Cook soup on a spike

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3 min

Tale from Sweden.

Once upon a time there was an old woman who was terribly stingy and rude to everyone. This despite the fact that she was well off and lacked nothing in this world. One evening when it was raining and cold outside, there was a knock on her door. It was a lonely tramp who wondered if he could spend the night at the old woman's farm. "Oh no! This is certainly no inn," said the old woman. But the tramp said he was grateful if he could only sleep on the floor in front of the fire. Finally the old woman gave in and let him in.

The tramp wondered if it might be possible to get something to eat as well. "Never in my life," growled the old woman. "I barely have enough for myself. How will I be able to feed others as well?" "All I ask is to borrow a pot, and I can cook my own food," explained the hobo. "Look, I've got such a good nail to boil soup on, so I can handle it." Cooking soup on a nail? The old woman had never heard of that, so now she became curious. She fetched a pot and started boiling water in it. The hobo dropped his nail into the pot and gently stirred the water. After a while he tasted. "Mmm! This is all going to be a delicious soup," said the hobo, looking pleased. Just as the old woman was about to taste it herself, he said: "But it's clear... With a little milk and a little flour, it would have been even better. But if there is nothing, the soup will still be good." "Oh," said the old woman. "I probably have some at home." And then she went to get flour and milk. The hobo tasted again and looked satisfied. "This will be a lovely soup! Although it was even tastier with a little salt in it." "Of course I have some salt at home," said the old woman, fetching it. The hobo tasted the soup again and said: "This is going to be a really successful dish. Although if you could pour in some vegetables and pieces of meat, the king himself would probably be satisfied with the soup!" Immediately the old woman went and got what she had at home.

When the soup was ready, the hobo poured the food for both the old woman and himself. The old woman ate for a living. Never had she tasted such good soup and she could not praise the tramp enough for his good cooking. The next day when the tramp left, he was given a penny by the old woman. "You should have it because you taught me how to cook soup on a nail," she said. "Not just anyone can cook such cheap food."

The tramp thanked him politely and went on his way, glad that the stingy old woman was also a fool. Because surely you noticed that more than the nail was needed to make the soup good?

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