The stone soup fable has many iter­a­tions. They all involve a trav­eler com­ing into a town beset by famine.

The inhab­i­tants of the town try to dis­cour­age the trav­eler from stay­ing, fear­ing he wants them to give him food.

They tell him in no uncer­tain terms that there’s no food any­where to be found. The trav­eler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was plan­ning to make a soup to share with all of them.

The vil­lagers watch sus­pi­ciously as he builds a fire and fills a caul­dron with water. With great cer­e­mony, he pulls a stone from a silken bag, drop­ping the ordi­nary stone into the pot of boil­ing water. He sniffs the brew extrav­a­gantly and takes a small taste.

With great exu­ber­ance, he exclaims how deli­cious stone soup is. The vil­lagers gather around with great inter­est. The trav­eler says 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 small cab­bage he’d retrieved from its hid­ing place, and added it to the pot.

“Won­der­ful!!” cried the stranger. “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 to add to the soup pot.

This episode repeats itself until the soup has cab­bage, salt beef, car­rots, onions, turnips, mush­rooms, etc.

Indeed, a sub­stan­tial soup that is able to feed every­one in the vil­lage is soon cre­ated.

This story addresses the human ten­dency to hoard in times of depri­va­tion.

When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-​preservation. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive our­selves and every­one else of shar­ing a feast.

This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, infor­ma­tion, energy and love. By stock­pil­ing and hold­ing back our gifts, we never rise up to meet our rich­est life.

The genius of the trav­eler was his abil­ity to draw out and inspire the vil­lagers to give to the com­mon soup pot. The result was the cre­ation of some­thing big­ger than any of them could have cre­ated alone.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and shar­ing leads to the greater good. Con­sider the envi­ron­ments of work, home and com­mu­nity. How can your indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tion improve and impact the over­all high­est goal?

Life is a ban­quet. Allow this new year bring your best efforts for­ward. The magic of stone soup nour­ishes everyone.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.