Harvest time & the story of Stone Soup


A week or so ago we spent the last weekend of the school holidays camping in Northumberland, long into the evening and even under moonlight the combine harvesters were hard at work bringing in the wheat harvest …. clearly the summer is over and we begin to look towards Autumn and the dark nights of winter time. This time of year though we traditionally, and rightly celebrate the harvest, of course with our food coming nowadays from across the globe harvest no longer has the same sense of season to many people that it used to – however, it is still important to remember and celebrate that all our food is grown and harvested somewhere by someone.Ultimately as a person of Christian faith I also thank God for the abundance of what the earth can produce – but also reflect on the unfair ways in we as humans share in that abundance.

The bible tells a story of how Jesus gives a message about abundance and fair distribution with loaves and fishes (Mark 6.30-44) but this week a friend shared another story about sharing the harvest with me, here it is:

“There was once a group of travellers who passed through a city, much like this.

Tired and hungry, they knocked on doors asking for food. Times were hard, and no one had any food to spare. At last, the group settled in a garden in the middle of the city and began to boil water over a fire. They added some herbs to the water and the scent drew people from streets all around.

In front of the gathering crowd, one of the travellers pulled a stone from his coat and placed it carefully in the cauldron.
Well’ he pronounced loudly, ‘I do love stone soup. But stone soup with cabbage…that’s hard to beat.’

Soon a man approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot.

“Wonderful!!” cried the stranger. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of onion as well, and it was fit for a king.”

An onion was promptly found, and soon, carrots, broccoli, peas and cauliflowers came forward from every household to add to the soup.

At last, the cauldron was brimming with food – enough to feed all the people gathered.

And that is the story of stone soup.”

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