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A Stone Soup Tale adapted for solo puppeteer presentation

Here we are at mid-November…a difficult month for some locations…gray sky, rain, bare trees…All the more important to bring that light in other ways.  Lantern walks, candles at supper and bedtime story time…warm the spaces of hearth and heart.  In the USA it is almost Thanksgiving – a time to give thanks for our abundance.  In this spirit consider going to a safe house or shelter for women and children and tell a story, bring a puppet show.  They will welcome you with open arms.

An old traditional story good for Thanksgiving and this season of sharing and giving… is Stone Soup…in it’s many variations in world cultural lore.  Here is a simple adaptation for your use.  

Stone Soup
Adapted for Young Children by Suzanne Down
Makes a good solo puppet show!!!!

 Once upon a time, in a poor village near the mountains, a traveler came to town.  All he had was a small pack with a warm blanket to sleep under, and a round stone.  The traveler had walked all day long and was hungry as can be.  He went to a little cottage that looked friendly and cared for, and knocked on the door.  An old woman opened the door a crack, and peeked out at him.  ‘What is it you want stranger,’ she asked him?  

The traveler told her he had walked many miles and was very hungry.  He asked her if she had any spare food she could share?
The old woman shook her head and said her cupboards were bare…there was nothing, nothing at all, left to eat in her house.

‘Well then,’ said the traveler, ‘join me for some delicious stone soup…all I need is a pot and some water…I will make enough for both of us.’
The old woman looked at him in surprise,… ‘soup from a stone?’ she said…and she was so curious she went and got a big soup pot filled with water.

They made a fire outside and put the pot on it.  The traveler took his round stone from his small pack and carefully placed it in the pot.  He stirred the pot and when it was hot he sniffed it…’Ahhh,’ he said, ‘ it is beginning to smell  good now….oh I can hardly wait.’

The old woman was sitting close watching him with great interest, and she too was getting hungry.. 
“If only we had perhaps an onion, then the soup would be even better!‘  said the traveler.

The old woman thought, ‘I will enjoy this soup too’, and she ran to her cupboard and came back with an onion.  She put it in the soup pot with the stone, and together they sat.  The traveler stirred the pot, and soon the onion smell filled the air.  ‘Ahhh, he said, this soup smells good, I can hardly wait to eat it.  If only we had perhaps a potato, it would be even better.’

The old woman could smell the good onion aroma in the air…She watched the traveler stir the pot sniffing the soup with pleasure.  Her stomach was beginning to growl with hunger.  She ran to the cupboard and came back with 3 potatoes.  “Put these in the soup, it will be even better,’ she told the young man.

And so it went, as the soup cooked on, the young man stirred the soup, and said, ‘Ahhhh this smells so good, it would be even better with…a carrot, a bone for the broth   …    (and anything else you storytellers want to add)….

The old woman watched and smelled the good smells, and kept running to her cupboard to bring back a carrot, a bone for the broth, some salt….until at last the soup was ready!  The old woman and the traveler ate the soup.  It was by far the best soup the old woman had ever eaten.  

When they had had their fill, the traveler said good bye to the old woman and thanked her for the use of her pot.  He took his round stone, put it carefully in his small pack, and went along the path out of the village.   You could hear him whistling on his way.  

The old woman watched him go…”Imagine that,’ she said, smiling to herself, ‘soup from a stone!’


I have enjoyed telling this story many times with table puppets and silk marionettes.  My favorite was in an Anchorage Alaska safehouse – we then made a big box theater and simple paper finger puppets for the children to use in re-telling the story.  The fun of this tale is to have a soup ‘pot’ to put in the puppet stone, carrots, onions, potatoes, even a bone for the broth…  For my puppet show I made them out of felt and had a marionette loop string on them so the puppets could pick them up and put them in the soup pot, while my own hand manipulated them with the string.  The details of the vegetables delights the children.  The sharing makes it taste all the better.

Start a Thanksgiving tradition where you share this story with families and neighbors and put out a food bank basket, your own stone soup pot!!

One of my Puppet for World Change Projects has been Puppets Against Hunger – children performing puppet stories about ways to solve world hunger.
Stone Soup is one of our recommended stories to accompany such a rallying for a poverty center in your area.  


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