This is the story of how you eat your soup

In the middle of the desert lay a very small kingdom. It was just one oasis, nothing more. One spring could provide enough water for the whole kingdom. There was no more than one donkey needed to travel all the way through. Your own voice was enough to make a story sound from one side of the kingdom to the other. Nobody was ever far from anyone else in that little kingdom.

Long ago a king and a queen lived in that kingdom, which was not only very small, but also very beautiful. They had four sons and a daughter. The king always proudly told his children that he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else than in their own little kingdom.

The princes and the princess liked it too, but they were also curious about the world outside the desert.

“We want to see more of the world, get to know other people and to learn the lessons of life,” they said.

“You don’t have to travel for that, “the king said.” I will teach you the most important lesson that can be learned. I will show you what real love is and then you will know all you need to know.”

He ordered his chefs to make the most delicious soup they could think of. He had the carpenter make a very long table and the blacksmith had to make forty spoons who’s handles were one meter long. Then he invited forty people for a king’s meal. They were all people who carried the love on their lips and liked to talk about it. But in their hearts they did not carry love.

That evening the king, the queen, the four princes and the princess sat at the table with their forty guests invited from all the kingdoms surrounding the desert. In front of them stood a bowl with the most delicious soup and a spoon that was one meter long. Hungry as they were they wanted to start the meal, but with those long spoons no one managed to get even one bite of soup in his mouth. It turned out to be a mess, and at the end of the evening they all returned home with an empty stomach.

When the guests had left, the king’s children turned to their father in wonder.

“Wait,” said the king, “there will be a second meal tomorrow. For this meal I also invited forty visitors from the kingdoms surrounding the desert. But these people carry love not only on their lips, but also in their hearts.”

The next evening the king’s family sat at the long table with the forty visitors who all had love in their hearts. They also received a bowl of delicious soup served with the same long spoons. But these people, who, by the love in their hearts, not only thought of themselves and their own hunger, but also of others, took some soup from the bowl of the person in front of them with the long spoons and let them taste the soup. Then their neighbor also did that to them and so everyone feasted on the most delicious soup in that little kingdom. In the end of the evening all the guests left with a full stomach.

Satisfied, the king sat in the oasis that evening.

“Have you seen what happened?” he asked his children. “You do not have to learn more than this: when love is in the heart, the soup will automatically come to the stomach.