Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Frederick Crane
Chapter III: Stories of Oriental Origin
2528530Italian Popular Tales — Chapter III: Stories of Oriental OriginThomas Frederick Crane



The geographical situation of Italy and its commercial connections during the Middle Ages would lead us to expect a large foreign element in its popular tales. This foreign element, it is hardly necessary to say, is almost exclusively Oriental, and was introduced either by direct communication with the East, or indirectly from France, which received it from Spain, whither it was brought by the Saracens. Although this Oriental element is now perfectly popular, it is, as far as its origin is concerned, purely literary. That is to say, the stories we are about to examine are to be found in the great Oriental collections of tales which were early translated into all the languages of Europe, and either passed directly from these translations into circulation among the people, or became familiar to them from the novelists who made such frequent use of this element.1 A few stories may have been taken from the French fabliaux or from the French translations of the Disciplina Clericalis, as we shall afterwards see.2 The Pentamerone, and especially Straparola's tales, may finally be mentioned as the source from which many Oriental stories have flowed into popular circulation.3 In this chapter it is proposed to notice briefly only those stories the Oriental origin of which is undoubted, and which may be found in the great collections above mentioned and in some others less known. For convenience, some stories of this class have been referred to chapter VI.

The first of this class which we shall mention is well known from the version in Lafontaine (IX. i), Le Dépositaire infidèle. The only Italian version we have found is Pitrè, No. 194, which is as follows:


A peasant one day, conversing in the farmhouse with his master and others, happened, while speaking of sheep and cheese, to say that he had had a present of a little cheese, but the mice had eaten it all up. Then the master, who was rich, proud, and fat, called him a fool, and said that it was not possible that the mice could have eaten the cheese, and all present said the master was right and the peasant wrong. What more could the poor man say? Talk makes talk. After a while the master said that having taken the precaution to rub with oil his ploughshares to keep them from rusting, the mice had eaten off all the points. Then the friend of the cheese broke forth: "But, master, how can it be that the mice cannot eat my cheese, if they can eat the points of your ploughshares?" But the master and all the others began to cry out: "Be silent, you fool! Be silent, you fool! the master is right!"4

The above story really belongs to the class of fables of which there are but few of Oriental origin in the Italian collections.5 The following version of one of the most famous of the Eastern apologues is from Monferrato (Comparetti, No. 67). It is called:


There was once a man who went into the forest to gather wood, and saw a snake crushed under a large stone. He raised the stone a little with the handle of his axe and the snake crawled out. When it was at liberty it said to the man: "I am going to eat you." The man answered: "Softly; first let us hear the judgment of some one, and if I am condemned, then you shall eat me." The first one they met was a horse as thin as a stick, tied to an oak-tree. He had eaten the leaves as far as he could reach, for he was famished. The snake said to him: "Is it right for me to eat this man who has saved my life?" The nag answered: "More than right. Just look at me! I was one of the finest horses. I have carried my master so many years, and what have I gained? Now that I am so badly off that I can no longer work they have tied me to this oak, and after I have eaten these few leaves I shall die of hunger. Eat the man, then; for he who does good is ill rewarded, and he who does evil must be well rewarded. Eat him, for you will be doing a good day's work." They afterwards happened to find a mulberry-tree, all holes, for it was eaten by old age; and the snake asked it if it was right to eat the man who had saved its life. "Yes," the tree answered at once, "for I have given my master so many leaves that he has raised from them the finest silk-worms in the world; now that I can no longer stand upright, he has said that he is going to throw me into the fire. Eat him, then, for you will do well." Afterwards they met the fox. The man took her aside and begged her to pronounce in his favor. The fox said: "The better to render judgment I must see just how the matter has happened." They all returned to the spot and arranged matters as they were at first; but as soon as the man saw the snake under the stone he cried out: "Where you are, there I will leave you." And there the snake remained. The fox wished in payment a bag of hens, and the man promised them to her for the next morning. The fox went there in the morning, and when the man saw her he put some dogs in the bag, and told the fox not to eat the hens close by, for fear the mistress of the house would hear it. So the fox did not open the bag until she had reached a distant valley; then the dogs came out and ate her; and so it is in the world; for who does good is ill rewarded and who does evil is well rewarded.6

It would be surprising if we did not find the fascinating stories of the Thousand and One Nights naturalized among the people. It is, of course, impossible to tell whether they were communicated to the people directly from a literary source, or whether the separate stories came to Italy from the Orient by way of oral transmission.7 These stories have circulated among the people long enough to be treated as their own property and changed to suit their taste. Incidents from other stories have been added and the original story remodelled until it is hardly recognizable. The story of "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp," for instance, is found from Sicily to Lombardy; but in no one version are all the features of the original story preserved. In one of the Sicilian versions (Messina) Aladdin does not lose his lamp; in another (Palermo), after Aladdin has lost his lamp he goes in search of it, and on his journey settles the quarrel of an ant, an eagle, and a lion, who give him the power to transform himself into any one of them. He finally discovers the magician, who has his life elsewhere than in his own body, and who is killed after the usual complicated process. In the Roman version the point of the unfinished window in Aladdin's palace is missed, the magician requires to be killed, as in the version from Palermo, and there are some additional incidents not in the Oriental original. In the Mantuan story, instead of a lamp we have a rusty ring, which the youngest brother finds inside of a dead cock bequeathed to three brothers by their father. After the ring has fallen into the possession of the magician and the palace has disappeared, the hero goes in search of his wife and ring. On his way he is assisted by the "King of the Fishes" and the "King of the Birds." The eagle carries a letter to the captive princess, who obtains the ring from the magican, rubs it on a stone, and when it asks what she wishes, answers: "I wish this palace to return where it first was and the magician to be drowned in the sea."8

Of almost equal popularity is the story of the "Forty Thieves," who are, however, in the Italian versions, reduced to thirteen, twelve, or six in number. The versions in Pitrè (No. 23 and variants) contain but one incident of the original story, where the robbers are detected in the oil-jars, and killed by pouring boiling oil over them. In one of Pitrè's versions the robbers are hidden in sacks of charcoal, and the cunning daughter pierces the bags with a red-hot spit. In another, they are hidden in oil-skins, and sold to the abbess of a certain convent for oil. One of the nuns has some suspicion of the trick, and invites her companions to tap the skins with red-hot irons. Another Sicilian version (Gonz. No. 79, "The Story of the Twelve Robbers") contains the first part of the Arabian tale, the robbers' cave which opens and closes by the words, "Open, door!" and "Shut, door!" The story ends with the death of one of the brothers, who entered the cave and was killed by one of the robbers who had remained. It is only in the version from Mantua (Visentini, No. 7, "The Cunning Maid") that we find the story complete; boiling water is used instead of oil in killing the thieves, and the servant girl afterwards kills the captain, who had escaped before. The story of the "Third Calendar" is told in detail in Comparetti (No. 65, "The Son of the King of France") and the "Two Envious Sisters" furnishes details for a number of distinct stories.9 The story of "The Hunchback" is found in Pitrè and Straparola, and as it is also the subject of an Old-French fabliau, it may have been borrowed from the French, or, what is more likely, both French and Italians took it from a common source.10 The fable of "The Ass, the Ox, and the Peasant," which the Vizier relates to prevent his daughter becoming the Sultan's wife, is found in Pitrè (No. 282) under the title of "The Curious Wife," and is also in Straparola.11 The beautiful story of "Prince Ahmed and the fairy Peribanu" is found in Nerucci, No. 40, "The Three Presents, or the Story of the Carpets." The three presents are the magic telescope that sees any distance, the carpet that carries one through the air, and the magic grapes that bring to life. The Italian version follows closely the Oriental original. The same may be said of another story in the same collection, No. 48, "The Traveller from Turin," which is nothing but Sindbad's "Fourth Voyage."12 The last story taken from the Arabian Nights which we shall mention is that of "The Second Royal Mendicant," found in Comparetti (No. 63, "My Happiness") from the Basilicata, and in the collection of Mantuan stories. The latter (No. 8) is entitled: "There is no longer any Devil." The magician is the devil, and the story concludes, after the transformations in which the peasant's son kills the devil in the shape of a hen, with the words: "And this is the reason why there is no longer any devil."13

The first collection of Oriental tales known in Europe as a collection was the Disciplina Clericalis, that is, Instruction or Teaching for Clerks or Clergymen. It was the work of a converted Spanish Jew, Petrus Alphonsi, and was composed before 1106, the date of the baptism of the author, the time and place of whose death are not known. The Disciplina Clericalis was early translated into French prose and poetry, and was the storehouse from which all subsequent story-tellers drew abundant material.14 Precisely how the Disciplina Clericalis became known in Italy we cannot tell; but the separate stories must have become popular and diffused by word of mouth at a very early date. One of the stories of this collection is found in Italian literature as early as the Cento Novelle Antiche.15 Four of the stories in the Disciplina Clericalis are found in Pitrè and other collections of popular tales, and although belonging, with one exception, to the class of jests, they are mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

In one of the stories of the Disciplina Clericalis, two citizens of a certain town and a countryman were making the pilgrimage to Mecca together, and on the way ran so short of food that they had only flour enough left to make one small loaf. The two citizens in order to cheat the countryman out of his share devised the following scheme: While the bread was baking they proposed that all three should sleep, and whoever should have the most remarkable dream should have the whole loaf. While the citizens were asleep, the countryman, who had divined their plan, stole the half-cooked bread from the fire, ate it, and then threw himself down again. One of the other two pretended to wake up in a fright, and told his companion that he had dreamed that two angels had led him through the gates of heaven into the presence of God. The other declared that he had been led by two angels into the nether-world. The countryman heard all this and still pretended to sleep. When his companions aroused him he asked in amazement: "Who are those calling me?" They answered: "We are your companions." "What," said he, "have you got back already?" "Where have we been to in order to return?" The countryman replied: "It seemed to me that two angels led one of you to heaven, and afterwards two others conducted the other to hell. From this I imagined that neither of you would return, so I got up and ate the bread."16

The same story is told in Pitrè (No. 173) of a monk who was an itinerant preacher, and who was accompanied on his journey by a very cunning lay brother. One day the monk received a present of some fish which he wished to eat himself alone, and therefore proposed to the brother that the one of them who dreamed the best dream should have all the fish. The dreams and the conclusion are the same as in the original.17

The next story is well known from the use made of it by Cervantes in Don Quixote (Part I., chap, xx.) where Sancho relates it to beguile the hours of the memorable night when the noise of the fulling-mill so terrified the doughty knight and his squire. The version in the Disciplina Clericalis is as follows: "A certain king had a story-teller who told him five stories every night. It happened once that the king, oppressed by cares of state, was unable to sleep, and asked for more than the usual number of stories. The story-teller related three short ones. The king wished for more still, and when the story-teller demurred, said: "You have told me several very short ones. I want something long, and then you may go to sleep." The story-teller yielded, and began thus: "Once upon a time there was a certain countryman who went to market and bought two thousand sheep. On his way home a great inundation took place, so that he was unable to cross a certain river by the ford or bridge. After anxiously seeking some means of getting across with his flock, he found at length a little boat in which he could convey two sheep over." After the story-teller had got thus far he went to sleep. The king roused him and ordered him to finish the story he had begun. The story-teller answered: "The flood is great, the boat small, and the flock innumerable; let the aforesaid countryman get his sheep over, and I will finish the story I have begun."18

The version in Pitrè (No. 138) lacks all connection and is poor, but we give it here, as it is very brief.


