《石头汤》这个经典的故事现在已经有很多版本,每个版本都有其它特殊的含义。我从中找了我最喜欢,或者说我最有感触的两个版本。

Stone Soup

第一个版本:

 一个暴风雨的日子,有一个穷人到富人家讨饭。”滚开!”仆人说,”不要来打搅我们。”穷人说,”只要让我进去,在你们 的火炉上烤干衣服就行了。”仆人以为这不需要花费什么,就让他进去了。这个可怜人,这时请求厨娘给他一个小锅,以便他”煮石头汤喝”。”石头汤?”厨娘说:”我想看看你怎样用石头做成汤。”于是她就答应了。穷人于是到路上拣了块石头洗净后放在锅里煮。”可是,你总得放点盐吧。”厨娘说,她得给他一些盐,后来又给了豌豆,薄荷,香菜。最后,又把能收拾到的碎肉末都放在汤里。当然,你也许能猜到,这个可怜人后来把石头捞出来扔回路上。美美地喝了一锅肉汤.如果这个穷人对仆人说:”行行好吧!请给我一锅肉汤。”会有什么结果呢?

这个故事给我的第一印象是:哇,这个穷人很有智慧,另辟溪径,一步一步地将原本不可能的事情变成可能。把这个道理运用到我们日常生活中,最简单最直接想到的就是“把一个大目标分成几个小目标,一步一个脚印,再大再难的目标也有可能实现”。

Version Two:

A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village.  As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows.

The stranger smiled and asked, why are you all so frightened.  I am a simple traveler, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal.

“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “We are weak and our children are starving.  Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his cloak, filled it with water, and began to build a fire under it.

Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a silken bag and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows. As the stranger sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their fear.

“Ahh,” the stranger said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”

Soon a villager 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 salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share.

The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day. 

As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road.  He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to a group, It was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed the magic.”

Moral:  By working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.

I read the version two just now and was impressed by the moral given by the material I referred to. (Click here to view the original resource.) It is another kind of wisdom, though the two stories are quite the same. It is about the art of management here. The stranger, managed all viliagers before they realized it and produced the largest output.

Both of the Stone Soup are inspiring. It teaches me that there is always a way to make things happen, and “Impossible is Nothing”. When you cannot achieve something by going straight, turn around and go the other way to make it happen!

Keep thinking and thinking creatively!

Jeff

23 July, 2007

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