As Salt in Food
A Romanian tale
Once upon a time there was a king who had three daughters.
One day, the king wanted to test them. He asked his eldest child first,
“My daughter, how much do you love me?”
“I love you, dear father, as one loves honey.”
The king was very happy with the answer.
“And you, how much do you love me, my daughter?”, he asked the younger one.
“I love you as one loves sugar, Dad”, replied the younger one. And the king was very happy with the answer.
At last, the king asked his youngest daughter,
“And you, my dear, how much do you love me?”
“As one loves salt in food, Dad!”
Her sisters began to laugh and the king frowned.
“Did you hear how much your sisters love me? They love me as much as honey and sugar. Honey and sugar are sweet, aren’t they – but salt? Ungrateful child!”
The king got angry and told her to leave the castle. She was very sad and she went away.

After having walked for a long time, she arrived at another king’s court and started to work there. Because she was wise and hard-working, the queen took her everywhere with her. The king’s son liked her very much and decided to marry her. The date of the wedding was set and the girl asked for her father to be invited. But she didn’t say that he was her father. Nor did her father know she was the bride. For the wedding celebration, the daughter came to an agreement with the servants so that the food served to her father would be different than the one served to the other guests. She prepared it herself. When the guests started to eat, they all said that the food was delicious. The girl’s father couldn’t eat anything because his food didn’t taste good at all. He asked to taste other guests’ food and saw that their food was delicious. So the king asked,
“Why did you invite me – so that I would’t have a great time? All the guests have delicious food, and mine can’t be eaten.”
The daughter got up and said,
“I cooked the food for the king myself. He is my father. We were three sisters and my father asked us how much we loved him. My sisters answered like honey and sugar. I told him I loved him like salt in food. I thought he couldn’t be loved any better way. My father was angry and I left his castle. With work and diligence I got here. Now, I wanted to show my father that nobody can live only with sugar and honey and without salt. All the food for my father is cooked with honey and sugar, but no salt.”

The king admitted then that he didn’t know how to appreciate his daughter’s wisdom and he begged for her forgiveness.
The young girl kissed him and everyone spent three unforgettable days and nights at the wedding.