SurLaLune Note: This tale is from the footnotes to the previous tale, "Uncle Capriano," but is provided also as a separate entry for the SurLaLune database classification and searching ease.
Another story in Pitrè (No. 200) which is also attributed to Dante. It is called:--
CVI. PETER FULLONE AND THE EGG.
ONCE upon a time Peter Fullone, the stone-cutter, was working at the cemetery, near the church of Santo Spirito; a man passed by and said: "Peter, what is the best mouthful?" Fullone answered: "An egg;" and stopped.
A year later Fullone was working in the same place, sitting on the ground and breaking stones. The man who had questioned him the year before passed by again and said: "Peter, with what?" meaning: what is good to eat with an egg. "With salt," answered Peter Fullone. He had such a wise head that after a year he remembered a thing that a passer-by had said.
The cemetery alluded to, Pitrè says, is beyond the gate of St. Agatha, near the ancient church of Sto. Spirito, where the Sicilian Vespers began. An interesting article on Peter Fullone may be found in Pitrè, Studi di Poesia popolare, p. 109, "Pietro Fullone e le Sfide popolari siciliane."
The sight-seer in Florence has noticed, on the east side of the square in which the cathedral stands, a block of stone built into the wall of a house, and bearing the inscription, "Sasso di Dante." The guide-books inform the traveller that this is the stone on which the great poet was wont to sit on summer evenings. Tradition says that an unknown person once accosted Dante seated in his favorite place, and asked: "What is the best mouthful?" Dante answered: "An egg." A year after, the same man, whom Dante had not seen meanwhile, approached and asked: "With what?" Dante immediately replied: "With salt."
A poet, Carlo Gabrielli, put this incident into rhyme, and drew from it the following moral (senso):--
"L'acuto ingegno grande apporta gloria;
Maggior, se v'è congiunta alta memoria."
See Papanti, op. cit. pp. 183, 205.
Peter Fullone and the Egg
Italian Popular Tales
Crane, Thomas Frederick
Houghton Mifflin and Company
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