the storyteller narrates.
Obviously, we also need a storyteller.

Once upon a time a man named Jack was wandering the world in search of his fortune. There came a time though that he had quite run out of money and provisions and he was in a part of the world where he knew not a soul. Alli the had was a traveling sack with a cooking pot and a spoon in it and a belt with good sharp knife in a sheath at his side. He lived for awhile nibbling on wild herbs and berries until one day he came to a quiet little village and decided he would see what luck he could find there.

As he approached the village, he met a young man tending some rather skinny and sickly looking goats.

He approached the man with as pleasant a smile as he could muster, and said as politely as he knew how, “Excuse me sir, I am a traveler who is very hungry, but very strong. I would be pleased to work for you in any capacity, in exchange for a little food.”

But the young man shook his head. “I am sorry sir, but it has been a dry year. My goats are starving and my children went to bed hungry last night. What I have nothing that I can share.”

And so Jack went on.

Soon he came to a field where several men and women were working to harvest vegetables from some rather wilted plants. He smiled as pleasant a smile as he could muster and said as politely as he could “Excuse me good people! I am a poor traveler seeking work in foreign parts where I know not a soul. My back is strong and I can help you. All I ask in payment is a little bit of food.”
But the people replied, “We are sorry, but it has been a dry year. Our crops are thirsty and our children went to bed hungry last night. We have nothing that we can share.”

And so Jack went on into the village. He asked several people for work, but they all replied the same. That it had been a dry year and they had nothing they could share.

Finally, Jack came to the village well and there he built himself a little fire and laid down next to it to sleep. Soon a young girl came to draw water for her family. Jack smiled at her as pleasant a smile as he could muster and said to her as politely as he knew how, “Young lady, I am but a weary traveler setting up camp for the night. Would you be so kind as to draw me some water to fill my cooking pot that I may make myself a meal?”

The young girl looked around, “There is little water left in the well and my mother and father would be angry if I gave it away to a stranger.”

“Just to fill my cooking pot so that I can make a soup. I will share what I make with anyone who wants it. I promise.” Said Jack.

And so the little girl filled his cooking pot and looked on curiously as Jack took a round stone out of his pocket. “I have been saving this.” He told her as he carefully cleaned it off and then dropped it into the pot.

The little girl was surprised, “You can't make soup out of a stone.” She told him.

“Oh yes I can.” he said. “I do all the time. Of course, it is better with some potatoes, or some carrots, but I am told there is none to be had in all the land.”

The little girl took her bucket and went home and told her parents about the strange traveler and his stone soup and that he had promised to share it with everyone.

So her parents went to see Jack and on their way they told everyone they met where they were going so that soon they had quite a crowd and they said to him, “What is this? You have tricked a little girl and made a promise to share when you have nothing to share.”

“That's not true.” Said Jack, “The soup is coming along nicely.”

“You can't make soup out of a stone.” Her parents told him.

“It is true it would be better with a bit of salt, but it is good as it is as well.”
(At this point the storyteller should fit the story to the things people have brought. If someone has brought some rice, say rice, potatoes, etc. and so on.)

And one person in the crowd said, “I do have a bit of salt.” And Jack smiled at him so pleasantly that he hurried off to get it.

When he'd sprinkled the salt into the soup, he tasted it and said, “Ah yes. Delicious. It'll be ready soon.”
And the people said, “Pah. It's nothing but water and salt.”

“Oh no,” He insisted. “It is quite delicious and nutritious. It is better with a bit of rice or barley, but it's good as it is as well.”

And someone else in the crowd said, “I have a bit of barley at home.” and rushed off to get it.

And Jack said, “Better and better! Carrots and potatoes are good in it as well.” and soon more people were scurrying off to fetch the potatoes and carrots they had hidden away at home.

“An onion would be fabulous”

(Go on this way. The storyteller should have Jack call out for things people have with them and the people should say “I have that” Or whatever and then Jack should cut them up and put them in the soup.)

Soon the smell of the soup filled the whole village and everyone gathered round. After awhile Jack declared the soup done and told everyone to bring a bowl. He filled each of their bowls with his spoon and saved some for himself and nobody went to bed hungry that night.

(You will need to find a way to pass the time while the soup cooks. You could do some chanting or play some outdoor games. When the soup is ready. Eat it!)

(8/1/10)

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