An Ancient Roman Tale of Love and Salt

The Ancient Romans, like all peoples, ancient or modern, had a love of stories. This was particularly true when the "moral" of the story proved to be evident to the listener. Following is one such tale told by the Romans.


A king had three daughters who he loved very greatly. However, at times he would sometimes wonder if his love for his girls was equal to their love for him. So one day he asked each girl to describe her love for him.


The eldest daughter described her love for her father as being like her love for bread. This pleased the king, who happened to be rather fond of bread, like most people. The king then asked his middle daughter. She described her love for the king her father as being like her love for wine. This too pleased the king.


However, when his youngest and wisest daughter reflected upon her love for her father, she described it as being like salt. This did not sit well with the short-tempered king, who immediately ordered that his daughter leave the palace by the next morning, that she should never return. However, the wise girl was unflustered by this, and calmly instructed her father's cook to leave all salt out of the preparations for the king's supper. Of course, upon eating his victuals, the king immediately realized his mistake, given the value he had of salt for his food, as love in his relationships. He immediately offered a reprieve to his youngest child, with profuse apologies.

(Those who love Shakespeare will undoubtedly note a similarity twixt this tale and that of the bantering between King Lear with his youngest daughter Cordelia.)

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