Once upon a time, in a sea not far from the eternal floating ice, a mareman lived in the water. He was much larger than a human man, with his broad lower body relatively shorter and ending in big webs. He was not made for movements on land, but whenever he did, he had to support his body with his arms. The mareman’s eyes and hair had the colour of salt and his body was cold as the water. Every day he would come close to the shore and look from afar to his beloved lady.
She was a fire spirit of the land. Her skin was as black as the sand and her eyes were red. Wherever she walked; the soil would crack in her footsteps. They had loved each other ever since they laid eyes upon one another. However, fate was cruel, for they had long learnt that they could not come close. When they would, the lady’s fire would burn the mareman’s body and steam would burst out until only salt remained in her damaged fingers.
Hiding behind the rocks on the land, another soul witnessed these events. He was a foul man with a large desire to become king. Therefor he ordered his men to capture both the mareman and the fire spirit. He would lock them in a cage, close enough to each other to torture them, but not close enough to kill them. Steam and damp would escape together with their screams of pain. Where salt deposits would build up on the bars and around the cage, the men collected it and sold it. This brought them great riches and their leader was crowned to be king of the lands wide and far. As cruel as he would treat the mareman and the fire spirit, he treated his citizens. For he was only interested in more wealth and lands for himself.
It did not take long before a man stood up under the people. His name was Björn and all people agreed that he was the right man to represent and vocalise their aspirations, for he was gallant, courageous and good-hearted. Björn went around the lands to raise an army of brave men and women, who would not take the tyrant ruling of the king any longer. Under Björn’s command, they overthrew the whole force of the king in a fierce and long battle. It was Björn himself who, in the after-match of the victory, dared to come near the cage in which the powerful fire spirit and mareman were locked. While steam, fire and ice-cold water ragged around him, Björn freed them.
But both the mareman and the fire spirit were so damaged and exhausted after their year-long captivity, that they could not bare to live any longer. Where the mareman gave his soul to the sea, the fire spirit gave her soul to the adjacent land. There, their love remains forever.
Björn learned how to use this powerful energy of life to produce the white salty gold himself. This is how these people, up until today, live in prosperity.
I got the inspiration after visiting Saltverk in Reykjanes in the Westfjords of Iceland. Read more about it here.