Once upon a time there was a prince who studied and racked his brains so much that he learned magic and the art of finding hidden treasures. One day he discovered a treasure in a bank, let us say the bank of Ddisisa: "Oh, he says, now I am going to get it out." But to get it out it was necessary that ten million million ants should cross one by one the river Gianquadara (let us suppose it was that one) in a bark made of the half shell of a nut. The prince puts the bark in the river and begins to make the ants pass over. One, two, three, —— and he is still doing it.

Here the person who is telling the story pauses and says: "We will finish this story when the ants have finished passing over."19

The version from Milan is still shorter:


Once upon a time there was a shepherd who went to feed his sheep in the fields, and he had to cross a stream, and he took the sheep up one by one to carry them over. . . .

What then? Go on!

When the sheep are over, I will finish the story.20

In chapter V. we shall meet two popular figures in Sicilian tales, whose jokes are repeated elsewhere as detached stories. One of these persons is Firrazzanu, the practical joker and knave, who is cunning enough to make others bear the penalty of his own boldness. In the story in Pitrè (No. 156, var. 2) Firrazzanu's master wants a tailor for some work, and Firrazzanu tells him he knows of one who is good, but subject to fits, which always make their approach known by a twitching of the mouth, and the only remedy for them is a sound beating. Of course, when the unlucky tailor begins to cut his cloth, he twists his mouth, and receives, to his amazement, a sudden beating.

In this version there is no reason given why Firrazzanu should play such a joke on the innocent tailor. In the original, however, a motive is given for the trick.21

The last story we shall mention from the Disciplina Clericalis is the one known in Pitrè (No. 197) as:


A man once left his country to go to foreign parts, and there entered the service of an abbot. After he had spent some time in faithful service, he desired to see his wife and native land. He said to the abbot: "Sir, I have served you thus long, but now I wish to return to my country." "Yes, my son," said the abbot, "but before departing I must give you the three hundred ounces[1] that I have put together for you. Will you be satisfied with three admonitions, or with the three hundred ounces?" The servant answered: "I will be satisfied with the three admonitions." "Then listen: First: When you change the old road for the new, you will find troubles which you have not looked for. Second: See much and say little. Third: Think over a thing before you do it, for a thing deliberated is very fine.22 Take this loaf of bread and break it when you are truly happy."

The good man departed, and on his journey met other travellers. These said to him: "We are going to take the by-way. Will you come with us?" But he remembering the three admonitions of his master answered: "No, my friends, I will keep on this road." When he had gone half way, bang! bang! he heard some shots. "What was that, my sons?" The robbers had killed his companions. "I have gained the first hundred ounces!" he said, and continued his journey. On his way he arrived at an inn as hungry as a dog and called for something to eat. A large dish of meat was brought which seemed to say: "Eat me, eat me!" He stuck his fork in it and turned it over, and was frightened out of his wits, for it was human flesh! He wanted to ask the meaning of such food and give the innkeeper a lecture, but just then he thought: "See much and say little;" so he remained silent. The innkeeper came, he settled his bill, and took leave. But the innkeeper stopped him and said: "Bravo, bravo! you have saved your life. All those who have questioned me about my food have been soundly beaten, killed, and nicely cooked." "I have gained the second hundred ounces," said the good man, who did not think his skin was safe until then.

When he reached his own country he remembered his house, saw the door ajar and slipped in. He looked about and saw no one, only in the middle of the room was a table, well set with two glasses, two forks, two seats, service for two. "How is this?" he said: "I left my wife alone and here I find things arranged for two. There is some trouble." So he hid himself under the bed to see what went on. A moment after he saw his wife enter, who had gone out a short time before for a pitcher of water. A little after he saw a sprucely dressed young priest come in and seat himself at the table. "Ah, is that he?" and he was on the point of coming forth and giving him a sound beating; but there came to his mind the final admonition of the abbot: "Think over a thing before you do it, for a thing deliberated is very fine;" and he refrained. He saw them both sit down at the table, but before eating his wife turned to the young priest and said: "My son, let us say our accustomed Paternoster for your father." When he heard this he came from under the bed crying and laughing for joy, and embraced and kissed them both so that it was affecting to see him. Then he remembered the loaf his master had given him and told him to eat in his happiness; he broke the loaf and there fell on the table all the three hundred ounces, which the master had secretly put in the loaf.23

We now turn to some stories taken from a collection more famous in some respects than those previously mentioned, The Seven Wise Masters, which enjoyed during the Middle Ages a popularity second only to that of the Bible. Of this collection there are several Italian translations reaching back to the fourteenth century.24 From one of these, or possibly from oral tradition, the stories about to be mentioned passed into the popular tales of Italy. The first story we shall cite is interesting because popular tradition has connected it with Pier delle Vigne, the famous chancellor of the Emperor Frederick the Second. The Venetian version (Bernoni, Trad. pop. venez. Punt. I. p. 11) is in substance as follows:


A king, averse to marriage, commanded his steward to remain single. The latter, however, one day saw a beautiful girl named Vigna, and married her secretly. Although he kept her closely confined in her chamber, the king became suspicious and sent the steward off on an embassy. After his departure the king entered the apartment occupied by him, and saw his officer's wife sleeping. He did not disturb her, but, in leaving the room, dropped one of his gloves accidentally on the bed. When the husband returned he found it, but kept a discreet silence, ceasing, however, all demonstrations of affection, believing his wife had been faithless. The king, anxious to see again the beautiful woman, made a feast and ordered the steward to bring his wife. He denied in vain that he had one, but brought her at last, and while every one else was talking gayly at the feast she was silent. The king observed it and asked her the cause of her silence; and she answered with a pun on her name: "Vineyard I was and Vineyard I am, I was loved and no longer am: I know not for what reason the Vineyard has lost its season." Her husband, who heard this, replied: "Vineyard thou wast and Vineyard thou art, loved thou wast and no longer art: the Vineyard has lost its season for the lion's claw." The king, who understood what he meant, answered: "I entered the Vineyard, I touched the leaves, but I swear by my crown that I have not tasted the fruit." Then the steward understood that his wife was innocent, and the two made peace and always after lived happy and contented.25

This story is found only in the Greek and Hebrew versions of The Seven Wise Masters, and in the Arabic Seven Viziers. It did not pass into any of the Occidental versions, although it was known to Boccaccio, who based on it the fifth novel of the first day of the Decameron. Either, then, the story is a late adaptation of the Oriental tale, which is unlikely, or it comes from some now lost, but once popular Italian version of the Oriental form of The Seven Wise Masters.26

The three following stories are found only in the Western, or European versions of the collection. The first, technically called "Vaticinium" or "The Prophecy," relates that a son who understood the language of birds heard the prediction that his father and mother should come to such want that they would not have bread to eat; but that he, the son, should rise so high that his father should offer him water to wash his hands with. The father, enraged at this prediction, threw his son into the sea. He was rescued, and after many adventures, married the daughter of the king of Sicily. One day, while riding through Messina, he saw his father and mother, meanly dressed, sitting at the door of an inn. He alighted from his horse, entered their house, and asked for food. After his father and mother had brought him water to wash his hands he revealed himself to them and forgave his father for his cruelty.

The only Italian version, and disfigured by some extraneous details, is in the Mantuan tales (Visentini, No. 50): "Fortune aid me." Here the son does not hear the prophecy from the birds, but an angel tells a king, who has long desired a son, that he shall have one whom he shall one day serve. When the child was ten years old the king was so vexed by the prediction that he exposed his son in a wood. The child was found by a magician, who brought him up, and from whom he afterwards escaped. He went to the court of the king, his father, and won the hand of the princess (his own sister) by leaping his horse over a broad ditch. At the marriage banquet the king handed his son a glass of wine, and the latter recognized him and exclaimed: "Behold, the father serves the son." The marriage was of course given up and the previous aversion of the sister explained.27

Closely connected with the original story in The Seven Wise Masters is the class of stories where the hero is acquainted with the language of animals, and attains by means of it some high position (generally becoming pope) after he has been driven from home by his father. The following version is from Monferrato (Comparetti, No. 56) and is entitled:


A father once had a son who spent ten years in school. At the end of that time, the teacher wrote the father to take away his son because he could not teach him anything more. The father took the boy home and gave a grand banquet in his honor, to which he invited the most noble gentlemen of the country. After many speeches by those gentlemen, one of the guests said to the host's son: "Just tell us some fine thing that you have learned." "I have learned the language of dogs, of frogs, and of birds." There was universal laughter on hearing this, and all went away ridiculing the pride of the father and the foolishness of the son. The former was so ashamed at his son's answer and so angry at him that he gave him up to two servants, with orders to take him into a wood and kill him and to bring back his heart. The two servants did not dare to obey this command, and instead of the lad they killed a dog, and carried its heart to their master. The youth fled from the country and came to a castle a long way off, where lived the treasurer of the prince, who had immense treasures. There he asked for and obtained a lodging, but scarcely had he entered the house when a multitude of dogs collected about the castle. The treasurer asked the young man why so many dogs had come, and as the latter understood their language he answered that it meant that a hundred assassins would attack the castle that very evening, and that the treasurer should take his precautions. The castellan made two hundred soldiers place themselves in ambush about the castle and at night they arrested the assassins. The treasurer was so grateful to the youth that he wished to give him his daughter, but he replied that he could not remain now, but that he would return within a year and three days. After he left that castle he arrived at a city where the king's daughter was very ill because the frogs which were in a fountain near the palace gave her no rest with their croaking. The lad perceived that the frogs croaked because the princess had thrown a cross into the fountain, and as soon as it was removed the girl recovered. The king, too, wished the lad to marry her, but he again said that he would return within a year and three days. After leaving the king he set out for Rome, and on the way met three young men, who became his companions. One day it was very warm and all three lay down to sleep under an oak. Immediately a great flock of birds flew into the oak and awakened the pilgrims by their loud singing. One of them asked: "Why are these birds singing so joyfully?" The youth answered: "They are rejoicing with the new Pope, who is to be one of us."

