And so began my father’s tale of Magic Rock Soup:
As all good stories began in the past with ‘Once Upon a Time,’ so does this one. Once upon a time, in a faraway country, there had been a great war, a war that seemed to have lasted for an eternity.
Epic battles had been fought, countless villages had been sacked, thousands of acres of crops had been burned and great swaths of land made barren. There was little to eat, for both peasants and soldiers, and resources were scarce.
The war had finally ended and the soldiers were wearily journeying through the scarred land back to their homes. One soldier, in particular, was trudging homeward and had scant provisions for the long trip to his own village. Although he was in his late twenties, he seemed older, his tired eyes reflecting the trials and tribulations of the extended war. The Soldier had wavy dark brown, almost black, hair that was pulled back into a ponytail, and a short, curly, light brown beard that covered his lower face. His uniform, the white linen of the southern Italian regiment of the French Army, was shabby and had been patched in many places. His gaiters were torn and muddy and the soles of his shoes had been repaired many times. He carried his goatskin knapsack over his shoulder.
The Soldier had been Cook in his regiment, and his knapsack was stuffed with the tools of his trade: a large wooden spoon, a sharp knife, a tinderbox, and a battered pot that had belonged to his best friend Brieuse that The Soldier took with him when he left his regiment to remind him of the men for whom he had prepared food for so many years. Hearing the clanking coming from his knapsack as he walked along, he recalled something his friend had told him, “I’ve heard it said, on good authority, that army cooks can affect the mood and actions of the soldiers and thus influence history through their spoons.”
<MORE TO COME!>