Why the Sea is Salt

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SAM –  (poor brother)

GELA – (poor brother´s wife)

MARIUS – (rich brother)

MAYRA – (rich brother`s wife)






NARRATOR: Long ago, there lived two brothers. The older brother was rich and successful, but mean and arrogant. The younger brother was very poor, but kind and generous.


SAM: (to wife) Oh, my dear wife, we have nothing to eat, and we don`t have money either and nothing to sell.


GELA: (crying) I know, and tomorrow is a day of celebration. Where are we going to get something to eat? Tomorrow is a holiday. How will we celebrate?


SAM: I don`t know what to do.


GELA: Go to your brother and ask for his help. He got a cow yesterday – I saw him. Surely he will not grudge us a little meat for the holiday?.


SAM: I don`t want to ask my brother for help. I know that he is selfish.


GELA: I know, but we have to get something to eat.


SAM: Very well, I`ll go see my brother.


NARRATOR: So the poor man put on his ragged cloak and walked to his rich brother’s house.


(Sam knocking at Marius´ house. Marius opens the door)


MARIUS: What do you want?.


MAYRA: Why do you come here?. Tomorrow is a holiday, and we are busy preparing the feast. Go away, we have no time for you!.


SAM: Brother, we have nothing to eat in the house, no food to celebrate the holiday. Lend me a little meat, so that I and my wife may also celebrate.


MAYRA: (to her husband) I knew it!. I knew your brother would come begging one day. Throw him out!.


SAM: Please, brother!.


MARIUS: Oh very well, take this – and go to Hiysi!.


NARRATOR: And he threw a cow’s hoof at his poor brother.


SAM: Thank you.


NARRATOR: But as he was walking, he thought.


SAM: (thinking) My brother did not give me the cow’s hoof. He has told me to take it to Hiysi. So this piece of meat is not mine to eat, but Hiysi’s. I must take it to Hiysi.


NARRATOR: Hiysi was the Wood-Goblin who lived deep in the forest.


SAM: (thinking) The forest is dark and gloomy. Bit I have deliver the cow’s hoof to Hiysi. I`ll keep walking through the trees.


NARRATOR: After a while he met some woodcutters.


WOODCUTTERS: Where are you going, so deep in the forest?.


SAM: To Hiysi the Wood-Goblin’s. I have this cow’s hoof for him. Can you tell me how to find his hut?.


WOODCUTTERS: Keep walking straight ahead. Turn neither left nor right, and soon you will be at Hiysi’s hut. But listen carefully. Hiysi loves meat. He will offer you silver and gold and precious stones in gratitude. Don’t accept any of those. Ask instead for his millstone. If he tries to offer you something else, refuse. Ask only for his millstone.


SAM: Thank you, I have to go now.


NARRATOR: Very soon he saw a hut. He went inside, and there sat Hiysi, the Wood-Goblin himself.


HIYSI: Why have you come here?.


SAM: I have brought you a gift, a cow’s hoof.


HIYSI: Meat!. Quick, give it to me. I haven’t eaten meat for thirty years!.


NARRATOR: Hiysi grabbed the hoof and ate it.


HIYSI: Now, I shall give you a gift in return. Here, take some silver coins.


SAM: No, I don’t want any silver.


HIYSI: Gold, then?. Here, take these two handfuls of gold coins.


SAM: No. I don’t want gold either.


HIYSI: How about some precious stones?. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires?.


SAM: No, thank you, I don’t want any of those either.


HIYSI: Well, what do you want then?.


SAM: I want your millstone.


HIYSI: My millstone!. No, you can’t have that. But I can give you anything else you like.


SAM: That’s very kind of you, but I only want your millstone.


HIYSI: Oh well. I suppose I must let you have my millstone. Take it. But do you know how to use it?.


SAM: No. Tell me.


HIYSI: Well, this is a magic millstone. It will give you whatever you wish for. Just make your wish and say Grind, my millstone!. When you have enough and want the millstone to stop, just say Enough and have done!. And it will stop. Now go!.


SAM: Thank you, now I will go back home with the millstone.


NARRATOR: He walked and he walked and he walked, and at last reached his home. His wife was waiting for him.


GELA: Where have you been?. I thought I’d never see you again!.


NARRATOR: The poor man told his wife the tale of his adventures. Then he placed the magic millstone on to the table.


SAM: Grind, my millstone!. Give us a feast fit for a king.


NARRATOR: The millstone began to grind, and there on the table poured the most wonderful dishes ever. The poor man and his wife ate and ate till they could eat no more.


SAM: Enough and have done!.


NARRATOR: And the millstone stopped grinding. From then on, there was enough to eat, and new clothes to wear. The millstone gave them a fine new house, green fields full of crops, horses and cattle. Soon they had so much that they did not really need to use the millstone any more. One day, the rich brother heard of the poor man’s change of fortune.


MARIUS: How could my brother have become rich so suddenly?. I must find out.


NARRATOR: So the rich brother went to the poor brother’s house.


MARIUS: How have you become rich so quickly?.


NARRATOR: The poor brother told him everything.


MARIUS: I must get that millstone for myself. Show me the millstone.


NARRATOR: The poor brother did so. He put the millstone on the table.


SAM: Grind, my millstone!. Give us good things to eat.


NARRATOR: At once the millstone began turning and out poured the most delicious pies and cakes and breads on the table.


MARIUS: Sell me your millstone!.


SAM: No. The millstone is not for sale.


MARIUS: Well then, lend it to me for a bit. After all, it was I who gave you the cow’s hoof to carry to Hiysi!.


SAM: Very well, you may borrow it for a day.


NARRATOR: The rich brother grabbed the millstone and ran off with it, without asking how to make it stop. He put the millstone into a boat, and rowed out to sea with it, where the fishermen were hauling in their catch of fish.


MARIUS: The fishermen are salting the fish right now. They will pay well for fine salt. Grind, my millstone!. Give me salt, as much as you can!.


NARRATOR: The millstone began to turn and out poured the finest, whitest salt imaginable. Soon the boat was full. The rich man decided to stop the millstone. But he did not know how.


MARIUS: Stop, my millstone!. Stop grinding. I don’t want any more salt!.


NARRATOR: But the millstone kept turning, pouring out the finest whitest salt. The rich man begged and pleaded with the millstone to stop. But he did not know the magic words. So the millstone kept turning and pouring out salt and more salt. The rich brother tried to throw the millstone overboard, but he couldn’t lift it. The boat was now so full of salt that it began sinking.


MARIUS: Help!.


NARRATOR: But there was no one there to hear him. The millstone kept turning, pouring out salt, and the boat sank to the bottom of the sea with the rich man and the millstone. And the magic millstone kept turning, pouring out the finest whitest salt, even to this very day. And that is why the sea is salt.




Author:  Norwegian Folktales


Adapted by: K I D S I N C O


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