And suddenly a dove alighted on his head, and in truth shortly after he was made Pope. Then he sent for his father, the treasurer, and the king. All presented themselves trembling, for they knew that they had committed some sin. But the Pope made them all relate their deeds, and then turned to his father and said: "I am the son whom you sent to be killed because I said I understood the language of birds, of dogs, and of frogs. You have treated me thus, and on the other hand a treasurer and a king have been very grateful for this knowledge of mine." The father, repenting his fault, wept bitterly, and his son pardoned him and kept him with him while he lived.28

The next story is doubly interesting because it is found not only in the mediæval collection last mentioned, but also in Greek literature, being told of Rampsinitus, King of Egypt, by Herodotus (II. 121), and by Pausanias of the two architects Agamedes and Trophonius who robbed the treasury of Hyrieus.29 There are four versions in Italian: two from Sicily (Pitrè, Nos. 159, 160), one from Bologna (Coronedi-Berti, No. 2), and one from Monferrato (Comparetti, No. 13). In one of the Sicilian versions (Pitrè, No. 159), and in the other two from Bologna and Monferrato, the thieves are two friends. In the other Sicilian version they are a father and son. We give a translation of the last named version, which is called:


There was once a mason who had a wife and son. One day the king sent for the mason to build a country-house in which to put his money, for he was very rich and had no place to keep it. The mason set to work with his son. In one corner they put in a stone that could be taken out and put back, large enough for a man to enter. When the house was finished the king paid them and they went home. The king then had his money carted to the house and put guards around it. After a few days he saw that no one went there and took away the guard. Let us leave the king, who took away the guard, and return to the mason. When his money was gone he said to his son: "Shall we go to the country-house?" They took a sack and went there. When they arrived at the house they took out the stone and the father entered and filled the bag with gold. When he came out he put the stone back as it was before and they departed. The next day the king rode out to his house and saw that his pile of gold had diminished. He said to his servants: "Who has been taking the money?" The servants answered: "It is not possible, your Majesty; for who comes here; where could they get in? It may be that the house has settled, being newly built." So they took and repaired it. After a while the mason said again to his son: "Let us go back there." They took the accustomed sack and went there; arriving as usual they took out the stone and the father entered, filled the sack, and they departed. The same night they made another trip, filled the same sack again, and went away. The next day the king visited the house with his soldiers and councillors. When he entered he went to see the money and it was very greatly diminished; he turned to his councillors and said: "Some one comes here and takes the money." The councillors said: "But, your Majesty, while you are saying so, one thing can be done; take a few tubs, fill them with melted pitch, and place them around the walls on the inside, whoever enters will fall in them, and the thief is found."

They took the tubs and put them inside, and the king left sentinels and returned to the city. The sentinels remained there a week; but as they saw no one, they, too, left.

Let us leave the sentinels, who have departed, and return to the mason. He said to his son: "Let us go to the accustomed place." They took the sack and went. Arriving there, they took out the stone, and the father entered. As he entered he stuck fast in the pitch. He tried to help himself and get his feet loose, but his hands stuck fast. Then he said to his son: "Do you hear what I tell you, my son? Cut off my head, tear my coat to pieces, put back the stone as it was, and throw my head in the river, so that I shall not be known." The son did as he was told, and returned home. When he told his mother what had become of his father, she began to tear her hair. After a few days, the son, who did not know any trade, entered the service of a carpenter, and told his mother not to say anything, as if nothing had happened.

Let us leave these and return to the king, who went the next day with his councillors to the country-house. They entered and saw the body, and the king said: "But it has no head! How shall we find out who it is?" The councillors said: "Take him and carry him through the streets three days; where you see weeping you will know who it is." They took the body, and called Filippu Carruba and Brasi Vutùru,[2] and made them carry it about. When they passed through the street where the mason's widow lived, she began to weep. The son, whose shop was near by, heard it, and gave himself a blow in the hand with an axe and cut off his fingers. The police arrested the mother, saying: "We have found out who it is." Meanwhile the son arrived there and said: "She is not weeping for that; she is weeping because I have cut off my fingers and can no longer work and earn my bread." The police saw it was so, believed him, and departed. At night they carried the body to the palace and built outside a scaffold to put the body on, because they had to carry it around three days. About the scaffold they placed nine sentinels—eight soldiers and a corporal. Now it was in the winter and was very cold; so the son took a mule and loaded it with drugged wine, and passed up and down. When the soldiers saw him they cried: "Friend, are you selling that wine?" He said: "I am." "Wait until we drink, for we are trembling with the cold." After they had drunk they threw themselves down and went to sleep, and the son took the body, and, after he had buried it outside of the town, returned home.

[In the morning the soldiers awoke and told the king what had happened, and he issued a proclamation that whoever found the body should receive a large sum of money. The body was found and carried about the street again, but no one wept. That night new sentinels were appointed, but the same thing happened as the night before. The soldiers were drugged and dressed in monks' robes, and the corporal had a cross stuck between his legs. The next day another proclamation, the body again found and carried about, but no one detected weeping. The story then continues:]

The mason's son (here called for the first time Ninu) could not rest, and went to Cianedda.[3] "Will you do me a favor?" "If I can," answered Cianedda; "not one, but two. What can I do for you?" "Will you lend me your goats this evening?" "I will." Ninu took them, bought four rotula[4] of candles and an old earthen pot, knocked out the bottom and fastened some candles around it. Then he took the goats and fixed two candles to the horns of each one and took them where the body was, and followed with the pot on his head and the candles lighted. The soldiers ran away in terror, and the son took the body and threw it in the sea.

[The next day the king commanded that the price of meat should be set at twelve tari[5] a rotulu, and ordered that all the old women of the city should assemble at the palace. A hundred came, and he told them to go begging about the city and find out who was cooking meat; thinking that only the thief could afford to buy meat at that price. Ninu, of course, bought some and gave it to his mother to cook. While it was cooking, and Ninu absent, one of the old women came begging, and the widow gave her a piece of meat. As she was going down-stairs Ninu met her and asked her what she was doing. She explained that she was begging for some bread. Ninu, suspecting the trick, took her and threw her into the well.]

At noon, when the old women were to present themselves to the king, one was missing. The king then sent for the butchers, and found that just one rotulu of meat had been sold. When the king saw this, he issued a proclamation to find out who had done all these wonders, and said: "If he is unmarried, I will give him my daughter; if he is married, I will give him two measures of gold." Ninu presented himself to the king and said: "Your Majesty, it was I." The king burst out laughing, and asked: "Are you married or single?" He said: "Your Majesty, I am single." And the king said: "Will you be satisfied with my daughter, or with two measures of gold?" "Your Majesty," he said, "I want to marry; give me your daughter." So he did, and they had a grand banquet.30

The story in The Seven Wise Masters, known as "Inclusa" or "The Elopement," is found only in Pitrè (No. 176), where it is told of a tailor who lived next to the king's palace, with which his house communicated by a secret door known only to the king and the tailor's wife. The tailor, while at work in the palace, imagines he sees his wife there, and pretending that he has forgotten his shears, etc., rushes home to find his wife there. She finally elopes with the king, leaving at her window an image that deceives her husband until she is beyond pursuit.31

Far more curious than any of the stories above given is the last one we shall mention from The Seven Wise Masters. The story in this collection known as "Avis," or "The Talking Bird," is briefly as follows: A jealous husband has a talking bird that is a spy upon his wife's actions. In order to impair his confidence in the bird, one night while he is absent the wife orders a servant to shower water over the bird's cage, to make a heavy sound like thunder, and to imitate the flashing of lightning with candles. The bird, on its master's return, tells him of the terrific storm the night before, and is killed for its supposed falsehood. This story is found in both the Eastern and Western versions of The Seven Wise Masters, and practically constitutes the framework of another famous Oriental collection, the Çukasaptati (from çuka, a parrot, and saptati, seventy, The Seventy Tales of a Parrot), better known by its Persian and Turkish name, Tûtî-Nâmeh, Tales of a Parrot.32 The frame, or groundwork, of the various Oriental versions is substantially the same. A husband is obliged to leave home on business, and while he is absent his wife engages in a love affair with a stranger. A parrot, which the husband has left behind, prevents the wife meeting her lover by telling her stories which interest her so much that she keeps putting off her appointment until her husband returns. In the Turkish version the parrot reconciles the husband and wife; in the Persian versions the parrot relates what has happened, and the faithless wife is killed.

The Italian versions, as will soon be seen, are not derived from The Seven Wise Masters, but from the Çukasaptati; and what is very curious, the framework has been retained and filled with stories that are not in the original.33 The most simple version is from Pisa (Comparetti, No. 1), and is called:

XLV. THE PARROT (First Version).

There was once a merchant who had a beautiful daughter, with whom the king and the viceroy were both in love. The former knew that the merchant would soon have to depart on business, and he would then have a chance to speak with the girl. The viceroy knew it, too, and pondered on how he could prevent the king succeeding in his plan. He was acquainted with a witch, and promised her immunity and a large sum of money if she would teach him how to change himself into a parrot. This she did, and of course the merchant bought him for his daughter, and departed.

