Stone Soup

or St. Bernard's Soup. A beggar asked alms at a lordly mansion, but was told by the servants they had nothing to give him. “Sorry for it,” said the man, “but will you let me boil a little water to make some soup of this stone?” This was so novel a proceeding, that the curiosity of the servants was aroused, and the man was readily furnished with saucepan, water, and a spoon. In he popped the stone, and begged for a little salt and pepper for flavouring. Stirring the water and tasting it, he said it would be the better for any fragments of meat and vegetables they might happen to have. These were supplied, and ultimately he asked for a little catsup or other sauce. When fully boiled and fit, each of the servants tested it, and declared that stone soup was excellent. (La soupe au caillou.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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