Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Stone Soup

The fable of Stone Soup is about cooperation amid scarcity.

Two men come to a village with nothing more than an empty pot. They fill it with water and a large stone, and place it over a fire in the village square. Asked what they're doing, they reply that they are making stone soup and request a bit of garnish to improve the flavor. Additional villagers come by, each adding more ingredients. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.


This fable can be thought of "The Emperor's New Clothes" in reverse, where nothing is revealed to be something, after all. The original stone was only a pretext to start the villagers sharing in a way that they would not have considered were it not for the catalyst of the "stone soup" that they thought they were improving.

The Fractint software was written by the "Stone Soup Group", named after this fable. Copyleft endeavours, including Wikipedia, can also be regarded as embodying the stone soup principle.

External links