Italian Popular Tales | Annotated Tale

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Story of Buttadeu, The

This legend recalls the Wandering Jew, who is known in Sicilian tradition under the name of Buttadeu (from buttari, to thrust away, and deu, God) or more commonly as "The Jew who repulsed Jesus Christ." He is reported to have appeared in Sicily, and the daughter of a certain Antonino Caseio, a peasant of Salaparuta, gives the following account of her father's encounter with Buttadeu:


IT WAS in the winter, and my good father was at Scalone, in the warehouse, warming himself at the fire, when he saw a man enter, dressed differently from the people of that region, with breeches striped in yellow, red, and black, and his cap the same way. My good father was frightened. "Oh!" he said, "what is this person?" "Do not be afraid," the man said. "I am called Buttadeu." "Oh!" said my father, "I have heard you mentioned. Be pleased to sit down a while and tell me something." "I cannot sit, for I am condemned by my God always to walk." And while he was speaking he was always walking up and down and had no rest. Then he said: "Listen. I am going away; I leave you, in memory of me, this, that you must say a credo at the right hand of our Lord, and five other credos at his left, and a salve regina to the Virgin, for the grief I suffer on account of her son. I salute you." "Farewell." "Farewell, my name is Buttadeu." [1]


[1] Pitrè, I. p. cxxxiii. For earlier appearances of the Wandering Jew in Italian literature, see A. D'Ancona, La Leggenda dell' Ebreo errante, Nuova Antologia, serie II. vol. XXIII. 1880, p. 425; Romania, vol. X. p. 212, Le Juif errant en Italia au XIII^e siècle, G. Paris and A. D'Ancona; vol. XII. p. 112, Encore le Juif errant en Italie, A. D'Ancona, and Giornale Storico, vol. III. p. 231, R. Renier, where an Italian text of the XVIII. cent. is printed for the first time. The myth of the Wandering Jew can best be studied in the following recent works: G. Paris, Le Juif Errant, Extrait de l'Encyclopédie des Sciences Religieuses, Paris, 1880; Dr. L. Neubaur, Die Sage vom ewigen Juden, Leipzig, 1884; P. Cassel, Ahasverus, die Sage vom ewigen Juden, Berlin, 1885. The name Buttadeu (Buttadæus in the Latin texts of the XVII. cent.) has been explained in various ways. It is probably from the Ital. verb buttare, to thrust away, and dio, God.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story of Buttadeu, 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 777: The Wandering Jew

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