While the engineer developed his thesis, the director leaned over to
his assistant and whispered, "Did you ever hear of why the sea is salt?"
"Why the sea is salt?" whispered back the assistant. "What do you
The director continued: "When I was a little kid, I heard the story of
`Why the sea is salt' many times, but I never thought it important until just
a moment ago. It's something like this: Formerly the sea was fresh water and
salt was rare and expensive. A miller received from a wizard a wonderful
machine that just ground salt out of itself all day long. At first the miller
thought himself the most fortunate man in the world, but soon all the villages
had salt to last them for centuries and still the machine kept on grinding
more salt. The miller had to move out of his house, he had to move off his
acres. At last he determined that he would sink the machine in the sea and
be rid of it. But the mill ground so fast that boat and miller and machine
were sunk together, and down below, the mill still went on grinding and that's
why the sea is salt."
"I don't get you," said the assistant.
- -- Guy Endore, "Men of Iron"