When the parrot thought it was about time for the king to come, he said to the girl: "Now, to amuse you, I will tell you a story; but you must attend to me and not see any one while I am telling it." Then he began his story, and after he had gone a little way in it a servant entered and told her mistress that there was a letter for her. "Tell her to bring it later," said the parrot, "and now listen to me." "I do not receive letters while my father is away," said the mistress, and the parrot continued. After a while another interruption. A servant announces the visit of an aunt. (It was not an aunt, but a woman who came from the king.) The parrot said: "Do not receive her; we are in the finest part of our story," and the young girl sent word that she did not receive any visits while her father was absent, and the parrot went on. When his story was ended the girl was so pleased that she would listen to no one else until her father returned. Then the parrot disappeared, and the viceroy visited the merchant and asked his daughter's hand. He consented, and the marriage took place that very day. The wedding was scarcely over when a gentleman came to ask the girl's hand for the king; but it was too late, and the poor king, who was much in love with her, died of a broken heart, and the girl remained the wife of the viceroy, who had been more cunning than the king.

We have omitted the story told by the parrot because we shall meet it again in the Sicilian version, and substantially in the following version from Florence, which we give entire on account of the rarity of the work in which it is found, and for its own merits.34 It is also entitled:

XLVI. THE PARROT. (Second Version.)

Once upon a time there was a merchant who, having to go on a journey, gave his wife a parrot to amuse her in her loneliness. The wife, vexed that her husband should leave her so soon, threw the bird in a corner and thought no more about it. At evening she went to the window and saw pass a young man, who fell in love with her as soon as he saw her. On the first floor there lived a woman who sold coals, and the young man began to tempt her to help him in his love affair. She would not promise, because the merchant's wife had been married but a few days, and was an honest woman. She added, however, that there was a way; her daughter was to be married shortly, she would invite the young wife to the wedding, and the young man, being there too, could manage the rest. The wife accepted the invitation, dressed herself in her finest clothes, and was on the point of leaving when the parrot cried from its corner: "O mistress, where are you going? I wished to tell you a story; but suit yourself." The wife then dismissed the coal-woman, who, not to spoil matters, promised to put off the wedding and return for her the next day. Then the parrot began:

"Once upon a time there was a king's son whose master was so learned in magic that with certain words he could change himself into various animals. The prince wanted to learn these words, too; but the magician hesitated and refused, although he had to yield at last. Then the prince became a crow and flew far away to a distant country and into the garden of a king, where he saw a beautiful girl with a mirror in which was set her portrait. The crow in wonder snatched the glass from her hands, and flew home and resumed his own form, but he fell so deeply in love with the unknown girl that he became ill.

"She, meanwhile, who was the daughter of a king, seeing the glass taken from her, no longer had any peace of mind, and begged her father until he gave her permission to go in search of it. She dressed herself like a physician and departed. She came to a city and heard a proclamation by the king, that whatever physician should pass that way should be obliged to visit and try to cure his daughter. Then the new physician had to go to the palace, but she could not discover any remedy for the grave disease. At night, while sitting by the princess' bed, the light went out, and she left the room to light it, and saw in a little cottage three old women sitting around a cauldron boiling over a great fire. 'Good women, are you washing?' 'What a washing! these are three heads, and when they are cooked the princess will die.' 'Bravo, my good women; bring the wood and I will help, too.' She remained there some time and promised to return. The brighter the fire burned, the nearer the princess came to death. The physician consoled the king and had a fine supper prepared. The second night she carried food and a great deal of wine to the old women, and when they were drunk threw them into the fire and lifted off the cauldron with the boiling heads. The princess recovered and the king wished to give her to the physician and reward him with gems and gold, but the physician would take nothing, and departed."

"You know, mistress, it is late and I am tired," interrupted the parrot; "I will tell you the rest to-morrow."

The next day the woman who sold coals came again, and the merchant's wife was on the point of accompanying her; but the parrot detained her, promising to finish the story. So the woman went away in anger, and the parrot continued:

"The princess disguised as a physician journeyed until she came to another city, and heard a proclamation by the king, that every physician who passed that way should be forced to visit and attempt to cure his son. The new physician, too, had to go to court; but could find no remedy for the severe disease. At night, while sitting at the bedside of the prince, she heard a loud noise in the next room: went to the door and saw three old women, who were preparing a banquet. Afterwards they approached the invalid, anointed him from head to foot, and carried him healed to the table; then when they were full of wine and merry, they anointed him again and replaced him on his bed worse than before. The physician comforted the king, and the second night allowed the witches to take the prince to the table, then appeared and frightening the old women with threats of the king's anger drove them from the room and restored the son to his father. The king, well pleased, wished to recompense the physician, who would take nothing, and departed."

"But you know, mistress, it is late and I am weary. I will tell you the rest to-morrow."

The next day the woman who sold coals returned, and the merchant's wife was on the point of following her; but the parrot detained her, promising to finish the story. The woman went away angry, and the parrot continued:

"After a long journey the princess disguised as a physician came to another city, and heard a proclamation by the king, that every physician who passed that way should be compelled to visit and attempt to cure his son. The new physician, too, had to go to court; but she could find no remedy for the severe disease. The prince would speak to no one, but the physician at last made the invalid disclose the secret of his heart, and he told of the mirror and showed the portrait of the unknown lady whom he loved desperately. The physician consoled the king; had garments and ornaments exactly like those of the young girl in the glass prepared; dressed in them, and as she appeared before the prince he leaped from his bed, embracing his betrothed in the midst of rejoicings."

But here the lady hears her husband arriving. Joy makes her beside herself; and she throws from the window the poor parrot, which now seems to her only a tiresome companion. The merchant enters and inquires about the bird; sees the parrot hurt upon the neighboring roof and picks it up kindly. The parrot narrates to him the wiles of the coal-woman and its own prudence; assures the husband that his wife is innocent; but complains of her being so ungrateful; she had promised him a gold vase, and now treats him thus. The merchant consoles the dying bird, and afterwards has him embalmed and placed in the gold vase. As for his wife, he loved her more than ever.

Another version from Piedmont (Comparetti, No. 2; De Gub. Zoöl. Myth. II. 322) differs materially from the ones just given. A king is obliged to go to war and leave behind him his wife, with whom another king is in love. Before parting he forbids his wife to leave the palace during his absence, and presents her with a parrot. No sooner has the king departed than his rival attempts to obtain an interview with the queen by giving a feast and inviting her to it. The parrot prevents her going by relating the story contained in the first version. They are interrupted in the same manner by an old woman sent by the lover, but to no purpose. When the story is finished, the husband returns, and the parrot becomes a young man, whom the king had engaged to watch over his wife's fidelity.

The Sicilian version of our story is the most interesting as well as the most complete of all; the single story in the continental versions has been expanded into three, and the frame is more artistic. The story is the second in Pitrè, and is as follows:


Once upon a time there was a rich merchant who wanted to marry, and who happened to find a wife as good as the day was long, and who loved her husband desperately. One day she saw him a little annoyed, and said: "What makes you feel so?" "What should make me feel so! I have important business to attend to, and must go and see to it on the spot." "And are you annoyed about that? let us arrange matters thus: you will leave me provisions and close up all the doors and windows but one high up; make me a wicket, and then depart." "The advice pleases me," said her husband, and he laid in at once a large provision of bread, flour, oil, coals, and everything; had all the doors and windows closed up but one, to take the air, had a wicket made like those in the convents, and departed, and the wife remained with her maid. The next day a servant called at the wicket to do what was necessary and then went away. After ten days the lady began to be oppressed, and had a great mind to cry. The maid said: "There is a remedy for everything, my mistress; let us draw the table up to the window, and climb up and enjoy the sight of the Corso." They did so, and the lady looked out. "Ah! I thank you, sirs!" As she uttered the ah! opposite her was a notary's office, and there were the notary and a cavalier. They turned and saw this beautiful young woman. "Oh! what a handsome woman! I must speak with her!" said the cavalier. "No: I will speak first," said the notary. And "I first," and "I first." They laid a wager of four hundred ounces as to who would speak with her first. The lady perceived them and withdrew from the window.

The notary and the cavalier thought about the bet, and had no rest running here and there and trying to speak with the lady. At last the notary in despair went out into the fields and began to call his demon. The demon appeared and the notary told him everything, saying: "And this cavalier wishes to have the advantage of speaking with the lady first." "What will you give me?" said the demon. "My soul." "Then see what you have to do; I will change you into a parrot and you must fly and alight on the window of the lady. The maid will take you and have a silver cage made for you and put you in it. The cavalier will find an old woman who is able to make the lady leave the house. But she will not make her leave, you know. You must say: 'My pretty mamma, sit down while I tell you a story.' The old woman will come thrice; you must tear out your feathers and fly into a passion and say always: 'My pretty mamma, don't go with that old woman, she will betray you; sit down while I tell you a story.' And then tell her any story you wish."

The demon ended with: "Man you are, become a parrot!" and the parrot flew away to the window. The maid saw it and caught it with her handkerchief. When the lady saw the parrot she said: "How beautiful you are! Now you will be my consolation." "Yes, pretty mamma, I will love you, too." The lady had a silver cage made, and shut the parrot up in it.

Let us leave the parrot in the cage, and return to the cavalier, who was making desperate efforts to see the lady. An old woman met him, and asked him what the matter was. "Must I tell you what the matter is?" and dismissed her; but the old woman was persistent. At last to get rid of her he told her all about the wager. The old woman said: "I am able to make you speak with the lady. You must have prepared for me two handsome baskets of early fruit." The cavalier was so anxious to see the lady that he had the baskets of early fruit prepared and given to her. With these things the old woman went to the wicket, pretending that she was the lady's grandmother. The lady believed her. One word brings on another. "Tell me, my granddaughter, you are always shut up, but don't you hear mass Sundays?" "How could I hear it shut up?" "Ah, my daughter, you will be damned. No, this is not well. You must hear mass Sundays. To-day is a feast day; let us go to mass."

