also stem from an oral tradition, passed down by the ‘folk’ who told them. The term ‘folktale’ is often used interchangeably with fable, since folktales can have a lesson at the end. Folktales are different from fables because they feature people as their main characters, but often with a twist. For example, stories like ‘Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox’ and the American cowboy Pecos Bill lassoing a tornado, show people and animals performing amazing feats of strength. Just as there are folk in every country, every country has its own folktales. Sometimes, countries as far apart as China and France can have very similar traditional tales. The story of ‘Stone Soup’, for example, is one told all over the world.

A common version of ‘Stone Soup’ begins with three soldiers, hungry and tired, entering a village. The villagers are greedy, not looking to share their food, but the strangers are smart. They put large stones in a pot to boil in the town square, and the villagers stop by one-by-one to ask what they are making.

Soon, each villager is convinced to add an onion or some carrots or a handful of beans to the ‘stone soup’. At the story’s end, a delicious feast is enjoyed by the entire village, brought together by strangers. Found in different countries across the world, the folktale of ‘Stone Soup’ serves as a reminder to people to work together, share their resources and show hospitality to the needy among them.


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