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ITALIAN PEASANT FOLKTALE

THERE WAS A MAN LOOKING FOR A SHEPHERD. AND HE FOUND THIS MAN
FOR THE JOB AND HE MADE AN AGREEMENT WITH THIS HANDYMAN TO HERD
HIS SHEEP, BUT WHATEVER EACH MAN DID, NEITHER COULD BE SORRY FOR
WHAT WAS BEING DONE. IN THE MORNING THE HANDYMAN WENT TO HERD THE
SHEEP. THE OWNER SAID TO HIM AS HE WAS LEAVING: "HERE'S BREAD
FOR YOU AND THE DOG. WHEN NIGHT COMES YOU HAVE TO BRING THE WHOLE
THING HOME." THAT NIGHT THE OWNER AND HIS WIFE WERE EATING WHEN
HE REALIZED THAT IT WAS TIME FOR THE HANDYMAN TO COME HOME. SO HE
SAID TO HIS WIFE, "TAKE THE DISHES OFF THE TABLE. WHO KNOWS HOW
MANY PEOPLE GO HUNGRY TONIGHT." THIS WENT ON LIKE THIS FOR A FEW
DAYS.
THEN ONE DAY THE HANDYMAN WAS OUT WALKING WHEN HE ENCOUNTERED HIS
BROTHER. AND HIS BROTHER ASKED HIM: "HOW COME YOU'RE SO THIN,
DON'T YOU EAT?" THEN THE HANDYMAN TOLD HIM WHY. HIS BROTHER
FELT SORRY FOR HIM SO THE BROTHER WENT TO THE OWNER AND TOLD HIM:
"MY BROTHER IS SICK, AND IF IT PLEASES YOU, I'LL TAKE HIS PLACE."
THE OWNER SAID IT WOULD BE ALL RIGHT SO LONG AS THE TERMS WERE
THE SAME: THAT NEITHER COULD BE SORRY FOR WHAT THE OTHER DID.
WHEN MORNING CAME, THE OWNER GAVE THE BROTHER BREAD FOR HIM AND
THE DOG AND TOLD HIM NOT TO EAT IT; JUST AS BEFORE. WHEN THE
HANDYMAN TOOK THE SHEEP UP INTO THE MOUNTAINS, HE MET ANOTHER
SHEPHERD AND HE TOLD HIM THAT IF HE PUT UP THE BREAD THEN HE,
THE HANDYMAN, WOULD PUT UP HIS BEST SHEEP. SO THEY ATE AND HAD
A PARTY.
THAT NIGHT WHEN HE WENT HOME, THE OWNER SAID TO HIM, "SERVANT,
SERVANT, WHAT HAVE YOU EATEN TODAY?" "YOUR BEST SHEEP, MASTER,
ARE YOU DISPLEASED?" BUT THE OWNER COULD SAY NOTHING.
THE NEXT DAY THE OWNER GAVE THE MAN BREAD AND TOLD HIM TO BRING
IT HOME UNTOUCHED. THAT NIGHT THE HANDYMAN CAME HOME EARLIER THAN
USUAL SO THAT AS THE OWNER SAID TO HIS WIFE: "CLEAR THE TABLE. WHO
KNOWS HOW MANY PEOPLE GO HUNGRY TONIGHT," THE HANDYMAN WALKED IN
AND SAID TO THE OWNER: "LEAVE THE PLATES ON THE TABLE. YOUR BELLY
IS FULL AND MINE IS EMPTY." SO THE HANDYMAN SAT DOWN TO EAT WHILE
THE OWNER COULDN'T.
THAT NIGHT THE OWNER TELLS HIS WIFE: "MAKE ME SOME SPAGHETTI;"
AND MEANWHILE THE HANDYMAN IS SLEEPING ON A BENCH NEAR THE FIRE.
WHEN THE OWNER'S WIFE PUTS THE MACARONI IN THE WATER, THE HANDYMAN
WOKE UP AND ASKED, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
"I'M BOILING MY CLOTHES."
THE HANDYMAN SAYS, "HERE'S MY RAGS, PUT THEM IN TOO" AND HE THROWS
HIS DIRTY CLOTHES IN AND THUS THE OWNER IS NOT ABLE TO EAT THE
SPAGHETTI.
ANOTHER NIGHT, HE TELLS HIS WIFE, "MAKE SOME PIZZA FOR ME." SHE
IS COOKING IT UNDER THE FIRE AND THE HANDYMAN WAKES UP AGAIN AND
ASKS HER WHAT SHE IS DOING. HE TAKES A PIECE OF STEEL AND SAYS
"WE WERE SIX BROTHERS AND WE DIVIDED" AND HE MAKES SOME CROSSES
IN THE ASHES AND THUS RUINS THE PIZZAS. THE OWNER TOOK THE PIZZA
BEHIND THE SOFA AND BLEW ON THEM TO SEE IF ANY COULD BE EATEN AND
THE HANDYMAN THINKING HE WAS A CAT BEHIND THE SOFA, HIT HIM ON
THE HEAD.
THE OWNER IS REALLY MAD BY THIS TIME AND TELLS HIS WIFE, "WE HAVE
TO DESTROY THE HANDYMAN."
THE OWNER DECIDES TO SEND THE HANDYMAN IN A HARNESS TO THE SWAMP
SO THAT THE WOLF CAN EAT HIM. THE HANDYMAN SAYS: "I'LL GO, BUT
I'LL NEED A BASKET OF EGGS, ONE OF STONES, A BOTTLE OF HONEY, A
DRILL, A SAW, AND TWO SQUASH."