While the lady was being persuaded, the parrot began to lament. When its mistress opened the clothespress, the parrot said: "My pretty mamma, don't go, for the old woman will betray you. If you don't go I will tell you a story." The lady took an idea into her head. "Now, my grandmother," she said, "go away, for I cannot come." And the old woman went away. When she had gone, the lady went to the parrot, which related to her this story:


Once upon a time there was a king who had an only daughter, who was very fond of dolls, and had one that was her delight. She dressed her and undressed her and put her to bed, in short did for her what is done for children. One day the king wished to go into the country, and the princess wished to take the doll. While they were walking about, in a moment of forgetfulness, she left her doll on a hedge. It was meal time, and after they had eaten they got into the carriage and returned to the royal palace. What do you suppose the princess forgot? the doll!

As soon as they arrived at the palace the princess remembered the doll. What did she do? Instead of going up-stairs, she turned round and went to look for the doll. When she got outdoors, she became lost and wandered about like a person bereft of her senses. After a time she came to a royal palace and asked who was the king of that palace. "The King of Spain," they said. She asked for a lodging. She entered; the king gave her lodging and treated her like a daughter. She made herself at home in the palace and began to be the mistress. The king had no daughters and gave her liberty to do as she pleased in spite of twelve royal damsels. Now, as there is envy among equals, the damsels began to oppose her. Said they: "Just see! Who knows who she is? and is she to be our princess? Now this thing must stop!" The next day they said to the princess: "Will you come with us?" "No, because papa does not wish it. If he is willing, I will come." "Do you know what you must do to make him let you come? tell him: 'By the soul of his daughter he must let you go.' When he hears that, he will let you go at once." The princess did so, but when the king heard her say: "By the soul of his daughter!" "Ah! wretch," exclaimed the king; "quick, throw her down the trap-door!" When the princess fell down the trap-door she found a door, then another, and another, always feeling her way along. At a certain point she felt with her hands like the blind, and found tinder and matches. She then lighted a candle which she found there, and saw a beautiful young girl, with a padlock on her mouth, so that she could not speak, but she made signs that the key to open it with was under the pillow of the bed. The princess got it and opened the padlock; then the young girl spoke, and said that she was the daughter of the king whom a magician had stolen. This magician brought her, every day, something to eat, and then locked up her mouth, and she had to wait until the next day to open it again. "But tell me," said the princess, "what way is there to free you?" "How do I know? I can do nothing but ask the magician when he opens my mouth; you hide under the bed and listen, and afterwards think what has to be done." "Good! good!" The princess locked her mouth, put the key under the pillow, and crawled under the bed. But at midnight a great noise was heard; the earth opened, lightning, smoke, and smell of sulphur, and the magician appeared in a magician's robe. With the magician was a giant with a bowl of food, and two servants with two torches. The magician sent away the servants, and locked the doors, took the key, and opened the mouth of the king's daughter. While they were eating, she said: "Magician, I have a thought: out of curiosity I would like to know what it would be necessary for me to do to escape from here." "You want to know a great deal, my daughter!" "Never mind, I don't care to know." "However, I will tell you. It would be necessary to make a mine all around the palace, and precisely at midnight, when I am on the point of entering, to explode the mine: you will find yourself with your father, and I will fly up in the air." "It's as if you had not told any one," said the young girl. The magician dressed himself and went away. After a few hours the princess came out from under the bed, took leave of her little sister, for she already called her "little sister," and departed.

She went back to the trap-door and, at a certain point, stopped and called for help. The king heard her, and had a rope lowered. The princess climbed up and related everything to the king. He was astounded, and began the mine, which he had filled with shot, powder, and balls. When it was full to the brim, the princess descended with a watch and went to the king's daughter: "Either both dead, or both alive!" When she entered the room, she said: "It is I," took the lock from her mouth, talked with her, and then concealed herself under the bed. At midnight the magician came, and the king was on the lookout, with his watch in his hand. As the clock struck twelve, the princess fired the mine: boom! and a great noise was heard: the magician vanished, and the two young girls found themselves free and in each other's arms. When the king saw them, he exclaimed: "Ah! my daughters! your misfortune was your good fortune. My crown belongs to you," said he to the princess whom he had adopted. "No, your Majesty, for I am a king's daughter, and I, too, have a crown."

This matter spread over the world, and her fame passed through all the kingdoms, and every one talked of nothing but the great courage and goodness of this princess who had delivered the other princess from the magician. And they remained happy and always enjoyed holy peace.

"What do you think, pretty mamma, of this story?" "It is very fine," said the lady to the parrot.

A week passed after the story; the old woman again came with two other baskets of fruit to her granddaughter: "Pretty idea!" said the parrot. "Take care, pretty mamma; the old woman is coming." The old woman said: "Come, my daughter, are you going to mass?" "Yes, my grandmother;" and the lady began dressing herself. When the parrot saw her dressing herself it began to tear out its feathers and weep: "No, pretty mamma, don't go to mass; that old woman will ruin you. If you will stay with me, I will tell you another story." "Now go away," said the lady to the old woman, "for I cannot kill my dear little parrot, for the sake of the mass." "Ah! wicked woman! to lose your soul for an animal!" The old woman went away and the parrot told this story:


Well then, my lady, there was once upon a time a king who had an only daughter as beautiful as the sun and moon. When she was eighteen a Turkish king wished to marry her. When she heard that it was a Turkish king she said: "What do I want of Turks!" and refused him. Shortly after she became very ill, convulsions, twisting of the body, rolling of her eyes to the back of her head, and the doctors did not know what was the matter. The poor father in confusion called his council together, and said: "Gentlemen, my daughter is losing ground every day; what advice do you give me?" The sages said: "Your Majesty, there is a young girl who found the daughter of the King of Spain;[6] find her and she will tell you what must be done for your daughter." "Bravo! the council has been favorable." The king ordered vessels to go for this young girl: "And if the King of Spain will not let her go, give him this iron glove and declare war!" The vessels departed and reached Spain one morning. They fired a salute, the ambassador landed, presented himself to the king, and gave him a sealed letter. The king opened it and after reading it began to weep and said: "I prefer war, and I will not give up this girl." Meanwhile the girl entered: "What is the matter, your Majesty? (and she saw the letter). What are you afraid of? I will go at once to this king." "How, my daughter, will you then leave me thus?" "I will return. I will go and see what is the matter with this young girl and then come back."

She took leave of her half-sister and departed. When she arrived the king went to meet her: "My daughter, if you cure this sick daughter of mine, I will give you my crown!" "That makes two crowns!" she said to herself. "I have a crown, your Majesty. Let us see what the matter is, and never mind the crowns." She went and saw the princess all wasted away. She turned to the king and said: "Your Majesty! have some broth and substantial things made," and they were prepared at once. "I am going to shut myself up with your daughter, and you must not open the door, for in three days I will give her to you alive or dead. And listen to what I say: even if I should knock you must not open." Everything was arranged and the door was fastened with chains and padlocks, but they forgot the tinder to light the candle with at night. In the evening there was great confusion. The young girl did not wish to knock, and as she looked out of the window she saw a light at a distance. So she descended by a ladder of silk, taking with her a candle. When she drew near the light she saw a large cauldron placed on some stones and a furnace under it, and a Turk who was stirring it with a stick. "What are you doing, Turk?" "My king wanted the daughter of the king, she did not want him, he is bewitching her." "My poor little Turk! You are tired, are you not? do you know what you must do? rest yourself a little while I stir." "I will, by Mahomet!" He got down; she got up and began to stir with the stick. "Am I doing it all right thus?" "Yes, by Mahomet." "Well then, you take a nap, and I will stir." When he was asleep, she came down, seized him, and threw him into the boiling cauldron, where he died. When she saw that he was dead, she lighted her candle and returned to the palace. She entered the room and found the invalid had fainted on the floor. She brought her to with cologne water (acqua d' oduri) and in three days she had recovered. Then she knocked at the door and the king entered, beside himself at finding his daughter cured. "Ah! my daughter," he said to the young girl who had healed her, "how much we owe you! you must remain here with me." "It is impossible; you threatened my father with war if he did not allow me to come; now my father declares war with you if you do not let me return to him." She remained there a fortnight, then departed, and the king gave her quantities of riches and jewels. She returned to the king of Spain's palace.

And so the story ends.

"What did you think of the story, pretty mamma?" said the parrot. "Beautiful, beautiful." "But you must not go with the old woman, because there is treason."

After a week the old woman came with her baskets. "My daughter, you must do me this pleasure to-day, come and hear the holy mass." "I will." When the parrot heard that, he began to weep and tear out his feathers: "No, my pretty mamma, don't go with the old woman. If you will stay, I will tell you another story." "Grandmother mine," says she, "I can't come, for I don't wish to lose the parrot for your sake." She closed the wicket and the old woman went away grumbling and cursing. The lady then seated herself near the parrot, which told this story:


Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who had an only son, whose sole diversion was the chase. Once he wished to go hunting at a distance, and took with him his attendants. Where do you think he happened to go? To the country where the doll was.[7] When he saw the doll he said: "I have finished my hunt, let us return home!" He took the doll and placed it before him on the horse, and exclaimed every few minutes: "How beautiful this doll is! think of its mistress!" When he reached the palace he had a glass case made in the wall, and put the doll in it, and kept looking at it continually and saying: "How beautiful the doll is! think of the mistress!"

The young man would not see any one and became so melancholy that his father summoned the physicians, who said: "Your Majesty, we know nothing of this illness; see what he does with his doll." The king went to see his son and found him gazing at the doll, and exclaiming: "Oh! how beautiful the doll is! think of the mistress!" The physicians departed as wise as when they came. The prince meanwhile did nothing but sit and look at the doll, and draw deep breaths, and sigh, and exclaim: "How beautiful the doll is! think of the mistress!" The king at last, in despair, summoned his council, and said: "See how my son is reduced! He has no fever, or pain in his head, but he is wasting away, and some one else will enjoy my kingdom! Give me advice." "Majesty, are you perplexed? Is there not that young girl who found the King of Spain's daughter, and cured the other princess? Send for her. If her father will not let her come, declare war with him."

