Italian Popular Tales | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Shepherd, The

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. [1]

*  *  *  *  *

               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. [2]


[1] See Pitrè, vol. IV. p. 401, and Nov. fior. p. 572.

[2] 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 Kirchhof's Wendunmuth, I. 243.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Shepherd, The
Tale Author/Editor: Crane, Thomas
Book Title: Italian Popular Tales
Book Author/Editor: Crane, Thomas Frederick
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin and Company
Publication City: Boston
Year of Publication: 1885
Country of Origin: Italy
Classification: ATU 2300: Endless Tales

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