(Introduction section of the fable with narrator voice and three characters)
ONE evening, when they were sitting round the table after their supper, old Peter asked the children what story they would like to hear. Vanya asked whether there were any stories left which they had not already heard.
"Why," said old Peter, "you have heard scarcely any of the stories, for there is a story to be told about everything in the world."
"About everything, grandfather?" asked Vanya.
"About everything," said old Peter.
"About the sky, and the thunder, and the dogs, and the flies, and the birds, and the trees, and the milk?"
"There is a story about every one of those things."
"I know something there isn't a story about," said Vanya.
"And what's that?" asked old Peter, smiling in his beard.
"Salt," said Vanya. "There can't be a story about salt." He put the tip of his finger into the little box of salt on the table, and then he touched his tongue with his finger to taste.
"But of course there is a story about salt," said old Peter.
"Tell it us," said Maroosia; and presently, when his pipe had been lit twice and gone out, old Peter began.