The king sent his ambassadors with the message that the young girl should be sent nolens volens. While the ambassadors were in the king's presence, his daughter entered, the one who had done the wonders, and found her father perplexed: "What is the matter, your Majesty?" "Nothing, my daughter. Another occasion has arrived, another king wants you. Does he mean that I am no longer your master?" "Never mind, your Majesty; let me go; I will soon return."

So she embarked with all her attendants and began her journey. When she arrived where the prince was, she saw him drawing such deep breaths that it seemed as if he would swallow himself, and always exclaiming: "Oh! how beautiful the doll is! think of the mistress!" She said: "You have called me none too soon! However, give me a week: bring me ointments, food; and in a week, alive and well, or dead."

She shut herself up with him and listened to hear what the prince said, for she had not yet heard what he was saying, he was so feeble. When she heard him whisper: "Oh! how be-au-ti-ful is the doll; con-sid-er," and saw the doll, she cried: "Ah! wretch! it was you who had my doll! Leave it to me, I will cure you." When he heard these words he came to himself and said: "Are you the doll's mistress?" "I am." Just think! he returned to life and she began to give him broth until she had restored him. When he was restored she said: "Now tell me how you got the doll," and the prince told her everything. To make the matter short, in a week the prince was cured, and they declared that they would marry each other. The king, beside himself with joy because his son was healed, wrote several letters: one to the King of Spain to tell him that his daughter had found her doll, another to the other king, her father, to tell him that his daughter was found, and another to the king whose daughter she had cured. Afterwards all these monarchs came together and made great festivals, and the prince married the princess, and they lived together in great peace.

"Has this story pleased you, pretty mamma?" "Yes, my son." "But you must not go with the old woman, you know."

After the story was ended a servant came: "My lady, my lady, the master is coming!" "Truly!" said the lady. "Now, parrot, listen; I will have a new cage made for you." The master arrived, the windows were all opened, and he embraced his wife. At dinner they placed the parrot in the middle of the table, and when the joy was at its height the bird threw some soup in its master's eyes. The master, when he felt it, put his hands to his eyes, and the parrot darted at his throat, strangled him, and flew away.

He flew away to the country, and saying, "I am a parrot, and I become a man," he was changed into a handsome, cunning, and well-kempt man on the Corso. He met the cavalier: "Do you know," said this one, "that the poor lady's husband is dead? a parrot strangled him!" "Truly? poor woman! poor woman!" said the notary, and went his way without speaking of the wager. The notary learned that the lady had a mother, and went to her to ask her daughter in marriage. After hesitating, the lady finally said yes, and they were married. That evening the notary said to the lady: "Now tell me, who killed your husband?" "A parrot." "And what about this parrot?" The lady told him everything to where the parrot dashed the broth in its master's eyes, and then flew away. "True! true!" said the notary. "Was I not the parrot?" "It was you! I am amazed." "It was I, and I became a parrot for your sake!"

The next day the notary went to the cavalier to get the four hundred ounces of the wager, which he enjoyed with his wife.

The three stories related by the parrot are, as has been seen, in reality one story, and they are, in fact found as such independent of the frame.35 It has also been seen that the story or stories related by the parrot are, substantially, the same in all the versions. The Florentine version alone does not contain the episode of the doll. The story, as a whole, has no parallels, although it bears a slight resemblance to the story in the Pentamerone (II. 2), "Green Meadow." The princess as physician, and the secret malady of the prince or princess, are traits which abound in all the popular tales of Europe.36

Many single stories of Oriental origin will be found in the chapters following. We shall close this one with a story which was popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, being found in one of the great collections of that period, the Gesta Romanorum. Of the various Italian versions we shall select one from Pomigliano d'Arco called:


Once upon a time there was a mother who had a son named Joseph; and because he never told a lie she called him Truthful Joseph. One day when she was calling him, the king happened to pass by, and hearing her call him thus, asked her: "Why do you call him Truthful Joseph?" "Because he never tells a lie." Then the king said that he would like to have him in his service, and set him to keeping his cows. Every morning Joseph presented himself to the king, and said: "Your Majesty's servant." The king answered: "Good morning, Truthful Joseph. How are the cows?" "Well and fat." "How are the calves?" "Well and handsome." "How is the bull?" "The same." So he did every morning. The king praised him so highly in the presence of all his courtiers that they became angry at him; and one day, to make Joseph a liar, they sent to him a lady, who was to induce him by her words to kill the bull. Joseph was urged so strongly that he consented; but afterwards he was in great perplexity as to what he should tell the king. So he put his cloak on a chair and pretended that it was the king, and said: "Your Majesty's servant. Good morning, Truthful Joseph. How are the cows? Well and fat. How are the calves? Well and handsome. How is the bull? The same. But no; that will not do! I am telling a lie! When the king asks me how the bull is, I will tell him that it is dead."

He presented himself to the king and said: "Your Majesty's servant." "Good morning, Truthful Joseph. How are the cows?" "Well and fat." "How are the calves?" "Well and handsome." "How is the bull?" "Your Majesty, a lady came and with her manners made me kill the bull. Pardon me." The king answered: "Bravo, Truthful Joseph!" He summoned his courtiers and showed them that Joseph had not yet told any lie. And so Joseph remained always with the king, and the courtiers were duped, because they gained nothing that they had expected.37


  1. The ounce is equivalent to nearly thirteen francs (12.75).
  2. Names of two undertakers in Salaparuta, where the story was collected.
  3. The name of a goatherd in Salaparuta.
  4. A rotulu = .793 kilos.
  5. Frs. 5.10.
  6. The princess of the last story.
  7. The doll of the first story.


1. There are three Italian translations of the Pantschatantra, all of the XVI. century. Two, Discorsi degli Animali, by Angelo Firenzuola, 1548, and La Filosofia Morale, by Doni, 1552, represent the Hebrew translation by Rabbi Joel (1250), from which they are derived through the Directorium humanae vitae of Johannes de Capua (1263–78); the third, Del Governo de' Regni, by G. Nuti, 1583, is from the Greek version of Simeon Seth (1080). A full account of the various translations of the Pantschatantra may be found in Max Müller's Chips, Vol. IV. p. 165, "The Migration of Fables." See also Benfey, Pant. I. pp. 1–19, Buddhist Birth Stories; or, Jataka Tales, By V. Fausböll and T. W. Rhys Davids, Boston, 1880, p. xciii., and Landau, Die Quellen des Decamerone, mentioned in the following note.

The Seven Wise Masters was also translated into Italian at an early date. One version, Il Libro dei Sette Savj di Roma, Pisa, 1864, edited by Prof. A. D'Ancona, is a XIII. century translation from a French prose version (Cod. 7974, Bib. nat.); another, of the same date, Storia d' una crudele Matrigna, Bologna, 1862, is from an uncertain source, from which is probably derived a third version, Il Libro dei Sette Savi di Roma tratto da un codice del secolo XIV. per cura di Antonio Cappelli, Bologna, 1865. The MS. from which the version edited by Della Lucia in 1832 (reprinted at Bologna, 1862) was taken has been recently discovered and printed in Operette inedite o rare, Libreria Dante, Florence, 1883, No. 3. A fourth version of the end of the XIII. or the beginning of the XIV. century is still inedited, it is mentioned by D'Ancona in the Libro dei Sette Savj, p. xxviii., and its contents given. The latest and most curious version is I Compassionevoli Avvenimenti di Erasto, a work of the XVI. century (first edition, Venice, 1542) which contains four stories found in no other version of the Seven Wise Masters. The popularity of this version, the source of which is unknown, was great. See D'Ancona, op. cit., pp. xxxi.–xxxiv.

The Disciplina Clericalis was not known, apparently, in Italy as a collection, but the separate stories were known as early as Boccaccio, who borrowed the outlines of three of his stories from it (VII. 4; VIII. 10; X. 8). Three of the stories of the Disc. Cler. are also found in the Ital. trans. of Frate Jacopo da Cessole's book on Chess (Volgarizzamento del libro de' Costumi e degli offizii de' nobili sopra il giuoco degli Scachi, Milan, 1829) and reprinted in Libro di Novelle Antiche, Bologna, 1868, Novelle III., IV., and VI. This translation is of the XII. century. Other stories from the Disc. Cler. are found in the Cento nov. ant., Gualt., LIII., XXXI., LXVI., Borg., LXXIV. (Cent. nov., Biagi, pp. 226, 51, 58); and in Cintio, Gli Ecatommiti, I, 3; VII. 6.

2. It has been generally supposed that the Oriental element was introduced into European literature from Spain through the medium of the French. We shall see later that this was the case with the famous collection of tales just mentioned, the Disciplina Clericalis. Oriental elements are also found in the French fabliaux which are supposed to have furnished Boccaccio with the plots of a number of his novels. See Landau, Die Quellen des Decamerone, 2d ed., Vienna, 1884, p. 107. Professor Bartoli in his I Precursori del Boccaccio e alcune delle sue Fonti, Florence, 1876, endeavors to show that Boccaccio may have taken the above mentioned novels from sources common to them and the French fabliaux. It is undeniable that there was in the Middle Ages an immense mass of stories common to the whole western world, and diffused by oral tradition as well as by literary means, and it is very unsafe to say that any one literary version is taken directly from another. Sufficient attention has not been paid to the large Oriental element in European entertaining literature prior to the Renaissance. In early Italian literature besides Boccaccio, the Cento novelle antiche abound in Oriental elements. See D'Ancona, Le Fonti del Novellino, in the Romania, vol. III. pp. 164–194, since republished in Studj di Critica e Storia Letteraria, Bologna, 1880, pp. 219–359.

3. See Introduction, Notes 3, 7.

4. In the Pantschatantra (Benfey's trans. vol. II. p. 120) this story is as follows: A merchant confides to a neighbor some iron scales or balances for safe-keeping. When he wishes them back he is told that the mice have eaten them up. The merchant is silent, and some time after asks his neighbor to lend him his son to aid him in bathing. After the bath the merchant shuts the boy up in a cave, and when the father asks where he is, is told that a falcon has carried him off. The neighbor exclaimed: "Thou liar, how can a falcon carry away a boy? The merchant responded: "Thou veracious man! If a falcon cannot carry away a boy, neither can mice eat iron scales. Therefore give me back my scales if you desire your son." See also Benfey, Pant. I. p. 283. La Fontaine has used the same story for his fable of Le Dépositaire infidèle (livre IX. 1): see also references in Fables inédites, vol. II. p. 193.

