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A Grain of Salt


An enchanting Irish folk tale is repeated in America as a young Irish lady asks an Irish cop to help find her lost purse that contains an enchanted salt shaker. She also recounts how her father acquired the shaker from the ancient Old Man of the Stone back at home.



Air Dates

  • First Run - November 18, 1977
  • Repeat - April 22, 1978





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16 Responses to Episode 0743

A rare episode for the usual style of CBSRMT, written with wit, charm and humor.


It’s a nice story. No bloodshed, doom or ruination. Taken with a grain of salt it isn’t half bad.

Jimmy N.

While this episode did not appeal to my taste for the macabre, it certainly reached my fondness for Celtic folklore. Sam Dann created an excellent piece that remains true to the classics and offered it up in a more contemporary scenario (tho set in the late 1800's). For those not aware of it, there is a book of very old bard-like tales called, The Mabinogion. This book is filled with some of the most bizarre and alluring Celtic and Welsh tales of folklore that I've ever read. Being that it originates from the Gaelic period, some of the tales often leave you scratching your head, but most of them contain the same themes found in folklore from around the world. If interested, I recommend checking out the story of Pwyll, (pronounced Poo-ill). I enjoyed this tale because of the fact that salt is the primary element in the tale. Salt is white, symbolizing purity; salt has healing properties; salt is a flavor enhancer; salt is a cleaning agent; etc, etc. "Salt of the Earth" represents the working class, which obviously our character's family was. And of course, our own physiology depends upon sodium chloride for us to live and breath.. It was powerful in that the father figure tried to convince the Old Man in the Rock that he was not out for personal gain, though we all know he had his mind set to be rich. But when the honest twist of fate came upon him, he seemed to roll with it, understanding there was good fortune to be found despite not attaining any material wealth. What a very beautiful and uplifting ending to the tale. And the fact that the daughter was so concerned that the salt-shaker was "very valuable" made it even more poignant. This is a tale that can be taken both lightly and jovially and then forgotten, or which could be read into deeply to find honesty in humanity. The passion of the wife/mother over her concern that the old man be able to use the salt speaks very loudly about her personal character. The performances were right on, especially in that actors had to be effective and believable in the character dialect. The production was very good, as is typical of Himan Brown. But the real kudos, in my opinion go to Sam Dann for writing such a humble yet stirring episode that I shall be happy to listen to again. I gave it a 4.4 and thank you for a fine selection! best wishes,


I agree, very nicely put, captures the episode completely


Very nicely put.


I gave it a 4. Nicely told tale that is well paced with well developed characters. Both Raeburn and Keane were outstanding with their Irish accents. I, too, tend to favor tales of the macabre. However, this was a nice diversion. It's lighthearted, whimsical nature reminds me of "The Frammis" which also stars Fred Gwynne.


I've listened to this episode before and enjoyed it again the second time. My impressions this time were the same: The beginning of Act 1 is the longest single take I've heard in a RMT show (it lasts almost ten minutes); what great repartee between Katie and the Sergeant (I mean, tell me they aren't going to hook up); I am more and more impressed with radio actors, when they can sustain accents like these for prolonged periods (especially Terri Keane, I didn't even realize it was her at first); Fred Gwynne is excellent as usual, but top billing could have gone to Lloyd Batista; a story is a good one when it is predictable and you still enjoy it; I like the touch of Sousa at the end; and finally, a great ending line, "would you like to go home with me and ... meet me mother?". If you like this show, check out one of my all-time favorites, A Very Dear Ghost Indeed (760920). I like hearing new shows on this episode but I'm also finding that when the show is one I've heard before, I often gain things I missed the first time.

Henry C.

If I can "piggyback" on what you said: - I ALWAYS love learning things, sayings, nuances, pronunciations, on the RMT. They were indeed some talented scriptwriters and actors. I had never heard the phrase "drawing a long bow" before this episode. - I've said before I get kick out of when Lloyd Battista does his "hoarse Irish cop" routine. (I've heard it a couple of times, but the one I remember is from "I thought I saw a shadow"...a show I always enjoy playing.) Here he's just doing his "Irish cop" accent, but it's still enjoyable.


How funny! Actually, yes, it was a coincidence! Huh! How cool is that? I'm glad you pointed it out.


Perfect episode for St. Patrick's Day weekend. The cast did terrific acting with Irish accents. Only drawback was The Old Man of the Rock's rule that Terence O'Neil (played by Fred Gwynne) and his wife Bridget O'Neil (played by Bryna Raeburn) have to have the same wish. Not your average Mystery tale, but it's worth listening to, especially if you're a fan of Fred Gwynne.


I always got the impression that this was a story that they tweaked so the actors could have fun with the Irish brogues. Even as a kid I would laugh when actors like Teri Keane would play people 20 or 30 years younger. Suspend disbelief just a little more...


Enjoyed this one. I imagine if most of us would have a wish we would have similar dilemma's as portrayed here! Check this episode out!


This one reminds me of the wonderful fairy tales I read as a child. A fun, lighthearted tale safe for all ages.


what a great episode, its a lot lighter than most Mystery Theater episodes. I loved the Irish accents, it took a little while to recognize Fred Gwynne's voice. He does a decent accent but you can still hear his distinctive voice, he is great in all things, not really the star in this one. I listened to the episode twice to catch all the little jokes that were written in, the first one about the policeman's father being English. It's really a lovely tale told brilliantly. A joy from start to finish. I love these CBS Radio Mystery podcasts


Loved this one, and I highly recommend! This story will put a smile on your face!


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