Why the Ocean is Salty

Main Piece

Mom: There were 2 brothers, a rich brother and a poor brother. The poor brother helped other people, so one day, he met an old man (a genie) who begged from the poor brother. He helped the old man who was actually a genie, so the genie gave the brother a grinder. The grinder could grind things that you wish: meat, food, and things like that. The poor brother became rich, grinding things for people and selling it.


So, the old rich bother went to visit him and asked him, “Oh wow! How did you become so rich?”


The poor brother said, “I have this grinder that grinds things up.”


The rich brother was fascinated and asked him how to work it. Then the rich brother stole the grinder from his brother so he could become richer. Then one day, he didn’t have any grinded up salt. So he started to grind the salt. But, he never asked his poor brother how to tell the grinder to stop. So the grinder kept grinding and grinding. The rich brother couldn’t figure it out so he threw the grinder in the in the ocean to get rid of it, so today it keeps grinding and grinding salt in the ocean making sea salt!”



My mom escaped from Vietnam during the war when she was 12. While in Vietnam, she had to take a French class and they read a lot of stories in order to learn the language. This is one of the stories she read in her French book. She would tell this story to me when I was little to entertain me. She’d usually do it either after dinner or when I was getting bored in the car. I called her to tell me this story so I could get a fresh retelling of it.



I think it’s interesting that this story is similar to the other stories my mom told me even though it came from a French book. The other stories my mom told me explained things that occurred in nature that could not be explained by the science of its time. These stories are fun ways for kids to put reason to simple things in the world that are different – like fresh water and salt water.