5. The fables in Pitrè of non-Oriental origin may be mentioned here; they are: No. 271, "Brancaliuni" found also in Straparola, X. 2; No. 272, "The Two Mice," compare Aesop. ed. Furia, 198, and Schneller, No. 59; No. 274, "Wind, Water, and Honor," found in Straparola, XI. 2; No. 275, "Godfather Wolf and Godmother Fox"; No. 276, "The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox," Aesop. ed. Furia, 233; No. 277, "The Fox," see Roman du Renart, Paris, 1828, I. p. 129, and Nov. tosc. No. 69; No. 278, "L'Acidduzzu (Pretty Little Bird)," compare Asbj. & Moe, No. 42, Bernoni, Punt. III. p. 69, "El Galo," Nerucci, Cincelle da Bambini, p. 38; No. 279, "The Wolf and the Finch," Gonz., No. 66, Nov. tosc. No. 52 (add to Köhler's references: Asbj. & M., Nos. 42, 102, [Dasent, Tales from the Fjeld, p. 35, "The Greedy Cat,"] and Bernoni, Punt. III. p. 69); and finally No. 280, "The Cricket and the Ants," see Aesop. ed. Furia, 121, La Fontaine, La Cigale et la Fourmi, livre I. 1: see copious references in Robert, Fables inédites, I. p. 2. For Bernoni, III. p. 69, "El Galo," and Pitrè, No. 279, see Chap. V. pp. 270, 272.

There are two fables in Coronedi-Berti's collection: No. 20: "La Fola del Corov," and No. 21, "La Fola dla Vôulp." The first is the well-known fable of the crow in the peacock's feathers; for copious references see Robert, Fables inédites, I. p. 247, to La Fontaine's Le Geai paré des plumes du Paon, livre IV. fab. IX., and Oesterley to Kirchhof's Wendunmuth, 7, 52. In the second fable the fox leaves her little ones at home, bidding them admit no one without a countersign. The wolf learns it from the simple little foxes themselves, gains admission, and eats two of them up. The mother takes her revenge in almost the same way as does the fox in Pitrè's fable, No. 277.

6. This fable is also found in Pitrè, No. 273, "The Man, the Wolf, and the Fox," and in Gonz., No. 69, "Lion, Horse, and Fox:" see Benfey, Pant. I. 113, and Köhler's references to Gonz., No. 69.

There is also a version of this fable in Morosi, p. 75, which is as follows:—


There was once a huntsman, who, in passing a quarry, found a serpent under a large stone. The serpent asked the hunter to liberate him, but the latter said: "I will not free you, for you will eat me." The serpent replied: "Liberate me, for I will not eat you." When the hunter had set the serpent at liberty, the latter wanted to devour him, but the hunter said: "What are you doing? Did you not promise me that you would not eat me?" The serpent replied that hunger did not observe promises. The hunter then said: "If you have no right to eat me, will you do it?" "No," answered the serpent. "Let us go, then," said the hunter, "and ask three times." They went into the woods and found a greyhound, and asked him, and he replied: "I had a master, and I went hunting and caught hares, and when I carried them home my master had nothing too good to give me to eat; now, when I cannot overtake even a tortoise, because I am old, my master wishes to kill me; for this reason I condemn you to be eaten by the serpent; for he who does good finds evil." "Do you hear? We have one judge," said the serpent. They continued their journey, and found a horse, and asked him, and he too replied that the serpent was right to eat the man, "for," he said, "I had a master, who fed me when I could travel; now that I can do so no longer, he would like to hang me." The serpent said: "Behold, two judges!" They went on, and found a fox. The huntsman said: "Fox, you must aid me. Listen: I was passing a quarry, and found this serpent dying under a large stone, and he asked aid from me, and I released him, and now he wants to eat me." The fox answered: "I will be the judge. Let us return to the quarry, to see how the serpent was." They went there, and put the stone on the serpent, and the fox asked: "Is that the way you were?" "Yes," answered the serpent. "Very well, then, stay so always!" said the fox.

7. The individual stories of the Thousand and One Nights were known in Europe long before the collection, which was not translated into French until 1704–1717. This is shown by the fact that some of the XIII. century fabliaux embody stories of the Thousand and One Nights. See Note 10. An interesting article by Mr. H. C. Coote on "Folk-Lore, the source of some of M. Galland's Tales," will be found in the Folk-Lore Record, vol. III. pp. 178–191.

8. The Sicilian versions are in Pitrè, No. 81. The version from Palermo, of which Pitrè gives only a résumé, is printed entire in F. Sabatini, La Lanterna, Nov. pop. sicil. Imola, 1878. The Roman version, "How Cajusse was married," is in Busk, p. 158; and the Mantuan in Visentini, No. 35. Tuscan versions may be found in the Rivista di Lett. pop. p. 267; De Nino, No. 5; and a version from Bergamo in the same periodical, p. 288. For the episode of the "Magician with no heart in his body," see Chap. I. note 12.

9. See Pitrè, No. 36, and Gonz., No. 5, with Köhler's copious references. As this story is found in Chap. I. p. 17, it is only mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

There is another complete version of "The Forty Thieves" in Nerucci, No. 54, Cicerchia, o i ventidua Ladri. The thieves are twenty-two, and cicerchia is the magic word that opens and shuts the robbers' cave. A version in Ortoli, p. 137, has seven thieves.

10. Pitrè, No. 164, "The Three Hunchbacks;" Straparola, V. 3. It is also found in the fabliau, Les Trois Bossus, Barbazan-Méon, III. 245; for copious references see Von der Hagen, Gesammtabenteuer, III. p. xxxv. et seq. Pitrè, No. 165, "Fra Ghiniparu," is a variation of the above theme, and finds its counterpart in the fabliau of Le Sacristain de Cluni: see Gesammtabenteuer, ut sup. Other versions are in Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 9, and Nov. tosc. No. 58.

11. The story is, properly speaking, in the introduction to the Thousand and One Nights: see Lane, The Thousand and One Nights, London, 1865, I. 10. See Straparola, XII. 3, and Schmipf und Ernst von Johannes Pauli, herausgegeben von Hermann Oesterley (Bibliothek des litt. Vereins, LXXXV.), Stuttgart, 1866, No. 134, "Ein bösz weib tugenhaft zemachen."

12. For the first story, see Thousand and One Nights (ed. Breslau), IX. 129; Pent. V. 7; Gonz., No. 45; Hahn, No. 47; and Grimm, No. 129. For the second, see Thousand and One Nights (ed. Breslau), II. 196; ed. Lane, III. 41.

13. See Lane, I. 140, and, for the transformations, p. 156. This story is also in Straparola, VIII. 5. It is well known in the North of Europe from the Grimm tale (No. 68), "The Thief and his Master," To the references in Grimm, II. p. 431, may be added: Revue Celtique, I. 132, II.; Benfey, Pant. I. p. 410; Brueyre, 253; Ralston, R. F. T. 229; Asbj. & M., No. 57 [Dasent, Pop. Tales, No. XXXIX.] (comp. Nos. 9, 46 [Dasent, Pop. Tales, Nos. XXIII., IX.]); Hahn, No. 68; Bernhauer, Vierzig Viziere, p. 195; Orient und Occident, II. 313; III. 374; Grundtvig, I. 248; Jülg, Kalmükische Märchen, Einleitung, p. 1; and F. J. Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Part II. p. 399, "The Twa Magicians."

14. The principal sources of information in regard to the Disciplina Clericalis and its author are the two editions of Paris and Berlin: Disciplina Clericalis: auctore Petro Alphonsi, Ex-Judæo Hispano, Parisiis, mdcccxxiv. 2 vols. (Société des Bibliophiles français); Petri Alfonsi Disciplina Clericalis, zum ersten Mal herausgegeben mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen von Fr. Wilh. Val. Schmidt, Berlin, 1827. The first edition was edited by J. Labouderie, Vicar-general of Avignon, and as only two hundred and fifty copies were printed, it is now very scarce. Schmidt even had not seen it: and when he published his own edition, three years later, thought it the first. The Paris edition contains the best text, and has besides two Old-French translations, one in prose, the other in verse. The Berlin edition is, however, more valuable on account of the notes.

15. This is the story shortly after mentioned, Pitrè, No. 138, "The Treasure." The date of the Cento nov. ant. cannot be accurately fixed; the compilation was probably made at the end of the XIII. cent., although individual stories may be of an earlier date.

16. See Disciplina Cler. ed. Schmidt, pp. 63 and 142. For copious references see Oesterley's Gesta Rom. cap. 106.

17. There are several literary Italian versions of this story: one in Casalicchio, VI., I., VI.; and in Cintio, Ecatommiti, I. 3. There is another popular version in Imbriani's Nov. fior. p. 616, "The Three Friends."

18. See Disc. Cler. ed. Schmidt, pp. 50 and 128. The version in the Cento nov. ant. ed. Gualt., No. 31, is as follows: Messer Azzolino had a story-teller, whom he made tell stories during the long winter nights. It happened one night that the story-teller had a great mind to sleep, and Azzolino asked him to tell stories. The story-teller began to relate a story about a peasant who had a hundred bezants. He went to market to buy sheep, and had two for a bezant. Returning home with his sheep, a river that he had crossed was greatly swollen by a heavy rain that had fallen. Standing on the bank he saw a poor fisherman with an exceedingly small boat, so small that it would only hold the peasant and one sheep at a time. Then the peasant began to cross with one sheep, and began to row: the river was wide. He rows and crosses. And the story-teller ceased relating. Azzolino said: "Go on." And the story-teller answered: "Let the sheep cross, and then I will tell the story." For the sheep would not be over in a year, so that meanwhile he could sleep at his leisure.

The story passed from the Disc. Cler. into the Spanish collection El Libro de los Enxemplos, No. 85. A similar story is also found in Grimm, No. 86, "The Fox and the Geese."

