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Rungi-chungi, The Secret of Stone Soup

Aleen Adams, Illustrated by Patrick Allison

Rungi-chungi, The Secret of Stone Soup Illustrated by Patrick Allison Written by Aleen Adams Text and Illustration (c) 2011 Jackson Fish Market Jackson Fish Market, LLC. 1425 Broadway #448, Seattle, WA 98122 All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. First digital edition published 2011 Library of Congress Cataloging -in-Publication Data ISBN 978-1-936093-59-5 Written by Aleen Adams Illustrated by: Patrick Allison One cold, snowy night, three monks arrived in hilly Himalayan town. The monks had been walking a long way for a long time, and were very tired and hungry. “It’s time to rest,” said the youngest monk. “It’s time to eat,” said the largest monk. “Yes, yes it’s time,” said the eldest monk. “Let’s stop in this pretty place and ask the people if they might have some food to share.” On the way into the town, the monks met a man walking from the village. “Namaste!” said the monks to the man.“We are monks on a holy journey. We have walked a long way and are very hungry. Might you have some food to share?” “Namaste. Ooohhh so sorry,” said the first villager, knowing that he should be more generous with holy men, “I am a poor man with nothing to spare. All I have is a potato and this bag of dung.” Walking into the gates of the village, a well-dressed lady carrying radishes passed by the three monks, with barely a glance. “Namaste!” said the monks to the woman. “What fine radishes you have! Might you have some to share with tired holy men?” Next, the monks knocked on a door of a house inside the village gates. A weary-looking woman opened the door with a countless number of children huddled around her skirts. “Namaste!” said the monks. “We wish you a good day. We are but simple monks traveling on a holy journey. Might you have some food to spare with us?” “Oh me, I have too many mouths to feed, and just a little rice that we need,” sighed the woman as she closed the door. The monks continued going from house to house, but the answer was always the same. No one had anything to share. “This is not going well,” said the youngest monk. “What are we to do?” asked the largest monk. “It’s time to make some stone SOUP!” said the eldest monk, loudly. The monks built a fire, and began to boil some water in a big pot. They sang a little song as they worked: “Yummy, yummy, so rungichungi! Stone soup to fill our tummies!” The villagers heard the song, and being both hungry and curious, began peering out of their houses to see what the monks were making. The eldest monk began to drop small stones, one by one, into the pot of boiling water. The monks smelled the broth, smiled. They continued their song, singing even more loudly: “Yummy, yummy, so rungichungi! Stone soup to fill our tummies!” One by one, the villagers began to approach the monks. “Hajur (yes, please, excuse me), but what is so rungichungi (colorful) in your pot?” said the first villager to the monks. “Ah, it is my special recipe for stone soup!” said the youngest monk. “Stones make a delicious broth, it’s true, but a potato might thicken it too!” “Perhaps I can find a potato or two,” said the first villager, pulling a potato out of his pocket. The monks stirred the pot and sang another verse: “One potato, two potato, three potato, FOUR! Who could ask for anything MORE?!” “Hajur (yes, please, excuse me), but what is so rungichungi (colorful) in your pot?” asked the second villager to the monks. “A good stone soup wants to include radishes, but why include what doesn’t exist?” said the largest monk rubbing his large belly. “Radishes do too exist! I will show you!” shouted the haughty lady, and eager to prove her point, she pulled out some radishes and threw them in the pot. The monks continued to stir the pot and sing: “Radishes are colorful indeed, But what else might we need?!” “Hajur (yes, please, excuse me), but what is so rungichungi (colorful) in your pot?” asked the third villager to the monks. “Perhaps a handful of rice could round it out nicely,” said the eldest monk with a sly eye. “Rice! Oh yes, rice is nice,” said the mother as she poured some of her rice into the pot. The monks stirred and sang a new verse: “Yes, yes, rice is best! I wonder what will make the rest?!” One by one, each villager appeared with an ingredient to add to the pot. One brought a bit of beef. Another brought an onion. Another brought a few leeks. Even yak butter was thrown into the pot! Pretty soon the pot was brimming over and smelled delicious. The monks began ladling soup into bowls. There was enough soup to feed every person in the village. It seemed like magic. All of the villagers began eating soup and singing together: “Yummy, yummy, so rungichungi! Stone soup to fill ALL of our tummies!” One of the villagers sang out, “Thank you, you three. We’ll never go hungry again, because now we’ll share whenever we can!” The eldest monk said, “A few stones can make food for many, when there is generosity a-plenty.” Thanks to the monks and the magic of a few stones, no one in the village was ever hungry again.