Why the Sea is Salt

A long time ago, there were two brothers. One was rich and the other was poor. The poor brother was so poor that he regularly asked his brother for help. This time it was Christmas Eve when the poor brother asked for food. The rich brother sighed deeply and went to his pantry where he grabbed a piece of bacon. “Here,” he said, and gave the meat to his poor brother. The poor brother said he would like to do something in return to thank him. “Go to hell,” his brother replied.

Today it’s not nice at all if someone says that to you. But this story is so old that the poor brother literally did what his rich brother had asked him to do. With the piece of bacon under his arm, he set off for hell until in the evening he saw a very bright light in the distance. “That’s probably where I need to be,” thought the poor brother. The light shone from a barn. Outside, an old man was chopping wood. “Good evening,” the brother greeted the old man. “Good evening to you too,” the old man replied. “Where are you going so late on Christmas Eve?” “I’m going to hell, if I can find the right way,” replied the brother politely.

“Well, you’re close,” said the old man, “because that’s here. When you go into the barn, they will all want to buy your bacon. I’ll give you some good advice: don’t sell the meat, but ask for a hand mill in exchange. When you come out with it, I’ll teach you how to use the hand mill. You can grind anything with it.” The poor brother thanked the old man and knocked on the door to hell. When he entered, it was exactly as the old man had said. All the devils wanted to buy the poor brother’s bacon. In the end, he managed to trade the piece of bacon for the hand mill.

Once outside again, he asked the old man how to use the hand mill. The old man taught him and then the poor brother hurried home as fast as he could. He told his wife what he had experienced that evening. He took the hand mill and started grinding. Delicious dishes appeared on the table. The brother only had to say the word and the mill would prepare it.

Day in, day out, the brother got the most delicious food from the mill. It never ran out. On the third day, the brother and his wife threw a big party. All their friends were invited and the rich brother was welcome too. He was amazed at all the delicacies on the table. When he saw that his brother’s pantry was also well stocked, he became very jealous. “How did you get all this wealth?” asked the rich brother. But the poor brother didn’t want to reveal his secret.

One evening when a lot of beer was being drunk, the brother let it slip and told about the hand mill. He showed the mill to his rich brother and made all sorts of things with it. His rich brother wanted the hand mill very badly, and eventually he was allowed to borrow it for a period of time. But only in exchange for three hundred coins.

That evening, the rich brother wanted soup. He took the hand mill and asked for a well-filled fish soup. The hand mill began to grind soup. At first, the bowls were filled, but the soup kept coming. The entire kitchen floor was flooded. The rich brother turned the mill to stop the soup production, but the hand mill didn’t stop. The entire farm was filled with fish soup. The rich brother ran away and was chased by a waterfall of fish and soup.

When he arrived at his poor brother’s house, he begged him to take back the hand mill. His brother took the hand mill back, but only in exchange for another three hundred coins. The poor brother now had twice as much money and his hand mill back.

Afterwards, he used the hand mill to build a farm. The farm was covered with golden plates. It was located by the sea where the gold glimmered and sparkled in the sun. Sailors could see the house from a great distance. The story of the hand mill was told everywhere, and soon there was no one who didn’t know the story.

One day, a sailor came to the door asking about the hand mill. “Can the hand mill grind salt?” asked the sailor. “Certainly, the mill can grind salt,” laughed the brother, and he took the hand mill and showed it to him. The sailor wanted the hand mill very badly because he was sure he would lose his cargo of salt on his long journeys over stormy seas.

Eventually, the sailor begged and pleaded enough to obtain the hand mill and quickly sailed away. He had not asked the brother how to use the hand mill, so once back on deck at sea, the sailor took out the hand mill and asked it to grind salt. The hand mill began to grind salt and did not stop. The ship was completely filled with salt and the heavy weight caused the ship to be swallowed up by the waves. Today, the hand mill is still grinding salt at the bottom of the sea, and that is why the sea is salty.