I’m Grateful for Salt

I love Thanksgiving! It’s a day when even my wiseacre friends (yeah, I’m trying to bring “wiseacre” back) share the things that make them thankful with no trace of sarcasm. So I promise the salt thing is not a joke.

Salt used to be so valued that it was used as currency. In fact, the word “salary” came from the word “salt”. There’s a lot of fascinating history about it, but it was actually a fable that sprang to mind when I thought of giving thanks for salt. When I searched for it, I found a lot of variations but none that were exactly as I remembered. Here’s my version, pulled together from scraps of memories and morsels of other stories:

Once there was a wealthy man who had three daughters. He decided one day to test their love for him, and asked each to bring him the greatest gift in their power. After seven days and seven nights, the oldest daughter brought him a jeweled crown, laden with jewels of every kind. The man placed the crown upon his head, felt its weight, and smiled. “You must love me very much,” he said to the eldest. Next, his middle child approached with a majestic coat sewn of the rarest furs in the world. The man draped the coat upon his body, felt its warmth, and smiled. “You must love me very much,” he said to his second daughter.

Then, his youngest and most favorite daughter approached. In her hands, she held a simple wooden bowl piled high with salt. The man would not accept the bowl. “What is this?” he frowned at his daughter. “I bring you salt,” she said. The man was stunned. “I asked for the greatest treasure you could find and you bring me salt? You are no daughter of mine.” He banished her to the kitchen, decreeing that she would have to work to earn her place in his household from now on.

For dinner that night, a feast was ordered to celebrate the wondrous gifts that the two older daughters had brought. As each course came out, the man and his guests struggled to enjoy the dishes. Finally, the man summoned the chef to ask why everything was so bland. The chef bowed his head and explained that his youngest daughter had instructed him not to use salt. At that, the man’s eyes filled with tears and he understood his daughter’s gift. The family and guests rejoiced as she came out of the kitchen to join them.

By giving thanks for salt today, I mean to give thanks to all the little things that add so much. That’s the beauty of this holiday. It reminds us to recognize what really makes life wonderful. Enjoy, everyone!

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