After three days of fighting at Gettysburg,four lost, hungry and penny-less soldiers stumbled into a small village several miles from that epic battle.
Many villagers turned out to see the visitors. But when the soldiers requested a meal, each villager claimed that, because of the war, they had no food to spare. The Army of the Potomac had regulations against poaching or foraging on private property in Union states, so the soldiers were facing another day without food.
One soldier approached an old woman and asked if he could borrow a large pot. He then asked her permission to fill it at her well and to set a cooking fire near the road.
At the edge of the road in front of the woman’s house, the soldiers built a fire under the enormous pot and began to boil the water. The first soldier reached into a small, hard tack pouch that hung from his belt and pulled out a small round stone that he dropped into the water.
Curious villagers gathered around to watch the spectacle. A few looked into the pot and noticed that the stone had dissolved and slightly tinted the color of the water. They did not realize that the soldier had boiled a clay marble and not a magic stone.
The soldier then took a small taste of the clay broth and declared “This is very good, but if I had some salt to add, it would be most satisfying!”
A young woman in the crowd responded to the soldier’s hint and ran back to her house to get some salt. With another taste and a hint for an onion, the soldier got his onion, as well as suggestions about what else should go into a proper soup.
Soon, most of the villagers were running to their homes to fetch their favorite soup ingredients to add to the pot. Vegetables and spices, ham bones and even several pounds of salt pork soon filled the pot with soup and the air with the aroma of a banquet.
That day, the entire village feasted on “Mr Lincoln's Stone Soup” until they could eat no more.
Since that time, the women of the village add a clay marble to their soups and stews in hopes of re-experiencing the warm feelings of that day with their families and their friends.
(CAUTION! Glass or steel marbles are no substitute for clay marbles and may be a choking hazard. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION!)
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The plans will also be useful in recovery efforts after earthquakes, hurricanes or other natural disasters.
By reducing losses from no-shows, the program will also save employers and medical offices a great deal of money.
(For more complete details, Please follow the links to each project's website)