A long time ago， far， far away， there lived two brothers. One of them was quite rich： the other was very poor. The rich brother lived on a little island； he was a seller of salt. He had sold salt for many years and had got a great deal of money. The other brother was so poor that he had not got enough food for his wife and children.
His wife said， “What will happen to us？ Do you want me and the children to die？ There is nothing to eat. Why don't you go and ask your brother for some money.”
“My brother loves his money very much. I'm sure that he will not give me any. Perhaps he will want to give me a handful of salt. But I will go and see him.”
He got into his boat and sailed across to the island where his brother lived.
He found his rich brother at home， counting his money.
“What is the matter？ Why have you come here？”
“Please， brother， I have no food in my house. Please give me one of those gold pieces you are counting.”
“No. These are mine. You are very lazy. Why do you not go and work？”
“I have tried to find some work， but I cannot. Now there is no bread in my house for my children.”
“I will not give you any money， but I'll give you some bread. If I give you a loaf of bread， will you go away and not come back？”
“Yes. Please give me the bread.”
The rich man threw a loaf of bread to him， and he went away.
While he was on his way to his house， he came to an old man sitting by the side of the road.
“What is that you are carrying？” said the old man. “Is it bread？ I have not had any thing to eat for two days.”
He cut a piece of the loaf and gave it to the old man， who thanked him and began to eat. When he had finished， the old man said， “Now I will do something for you. I will show you the home of the fairies who live underground. If you show them the bread， they will want to buy it from you. But do not let them give you any money. Ask them for the little mill that stands behind their door. Do as I say， and you will become rich. When you come back， I will show you how to use it.”
The old man then led him into a wood. He pointed to a hole in the ground. It looked like the hole made by a big rabbit. Inside， the hole grew bigger and a little stone door could be seen.
“That is the fairies' home. Get in and open the door. I will wait until you come out，” said the old man.
The poor man got into the hole， opened the door， and went in. It was dark inside the door： for some time he could see nothing. Then， when he could see more clearly， he saw many little fairies： they came and stood round him.
“What is that？” said one of them. “Is it white bread？ Please give it to us， or sell it to us.”
“We will give you gold and silver for it，” said another.
“No，” said the poor man. “I don't want gold or silver. Give me that old mill that stands behind the door， and I will give you the loaf of bread.”
At first they did not want to give him the mill for the bread， so he turned away.
But some of the fairies began to cry， “Let him have the old mill. We never use it now. And only good people can make it work.”
Then they gave him the mill. He put it under his arm and went out of fairy-land. He fount the old man waiting for him.
“That is it，” the old man said. “This is how to use it. Only good people can use it. You must never let any other person use it.”
It was quite late when the poor man reached home.
“Where have you been？” said his wife. “There is no fire and no food in the house. The children are cold and crying for food. What is that you are carrying. It looks like an old mill.”
“It is a mill，” he said. “Now watch. Say what you want， and you will have it.”
He put the mill on the table and began to turn it. Out of the little mill came wood for the fire， oil for lighting and cooking， clothes， corn， and many other good things.
“It is a magic mill，” said his wife. “Now we are rich.”
“Yes， but no-one must know about it. We must hide it and use it only when no-one is watching.”
The poor man soon became as rich as his brother. He did not keep all the good things for his own family. He gave many things to poor friends.
When his brother heard about this， he said to himself， “I do not know why my brother has become rich. I must find the reason for his riches.”
For a long time he tried to find the reason， but he could not. But one day he gave a servant some money and ordered him to watch the house of his brother at night. That night， the servant looked through the window and saw the family standing round the mill， which was working. He went back and told what he had seen.
The next day the brother got in his boat and sailed across the water. He said to his brother， “I see that you are now quite rich， and I know the reason. You have a little magic mill. Sell it to me. How much money do you want for it？”
“I cannot sell it，” said the poor man. “It must never leave my hands. The old man said， 'There will be great danger if you sell it or give it to any other person.' That is what he said.”
Then the rich brother sailed away home. But later， one dark night， he came back， went very quietly into the house， and stole the mill. He quickly carried it to the sea， where his boat was waiting. Then he sailed away to his island.
But the bad brother wanted very much to make the mill work. He did not wait until he reached home. While he was sailing in the boat， he tried to make it work.
“Salt，” he said. “Salt is what I sell， and salt is what I want.” Then he began to turn the mill.
Then salt bean to come out of the mill. He laughed and began to sing. Masses of salt came out and began to fill the boat. The boat became low in the water. He tried to throw some of the salt into the sea. But more came in， masses of it. He stopped laughing and singing. Then he began to be afraid.
More salt came out of the mill， and soon the boat was full of it. Then water came in and filled the boat. The boat went down， down to the bottom of the sea， carrying with it the thief and the magic mill.
There， at the bottom of the sea， the mill is still turning， making more and more salt.
That is the reason （some people say） why the water of the sea is salty.
I. Translation for Reference（参考译文）