One day three soldiers tramped along
Homeward from the wars.
They were brave and valiant men,
But now they were quite poor.
I wish I had a bite to eat.
I wish I had some bread, and more.
If wishes were horses, we would ride,
And our feet would not be sore!
The land was empty round about
And so they marched along,
But then one fellow ran ahead –
For he could see a town!
In the town some children,
Who were playing by the wall,
Had seen them too, and ran to tell
The news to one and all.
Oh, heavens! Soldiers coming here?
Whatever shall we say?
What do they want? What shall we do?
I hope they will not stay!
Soldiers are always hungry,
That much we know is true.
I will hide away my flour,
My meat and carrots, too!
We never have enough to eat.
How ever will we share?
Quick, hide it all! Hide every crumb;
We’ll say the cupboard’s bare.
The villagers all stirred about,
Then waited breathlessly
Till the soldier who was nearest bowed
And spoke most courteously.
Good evening, my good people all!
We’re soldiers, as you see.
We’ve walked – I don’t know how far,
And we’re hungry as can be!
We hope you’ll spare a crust of bread,
Or perhaps a bed somewhere.
A sip of ale would go down well,
If you have some to spare.
My friends, this town has harvested
A most unfortunate yield.
The rains have spoiled all our crops –
Our wheat rotted in the field!
Our children are all hungry;
To do without we must.
If the King himself were to pass by,
He’d get no more from us!
Greetings to you good folk,
You seem prosperous and good.
I pray you, spare a pile of hay,
A blanket and some food!
My friends, you’ve come to visit
A most unfortunate town.
We’ve had no rain for ages
And our wheat has all turned brown!
The apples withered on the trees,
The well has gone quite dry.
We’ve got no ale to quench your thirst –
You may ask the Good Lord why.
Some soldiers came before you.
To them we gave our last.
We’ve got no more even for ourselves.
Now we all have got to fast.
We’ve got no beds to give you;
Our beds are all full.
I’ve given my last grain to my cows.
My sheep have got no wool!
My father, he is old and sick;
What I’ve got I keep for him.
We stand here every day, and watch
Each other getting thin.
Lieutenant, I am so hungry!
Men, I am starving, too!
I think it’s time to make Stone Soup,
You each know what to do.
Good folk, it seems that we’ve been sent
To help you in your need.
We shall invite you to a feast
Where everyone may feed.
We’ll make Stone Soup!
Now, that’s something to see!
If we could just make soup from stones,
We could all live at ease!
The villagers ran to fetch a pot,
The largest they could find.
They ran to fetch the water,
And it filled in record time.
Three clean, smooth stones, the soldiers said,
And dropped them in, one by one.
And now a fire, good and hot
To cook them till they’re done!
The Captain began to stir the pot
For hours, so it seemed.
He tasted it, and nodded once,
Some pepper, if you please.
These stones make a delicious soup,
You know, but how I wish –
If only we had some carrots, now,
Or perhaps a bit of fish.
I think I have a carrot or two!
I know I have got some!
I’ll just run home and get them
Before the soup is done.
Do you think potatoes might be nice?
The very thing, my girl!
But if only we had some cabbage,
T’would be the best soup in the world.
Martha, you have got some
In the bag behind your door!
I saw it there just yesterday
When you came back from the store!
Why, so I have, and you’ve got flour,
I know, to make it thick.
What would be good, is a bit of cream,
Now that would do the trick.
The soup was almost ready,
And the people were amazed,
And quickly they set tables out
And had the places laid.
The soup smelled so good
And all from stones!
And in so short a time!
But shouldn’t we have bread with it?
And how about some wine?
The villagers ran to their homes
To fetch everything.
And such a feast they had that night,
They made the rafters ring.
They danced quite late into the night
And, oh, such fun they had,
But, at last, the soldiers asked again
If they could have a bed.
Such wise and splendid gentlemen
As you sleep in the cold?
I am the mayor – I’ll put you up,
If I may be so bold!
The soldiers left the following day,
Everyone waved farewell;
But first each had asked for the recipe
And swore they would not tell.
It’s simple, you just take three stones.
For the rest, add what you will.
Add a pinch of generosity,
And all will eat their fill.