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The Original Rock Soup

     Once upon a time two drifters, a bear and a fox wandered into a small, peaceful farming village on the edge of the great forest. They were quite hungry. Along with their meager belongings was a rock the size of a lemon tied carefully to a long string. They were quickly approached by curious residents who appeared a bit suspicious of the two.

     “Greetings from far away across the planet,” said the fox

     “Your village was chosen as our destination because it is among the most beautiful,” smiled the bear.

     The village listened skeptically.

     “And we are quite hungry,” said the fox, “but we have no gold to pay.”

     “What about the magic rock,” whispered the bear to the fox just loud enough so that he could be overheard by those closest to him.     

     “A magic rock!” perked one resident. “What is a magic rock?”

     The fox looked at the bear in disdain.

     “I guess our secret’s out,” he said. “We might as well tell them now…”

     “We are alchemists in possession of a magic rock which can make delicious soup!” explained the bear sheepishly. “We cannot use it often for fear that it will lose its power therefore…”

     He held the rock protectively in his hand, dangling it partially on the string, exposing just enough of it to encourage their interests.

     “…Therefore we invite you to dinner!” blurted the fox to the surprise of even the bear.

     The villagers were perplexed but anxious to experience the wonders of this rock.

     “What can we do?” they asked, returning to trust.

     “Well. first we need a large pot of water and…”

     Before he had time to complete his sentence a large pot appeared. A fire was started and the pot placed above it. The fox and bear stirred the water, enriching the village with delicious chatter as to the fine meal that they would eat. They carefully placed the rock, on the string into the pot of water and waited. Then the fox frowned.

     “What is the matter, friend,” asked a villager. “Why do you frown, sir?”

     “Oh, it’s nothing,” interrupted the bear. “He’s just sad because the soup might be so much better with just a bit of garlic.

     In no time another hungry village resident was back with a clove or garlic. The fox threw it into the pot and continued to stir. Now it was the bear who dropped his shoulders and said:

     “If we only had an onion or two…Remember the soup in the mountains? It was the best and only for the onions.”

     Quickly onions were produced without question by another of the now mesmerized villagers. The onions were cut up and deposited in the pot. The bear and fox smiled and stirred.

     “I have a bushel of carrots,” offered one resident. “Would you like some of my carrots for the soup?” he asked.

     The fox and bear looked at each other without cracking so much as a smile.

     “That would be a great idea, my friend,” said the fox.

     When the carrots were added the bear mumbled something about celery and it too appeared as if from thin air.

     Then the sheriff appeared and after a few shaky moments,  under the eye of the law, a bag of potatoes was delivered.

     “I’m going to get my wife,” said the sheriff. “She won’t want to miss this.”

     “Ask her to bring some tomatoes,” pushed the bear earning a dirty look from the fox.

     “Don’t overdo it,” he said. “We’re almost there.”

     The bear and fox took turns stirring and exhorting the crowd that has assembled in the center of the village. The aroma of the soup was now enticing.

     Then the sheriff returned with his wife and the tomatoes.

     “I brought along these roasts too,” he offered. “I hope everyone will enjoy them.

     Quickly the bear plopped the meat into the soup which was by now thickening like a stew. The fox stirred and stirred watching as the villagers produced nectar, spices and rolls. After another hour he announced:

     “Dinner is served!”

     The soup was ladled out and everyone had a large portion, especially the fox and the bear who had three bowls each. When all of the soup was gone the villagers began to clean up the mess. Then, just as everyone had reclined for a digestive evening someone remarked:

     “Where are our friends the fox and the bear?”

     “Have they left without saying good-bye?”

     “I am surprised at the rudeness…They would not have just left in the dark…”

     After a thorough search was conducted it became apparent that the two had retreated back into the forest.

     “Odd.” said the villagers.

     “That’s nothing,” said one small resident. “Look. They even left their magic rock behind.”