Why the Sea is Salty
1 One winter long ago, there were two brothers named Ted and Tony. Ted was rich, and Tony was poor. The rich brother lived in a great house, but he was stingy. The poor brother lived in a tiny shack and had no food. "We cannot starve," said Tony to his wife. "I will ask my brother to help us."
2 Ted was annoyed. He said angrily, "Here, take this meat and go to the dwarfs. They will boil it for you." Tony took the meat and left in search of the dwarfs. He trudged through the snow until he saw the home of the dwarfs.
3 The Chief Dwarf spotted Tony. "Ho, ho! Who enters our cave?" The dwarfs teased Tony and picked at the meat. They wanted it for their supper.
4 "What will you give me for the meat?" asked Tony.
5 "We have no gold," said the dwarfs. "But, we can give you this mill."
6 "Why do I want a mill?" cried Tony. "I am hungry and have come to cook this meat for me and my wife."
7 "It is a wonderful mill," the Chief Dwarf replied. "It will grind anything in the world, except snow and meat. I will show you how to use it." Tony agreed. He gave them the meat and took the mill. The Chief Dwarf said, "When you wish the mill to grind, use these words...
8 Grind, quickly grind, little mill,
9 Grind, with a right good will!
10 "When you wish the mill to stop grinding, you must say, ‘Halt, halt, little mill!’ The mill will obey you," stated the Chief Dwarf.
11 Taking the little mill under his arm, the poor brother climbed up the hill, through the snow, until he reached his shack. When he arrived, he put the little mill down on the snow, and said at once,
12 "Grind, quickly grind, little mill,
13 Grind a HOUSE, with a right good will!"
14 The little mill ground and ground until there stood, in place of the shack, the finest house in the world. It had large windows, and every room was filled with furniture. By spring, the mill had ground out the last thing that was needed for the house, and the poor brother cried,
15 "Halt, halt, little mill!"
16 The mill obeyed him. Soon, Tony had everything that he wanted.
17 The following year, a merchant sailed from a distant land and anchored his ship in the harbor. He visited Tony’s home and asked about the mill. He had heard how wonderful it was. "Will it grind salt?" the merchant asked.
18 "Yes, indeed!" said Tony. "It will grind anything in the whole world, except snow and meat."
19 "Let me borrow the mill for a short time," said the merchant. He thought it would be easier to fill his ship with salt from the mill than to make a long voyage to buy salt for the people of his land. Tony agreed, and the merchant went away with the mill. He did not wait to find out how to stop the grinding. He went back aboard the ship, and he cried out,
20 "Grind, quickly grind, little mill,
21 Grind SALT, with a right good will!"
22 The mill ground salt, and more salt, and still more salt. When the ship was full of salt, the merchant cried, "Now you must stop, little mill." The little mill did not stop, and it kept on grinding salt.
23 The captain shouted, "We shall be lost! The ship will sink!"
24 One of the sailors called, "Throw the mill overboard!" So, overboard went the wonderful mill, down to the bottom of the deep sea. The captain and his crew sailed home with the cargo of salt, and the mill kept on grinding salt at the bottom of the sea.
25 And that is why the sea is salty. (At least, that’s what some people say.)