Chena River viewed from downtown Fairbanks, AlaskaThe Chena River, as viewed from downtown Fairbanks, Alaska.

The following is a tale adapted from an old folk legend handed down from times long ago...

Two travelers, hungry and tired from a long day's journey, come to a small, unique, frontier town where they decide to rest by the side of the road. One of the travelers builds a small fire, upon which he place a large pot. The other fellow fills the pot with water drawn from the Fox spring on their way past. He carefully removes a stone picked up along the Chena and places it in the vessel. As the two men sit by the fire, gazing up at the midnight sun and swatting mosquitoes, their pot begins to boil. Soon the local townspeople became inquisitive of the curios antics of these strangers. Eventually, several of them decide to investigate the matter and approach the two travelers to engage them in conversation.

Shortly thereafter, there is heard the sound of merriment, as the visitor, who turn out to be quite friendly, share with the townsfolk their tales of the land and people they have met "Outside" on their journey.

Finally a young boy ask the travelers, "But why, pray tell, are you boiling a stone?"

One of the men replies, "So we may eat stone soup."

"It must be terribly bland!" says an old woman. "But I have a huge cabbage which will add some flavor!"

"And I, some moose meat!" adds an old bearded Sourdough.

Soon others have gather around, each enthusiastically adding their contribution - carrots, zucchini, potatoes and more!

Before long, by the contribution of a little by many, a hearty stew was made upon which the entire town and the weary travelers dined...and while doing so, shared their tales, talents and camaraderie throughout the night.

The very next day, the travelers (who by now could be call "strangers" no more) continued their journey, leaving the little town and its people behind. But the townsfolk never forgot them and the lesson they had learned. In fact, during the hardest of times, that little town thrived because they never forgot how to make "stone soup."

Such is the legend of the "Stone Soup Story."