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Stone Soup
The Children's Own Readers - Book Three
by Mary E. Pennell and Alice M. Cusack, Illustrated by Maurice Day and Harold Sichel
Boston: Ginn and Company 1929


     One cold, rainy night an old man was walking along a road. He was wet and hungry, for he had walked a long way. All at once he saw a light ahead. Soon he came to a house by the side of the road. The old man went to the back door and asked the cook for something to eat.
     "Go away," said the cook. "I have nothing for you."
     "May I not come in and dry myself by the fire?" asked the old man. "I am wet and shivering with the cold."
     "You may sit by the fire, but you must not get in my way," said the cook.
     "Thank you," said the old man.
     Soon he was dry and warm, but he


was still very hungry. How was he to get food? He thought and thought. At last he said, "I am a good cook myself. I can make the best kind of soup. It is very cheap, too. It is stone soup."
     "Stone soup!" cried the cook. "Who ever heard of stone soup? How do you make it?"
     "Allow me to show you how," said the old man. "Just let me have a pot with some water in it."
     "I should like to know how to make stone soup," said the cook to herself. "It is something poor people should know." So she gave him a pot with some water in it.
     "The old man put the pot on the fire. Then he took a clean white stone out of his pocket and put it into the

pot. When the water was hot the old man tasted it and said, "This is going to be fine stone soup. But it would be a little better if I had a small piece of meat to put into it."

     "I think I have some," said the cook. She got the meat and gave him a piece. 
     The old man put this into the pot, and began stirring again while the cook sat staring now at him and now at the pot.
     By and by the old man tasted the soup again. "This soup is certainly good," he said. "If I had only some potatoes to put in, it would be fit for fine people."
     "Well, I think I have a few potatoes," said the cook. She got two potatoes, and gave these to the old man. He went on stirring while she sat and stared as hard as ever.
     Soon the old man tasted the soup again and said, "This soup will be grand enough for the best in the land."
     "Well, I never!" said the cook, "and all with a stone."
     "If I had only a little butter and a drop of milk to put in, we could ask the king himself to have some of it."
     "I think I have a little butter," said the cook, "and I have a pitcher of milk."
     Then she went and brought both the butter and the milk. The old man put them into the soup and went on stirring while the cook sat staring harder than ever.
     Now the soup was done. The old man took out the stone and put it back into his pocket. He gave a bowl of soup to the cook and took one for himself.
     Never had the cook tasted such soup, and all made with a stone! She did not know how to thank the old man who had taught her so much.
     By this time the rain had stopped and the moon was shining brightly. "I must

be going now," said the old man. "Thank you very much, kind cook. I think you now know how to make stone soup." And away down the road he went humming a happy song.

An Irish Story