19. The word translated bank (bancu) is here used to indicate a buried treasure. The most famous of these concealed treasures was that of Ddisisa, a hill containing caves, and whose summit is crowned by the ruins of an Arab castle. This treasure is mentioned also in Pitrè, No. 230, "The Treasure of Ddisisa," where elaborate directions are given for finding it.

20. See Pitrè, vol. IV. p. 401, and Nov. fior. p. 572.

21. See Disc. Cler. ed. Schmidt, pp. 64 and 147, where the story is as follows: "A certain tailor to the king had, among others, an apprentice named Nedui. On one occasion the king's officers brought warm bread and honey, which the tailor and his apprentices ate without waiting for Nedui, who happened to be absent. When one of the officers asked why they did not wait for Nedui, the tailor answered that he did not like honey. When Nedui returned, and learned what had taken place, he determined to be revenged; and when he had a chance he told the officer who superintended the work done for the king that the tailor often went into a frenzy and beat or killed the bystanders. The officer said that if they could tell when the attack was coming on, they would bind him, so that he could not injure any one. Nedui said it was easy to tell; the first symptoms were the tailor's looking here and there, beating the ground with his hands, and getting up and seizing his seat. The next day Nedui securely hid his master's shears, and when the latter began to look for them, and feel about on the floor, and lift up his seat, the officer called in the guard and had the tailor bound, and, for fear he should beat any one, soundly thrashed. At last the poor tailor succeeded in obtaining an explanation; and when he asked Nedui: "When did you know me to be insane?" the latter responded: "When did you know me not to eat honey?" See also references in Kirchhoff's Wendunmuth, I. 243.

22. In the original the admonitions are in the form of a verse, as follows:—

"Primu: Cu' cancia la via vecchia pi la nova,
Le guai ch' 'un circannu ddà li trova.
Secunnu: Vidi assai e parra pocu.
Terzu: Pensa la cosa avanti chi la fai,
Ca la cosa pinsata è bedda assai."

23. See Disc. Cler. ed. Schmidt, pp. 61 and 141. This story is also found in the Gesta Romanorum, cap. 103; Gonz., No. 81, where copious references by Oesterley and Köhler may be found; in Nerucci, No. 53; and in a distorted version in Ortoli, p. 118: see also Giornale Napoletano della Domenica, August 20, 1882; Pitrè, "I Tre Pareri," and Notes and Queries, London, February 7, March 14, 1885.

24. See Note 1 of this chapter.

25. In the original, what the husband, wife, and king, say, is in verse, as follows:—

"Vigna era e Vigna son,
Amata era e più non son;
E non so per qual cagion,
Che la Vigna à perso la so stagion."

"Vigna eri e Vigna sei,
Amata eri e più non se;:
Per la branca del leon
La Vigna à perso la so stagion."

"Ne la Vigna io son intrato,
Di quei pampani n' ò tocato;
Ma lo guiro per la corona che porto in capo,

Che de quel fruto no ghe n' ò gustato."

This story is also found in Pitrè, No. 76, "Lu Bracceri di manu manca" ("The Usher on the Left Hand," i. e., of the king, who also had one on his right hand); Pomiglianesi, No. 6, "Villa;" and, in the shape of a poetical dialogue, in Vigo, Raccolta amplissima di Canti popolari siciliani. Secunda ediz. Catania, 1870–1874, No. 5145.

The story is told of Pier delle Vigne by Jacopo d' Aqui (XIII. cent.) in his Chronicon imaginis mundi, and of the Marchese di Pescara by Brantôme, Vie des Dames galantes. These versions will be found with copious references in Pitrè and Imbriani as cited above: see also, Cantilene e Ballate, Strambotti e Madrigali nei Secoli XIII. e XIV., A cura di Giosuè Carducci, Pisa, 1871, p. 26. The story is discussed in an exhaustive manner by S. Prato in the Romania, vol. XII. p. 535; XIV. p. 132, "L' Orma del Leone."

26. For the Oriental versions see Essai sur les Fables indiennes, par A. Loiseleur Deslongchamps, Paris, 1838, p. 96; Das Buch von den sieben weisen Meistern, aus dem Hebräischen und Griechischen zum ersten Male übersetzt von H. Sengelmann, Halle, 1842, p. 40 (Mischle Sandabâr), p. 87 Syntipas, Tausend und Eine Nacht, Deutsch von Max Habicht, Von der Hagen und Schall, Breslau, 1836, vol. XV. p. 112 (Arabic); Li Romans des Sept Sages, nach der Pariser Handschrift herausgegeben von H. A. Keller, Tubingen, 1836, p. cxxxviii.; Dyocletianus Leben, von Hans von Bühel, herausgegeben von A. Keller, Quedlinburg und Leipzig, 1841, p. 45. All students of this subject are acquainted with Domenico Comparetti's masterly essay Ricerche intorno al Libro di Sindibâd, Milan, 1869, which has recently been made accessible to English readers in a version published by the English Folk-Lore Society in 1882. The Persion and Arabic texts may be consulted in an English translation, reprinted with valuable introduction and notes in the following work: The Book of Sindibād; or, The Story of the King, his Son, the Damsel, and the Seven Vazīrs, From the Persian and Arabic, with Introduction, Notes, and an Appendix, by W. A. Clouston. Privately printed, 1884 [Glasgow], pp. xvii.-lvi.

27. For the original version in the various forms of the Western Seven Wise Masters, see Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, p. 162; Keller, Romans, p. ccxxix., and Dyocletianus, p. 63; and D'Ancona, Il Libro dei Sette Savi di Roma, p. 121. To the references in D'Ancona may be added: Deux Rédactions du Roman des Sept Sages, G. Paris, Paris, 1876, pp. 47, 162; Benfey, in Orient und Occident, III. 420; Romania, VI. p. 182; Mélusine, p. 384; and Basque Legends, collected by Rev. W. Webster, London, 1879, pp. 136, 137.

28. See Grimm, No. 33, "The Three Languages;" Hahn, No. 33; Basque Legends, p. 137; and Mélusine, p. 300. There is a verbose version in the Fiabe Mantovane, No. 23, "Bobo."

29. See Herodotus, with a commentary by J. W. Blakesley, London, 1854, I. p. 254, n. 343. For the literature of this story, and for various other Italian versions, see La Leggenda del Tesoro di Rampsinite, Stanislao Prato, Como, 1882; and Ralston's notes to Schiefner's Tibetan Tales, p. xlvii.

30. For the story in the Seven Wise Masters, see D'Ancona, op. cit. p. 108; Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, p. 146; Keller, Romans, p. cxciii., and Dyoclet. p. 55.

Besides the popular versions in Italian, the story is also found in Bandello, I., XXV., who follows Herodotus closely.

31. For the story in the Seven Wise Masters see D'Ancona, op. cit. p. 120; Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, p. 158; Keller, Romans, p. ccxxxvii., and Dyoclet. p. 61. Literary versions of this story are in Straparola, II. 11; Pecorone, II. 2; Malespini, 53; Bandello, I. 3; and Sercambi, XIII. See Pitrè, IV. pp. 407, 442.

32. The literature of this famous collection of tales will best be found in an article by Wilhelm Pertsch, "Ueber Nachschabî's Papagaienbuch" in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Bd. XXI. pp. 505–551. Prof. H. Brockhaus discovered that the eighth night of Nachschabî's version was nothing but a version of the Seven Wise Masters containing seven stories. Nachschabî, in preparing his work, used probably the oldest version of the Seven Wise Masters of which we have any knowledge. Professor Brockhaus made this discovery known in a brief pamphlet entitled: Die Sieben Weisen Meister von Nachschabî, Leipzig, 1843, of which only twelve copies were printed. The above, except the Persian text, was reprinted in the Blätt. für lit. Unterhaltung, 1843, Nos. 242, 243 (pp. 969 et seq.); and, in an Italian translation, in D'Ancona's Il Libro dei Sette Savi di Roma.

The Persian version of Qâdirî (a compend of Nachschabî's) is the one most frequently translated. The German translation: Toutinameh. Eine Sammlung pers. Märchen, von C. J. L. Iken, mit einem Anhange von J. G. L. Kosegarten, Stuttgart, 1822, is easily found. The Turkish version is elegantly translated by G. Rosen: Tuti-nameh, das Papagaienbuch, eine Sammlung orientalischer Erzählungen nach der türkischen Bearbeitung zum ersten Male übersetzt von G. Rosen, Leipzig, 1858, 2 vols.

33. The preservation of the frame of the Çukasaptati in Italian popular tales is only paralleled, to our knowledge, by the preservation of the Seven Wise Masters in a Magyar popular tale. See La Tradizione dei Sette Savi nelle Novelline magiare. Lettera al Prof. A. D'Ancona di E. Teza, Bologna, 1864.

It is possible that the Italian stories containing the frame of the Çukasaptati may have been developed from the story in the Seven Wise Masters which is found in both the Oriental and Occidental versions. The spirit of Folk-tales seems to us averse to expansion, and that condensation is the rule. We think it more likely that it was by way of oral tradition, or from some now lost collection of Oriental tales once known in Italy.

34. It is in the work by Teza mentioned in the last note, p. 52.

35. See Pitrè, vol. I. p. 23. The three stories in one are called Donna Viulanti (Palermo) and Lu Frati e lu Soru (Salaparuta).

36. See Chapter I. note 7.

37. The Italian versions are: Pitrè, No. 78, "Lu Zu Viritati" ("Uncle Truth"); Gonz., No. 8, "Bauer Wahrhaft" ("Farmer Truth"); XII. Conti Pomiglianesi, p. 1, "Giuseppe 'A Veretà" ("Truthful Joseph," the version translated by us); p. 6, another version from same place and with same name; and in Straparola, III. 5. References to Oriental sources may be found in Köhler's notes to Gonz., No. 8, and Oesterley's notes to Gesta Rom. cap. 111.

In addition to the Oriental elements mentioned in the third chapter, Stanislao Prato has discovered the story of Nala in a popular tale from Pitigliano (Tuscany), see S. Prato, La Leggenda indiana di Nala in una novella popolare pitiglianese, Como, 1881. (Extracted from I Nuovi Goliardi.)