Italian Popular Tales | Annotated Tale

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



ONCE upon a time there was a husband who had a wife who was a little foolish. One day he said to her: "Come, put the house in order, for Christmas is coming." As soon as he left the house his wife went out on the balcony and asked every one who passed if his name was Christmas. All said No; but finally, one--to see why she asked--said Yes. Then she made him come in, and gave him everything that she had (in order to clean out the house). When her husband returned he asked her what she had done with things. She responded that she had given them to Christmas, as he had ordered. Her husband was so enraged at what he heard that he seized her and gave her a good beating.

               Another time she asked her husband when he was going to kill the pig. He answered: "At Christmas." The wife did as before, and when she spied the man called Christmas she called him and gave him the pig, which she had adorned with her earrings and necklace, saying that her husband had so commanded her. When her husband returned and learned what she had done, he gave her a sound thrashing; and from that time he learned to say nothing more to his wife. [1]

               In the Sicilian version, Pitrè, No. 186, "Long May," [2] the wife, who is very anxious to make more room in her house by getting rid of the grain stored in it, asks her husband when they shall clean out the house. He answers: "When Long May comes." The wife asks the passers-by if they are Long May; and at last a swindler says he is, and receives as a gift all the grain. The swindler was a potter, and the woman told him that he ought to give her a load of pots. He did so, and the wife knocked a hole in the bottom of each, and strung them on a rope stretched across the room. It is needless to say that when the husband returned the wife received a beating "that left her more dead than alive."


[1] This story is sometimes found as one of the episodes of the last tale, as for example in Schneller, No. 56. Imbriani, Pomiglianesi, p. 227, cites as parallels: Coronedi-Berti, XII. "La fola dla Patalocca;" Beroaldo di Verville, Le Moyen de Parvenir, LXXVIII.; and a story in La Civiltà italiana, 1865, No. 13. See also Romania, VI. p. 551 (E. Cosquin, Contes pop. lorrains, No. 22), and Jahrb. VIII. 267, Köhler to the above cited story in the Civiltà ital. from Calabria. It is also the story of "The Miser and his Wife" in Halliwell, p. 31.

[2] There is a Sicilian phrase: "Long as the month of May," to indicate what is very long.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Christmas
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 1541: For the Long Winter

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