WHEN HE WENT TO THE SWAMP, HE WENT BY A TREE, ONE HE SAWED DOWN
UNTIL IT JUST BARELY HELD UP; ON ANOTHER HE MADE 5 HOLES WITH THE
DRILL AND PUT HONEY IN THEM. THEN HE CLIMBED UP A TREE AND
SOUNDED A HORN. WHEN THE WOLF HEARD THIS HORN, HE SAID, "I WILL
MAKE A GOOD DINNER," AND THE WOLF PROCEEDED TOWARDS THE SOUND OF
THE HORN.
THE HANDYMAN SITTING IN THE TREE WOULD BREAK AN EGG AND EAT IT.
THE WOLF SAYS TO HIM, "COMPARE, WHAT ARE YOU EATING?" AND HE
SAYS, "EGGS," AND THE WOLF SAYS, "WHY DON'T YOU THROW ME ONE."
AND THE GUY SAYS, "OPEN YOUR MOUTH." AND HE THROWS STONES IN,
INSTEAD OF EGGS AND BREAKS ALL OF THE WOLF'S TEETH. THE WOLF
SAYS, "COMPARE, MY BUT THOSE EGGS ARE HARD!" THE GUY SAYS,
"LOOK HOW TENDER THEY ARE," AND HE BREAKS ONE AND EATS IT. THE
WOLF SAYS, "THROW ME ANOTHER ONE," AND THE GUY SAYS, "OPEN YOUR
MOUTH" AND HE THROWS AND HE THROWS MORE STONES DOWN AND NOW THE
WOLF CAN'T EAT AT ALL.
THE WOLF SAYS: "COMPARE, COME DOWN" TO THE GUY. THE GUY SAYS
OK AND THE WOLF SAYS: "COMPARE, LET'S MAKE A BET. LET'S HIT OUR
HEADS AGAINST A TREE AND SEE WHO CAN BREAK THE TREE DOWN." THE
HANDYMAN GOES REAL SLOW AND IS ABLE TO BREAK THE TREE DOWN (IT'S
THE ONE HE HAD SAWED PREVIOUSLY) AND THE WOLF NEARLY KILLS HIMSELF
TRYING.
THE WOLF SAYS: "COMPARE, LET'S MAKE ANOTHER BET. LET'S STICK 5
FINGERS INTO A TREE AND SEE WHO GETS HONEY OUT FIRST." WOLF
BREAKS HIS FIVE FINGERS, BUT THE HANDYMAN GOES REAL SLOW AND GETS
THE HONEY OUT.
THEN THE WOLF SAYS TO THE HANDYMAN: "COMPARE, WHERE ARE YOU
GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT?" HE SAYS, "INSIDE THE BARN." THE WOLF
SAYS, "THEN TONIGHT I'LL COME TO SEE YOU." THEN THE HANDYMAN MAKES
A BED OF SQUASH IN THE BARN AND THEN GOES UP INTO THE TREE AGAIN.
THE WOLF GOES INTO THE BARN AND HITS ON TOP OF THE BED AND HE GETS
SPLASHED IN THE FACE AND THINKS THAT HE KILLED THE HANDYMAN.
IN THE MORNING, THE HANDYMAN SOUNDS HIS HORN ONCE AGAIN. THE WOLF
COMES BACK TO THE HANDYMAN. "COMPARE, YOU WANT TO MAKE A BET?
LET'S TAKE THIS BOLT AND SEE WHO CAN THROW IT THE FARTHEST AWAY."
FIRST THE WOLF THROWS IT AND HE BARELY MOVES IT. WHEN THE HANDY-
MAN SAW HOW SMALL A DISTANCE IT WAS FOR THE WOLF, HE DECIDED THAT
HE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO MOVE IT. HE CLIMBED ON TOP OF SOMETHING
HIGH AND WOLF KEPT ON ASKING HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO. "I
WANT TO WARN THIS WORLD AND THE OTHER WORLD THAT WHOEVER THIS
STONE WILL HIT, IT WILL KILL." SO HE ROLLED THE STONE DOWN THE
HILL AND IT HIT THE PROTESTING WOLF AND KILLED HIM. SO THE
HANDYMAN WON AGAIN.
THEN A BUYER OF OLD PIGS WAS GOING BY AND HE SAID TO HIM: "I'LL
TRADE YOU THIS WOLF'S SKIN FOR ALL THE OLD TAILS AND EARS YOU
HAVE." SO HE TAKES THE TAILS AND EARS AND SPRINKLES THEM OVER
QUICKSAND SO THAT IT'LL LOOK TO THE OWNER AS IF THE PIGS HAD
DROWNED. HE WENT TO THE OWNER AND SAID TO HIM, "THE PIGS THEY
WENT TO THE MUD AND WHEN I PULL THEIR EARS THEY COME OFF AND
LIKEWISE FOR THE TAILS." SO THE OWNER TOLD HIM, "I NEED 2
SHOVELS. GO TO MY NIECES AND TELL THEM TO GIVE THEM TO YOU."
SO HE GOES TO THE NIECES AND SAYS, "YOUR UNCLE SAID TO GO OUT AND
MAKE OUT THE TWO OF YOU. AND IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, JUST ASK
YOUR UNCLE, ONE OR BOTH?"
THEY WENT TO THE UNCLE AND ASKED "ONE OR BOTH?" AND THE UNCLE
ANSWERED "BOTH" AND THUS THE HANDYMAN'S CLEVERNESS ONCE AGAIN
WON OUT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: 10-03-1969

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