Karl Wiener

The salt in the soup

       When the old king was tired of his reign, he handed over his crown and sceptre to his son. Because of that his Bachelor’s life was gone, since there was no dignified king without a worthy queen beside him. That's why the young king decided he should marry. The beautiful young single ladies of the court adored him and there was no shortage of candidates for him to choose from. But he wanted to be certain that his bride didn't want to marry him because of his being the king but that she loved him from her heart.
       At a friends house he became acquainted with two sisters both beautiful and intelligent, but with very different characters. One of them spent most her time in front of her mirror. She loved wearing the finest jewellery and gowns and dressed her hair with expensive ornaments and tiaras. The other sister was diligent, lent a hand in the household chores and knew how to prepare sumptuous meals with the finest ingredients and spices. The young king soon took a keen interest in both of them and they in turn returned his affection. For a long time he couldn't decide which of them would love him the most and being a shy man, he asked his friends to help advise him as to which of them he should ask to be his bride.
       So, at an opportune moment the friends tried to find out from each girl how they would describe their love for the young king. “Look”, the first said, “I love him more than all my jewellery and my rich garment”. When the young king heard this, he was flattered. He knew of the value of such material things since his fathers vaults held much in the way of gold and precious jewels. But he was disappointed, when his friends reported the other sister’s answer to the same question. Expressing her feelings she had said: “I love him more than the salt which I put in my soup”. To the young king salt was nothing other than a white crystal without measurable value, which on its own tasted horrible. This couldn’t be true love he thought, so he decided to marry the girl, who had honoured him more than her gold and jewellery.
        After the marriage took place and the wedding-festivities came to an end, the young couple retreated to their private apartments. There the king told his new bride, why he had chosen her over her sister. The young queen didn’t like the comparison between her husband and the salt in her sister’s soup, and the following day she ordered all the salt in the kingdom to be poured into the sea. Now the seawater tasted of salt, but there was none left to add to the meals. In the beginning the king accepted this, but soon he lost his appetite. Often he pushed back his plate without having even taken a single spoonful of his soup. The lack of salt to season his food disgusted him and spoilt the pleasure he had always taken in eating. Because he didn’t eat anything his power wasted away and now and then during the night he wept into his pillow with exhaustion and disillusion. When he tasted the salt of his tears on his lips, he realised, that all the gold and jewellery doesn’t offset the salt in his soup, and he began to call into question his choice of bride.

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Published on e-Stories.org on 15.01.2008.


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