“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
“Our experiences,our lives, are stories that teach us how we communicate and connect. These oral traditions, of sharing stories and experiences, are our education and our history and must be preserved.”
– Stone Soup Storytelling Institute
The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute morphed from the Stone Soup Storytelling Festival into the Institute in order to expand the power of story beyond a three day event.
The Stone Soup Storytelling Festival, the official storytelling festival of South Carolina, is our premier event.
The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute is a resource for storytelling and storytellers.
The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute is a resource and planner for educational and instructional workshops and performances.
The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute, is a non-profit organization. The Stone Soup volunteer board is dedicated to improving literacy, promoting better communication and supporting diversity through its programs, workshops and events that are provided for education and to increase connection and communication- as well as to offer cultural activities. The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute’s secondary goal is to increase the appreciation of oral history and to promote tourism in our community.
The art of storytelling is alive and well in the city of Woodruff, Spartanburg County and the state of South Carolina.
We are harnessing the power of story to educate, communicate and connect.
The Story of Stone Soup
Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering man came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.
“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”
“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.
By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the man sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.
“Ahh,” the man said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”
Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the man. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”
The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the man a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. The moral is that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.