Folk stories and tales

The volcano magic

an oral tale of 1800

 

One day a man named Mauro  appeared on the mount Vesuvius, he had  a face as black as night and asked the magic of the volcano to be transformed into a normal man.

His prayer was answered. Suddenly an angel appeared who took him into the crater and blowing onto his face made his kin white like snow.

So the two craters were called Angelo and Mauro.

But not all the  volcano stories  end well: when a wicked monk  invoked Vesuvius asking for help to implement his bad design, the mountain was angry hunting from the crater a pillar of fire and sending down a magical horse with flame eyes  and a snake mane.

The animal chased the monk and  when he was  reached, the horse clapped with its socket on the ground  which opened swallowing the evil man.

Those places were then called “Horse  atrium” and ” Monk”.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

The ghost of the beautiful Bianca

a  folk tale by popular tradition

 

At the beautiful balustrades of the staircase in palace Spinelli Laurino, located in Via dei Tribunali, some people swear  having often seen the ghost of the beautiful Bianca.

Being an orphan, Bianca  grew up in the halls of the palace and  was assigned as a bridesmaid to Lorenza Spinelli, daughter-in-law  of the  Prince. This lady  was as much a wicked  as an overpowering woman,  so her husband, just to stay away from her for some time, decided to go to war.

As he came into  his wife’s rooms to greet her, as usual he was answered rudely. Annoyed, the husband turned away to leave, but at that same moment his look met, in the mirror,  the sad and sorrow look  of  the good and lovely Bianca who was combing the lady, sorry  for what had happened.

It was a  completely innocent look, but the wicked lady, whom that eyes understanding did not escape to, thought otherwise.

The husband was still down on the road,  when she  ushered  Bianca into a small compartment of the wall in her room and made build a brick wall in front of it.

The poor girl could not defend herself in any way, she only said: “Let me entomb alive, but in gladness or greatness you’ll see me again.” It is said, in fact, that her ghost appeared very often in that palace to one or another Spinelli, always three days before the family  happened to have  a happy occasion  or a misfortune.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , | Lascia un commento

The Ghost and the cap

a story of 1700

 

Not far from the catacombs of San Gennaro in Capodimonte there was a tavern.  One evening  two travellers  arrived near that crossing.

Chatting with a beautiful girl who served them, they began to speak about  the dead and their appearances; the girl said she felt  no fear, so much so – she said – while no one was going at that hour to draw water from the near  wood, because it was necessary to pass in front of the cemetery, she would have gone immediately.

Saying and doing was one matter, she took the bucket and went. Passing by the entrance of the caves, she saw in the middle, sitting on a tombstone, an old man with a long white beard, with a red cap on his head.

She mistook him for the groom of the tavern, she came near him  and took the cap from his head, saying: “I will  give it back to you, later at  home.” Returning, she learned that the groom had never moved, and in fact, he had  a red hat on his head.

At night the girl got into her room, bringing with her the cap of the mysterious old man; at midnight she heard a knock at the door and weak voice said: “Give me my cap, give me my cap.” The young girl opened, but saw no one, then she tried to throw the red cat out of the window, but it always came back.

For many nights the spirit came back to knock on the room and finally the girl went to confide in the parish priest, who decided to make a big procession.

The evening of the dead in fact, a great procession composed by the people of the neighboring houses, with crosses, images of saints and candles went to the catacombs of San Gennaro.

The old man was sitting on the tombstone bareheaded. Among  smoking incense, to the sound of hymns, the brave girl approached him, and put on his head  the much desired  red cap.

The  tombstone cover  then crashed open with a thunderclap and the man sank there.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

An Ancient Superstition

a tale by popular tradition

 

In 1500 there was in Naples, on  Ottocalli Square, a church dedicated to Saints John and Paul. The road was wide and free of buildings or houses.

In the middle of the road and right in front of the church, there was a marble column,  whose meaning or  origin nobody kew.

A meaning, however, was found by the locals, who, supported by the parish priest, attributed to the column a special power:  the one of causing rain or fine weather depending on the needs and demands of the people.

A superstition, but it went on for quite a while, till  Archbishop Annibale of Capua  banned it with a measure of 1590 and made even demolish and remove the column, so preventing any possibility of revival of the incredible superstition.

This is the custom of the Neapolitans. When farmers wanted some sun for  their fields and the weather, however, was not fine,  they went to the pastor of the church of St. John and Paul and asked him to organize a votive procession for obtaining a grace from heaven.

Then the pastor with all his followers  and citizens, ran from the right side around   the column and stopped  there to pray. Shortly after that, the sky got clear, the clouds disappeared and a bright sun  was shining in the sky with great joy of the Neapolitans.

If the request was for rain, being too hot and  crops ruined, the procession moved to the opposite direction, going around  from the left side  at  the sea side, they  told the planned prayer, and soon after it was pouring.

 

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

The miraculous rescue of Constantine

a tale by  folk tradition.

 

King Constantine was returning to Rome with her daughter  Constance and niece Patrizia, when his ship was hit by a violent storm.

Then the king  promised to God that, if they would have been saved from the drowing, he would build a church in Naples to St. John the Baptist.

The two women instead, prayed St. Lucia to be rescued from the danger and to let  the ship return  into  the harbour  without accidents.

With the prayers the young Constance made a solemn vow to the saint, whom she was devoted to: if they were returned without danger, she would  give an amount of moeny for the construction of the church wanted by her father.

God heard their prayers and made them land in Naples safely.

King Constantine and his daughter Constance immediately started  works to keep the promise and vow. The church was later enriched with paintings and precious objects and became the center of  cult for St. John and St. Lucia in June  and  December.

The church of San Giovanni Maggiore is located in the historic center of Naples, among the four largest parishes in the city. It was  built in the  place of a pagan temple dedicated to Antinous  by  Emperor Hadrian.

It underwent many modifications and restorations, and in 1685 it assumed the final form.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , | Lascia un commento

Sister Solfatara

By Nicolò Lombardo, La Ciucceide, 1724

 

Know then, that in this mountain,

where we will enter, there is an Ogre.

He never comes down to  this country,

but remains closed there, like a pig.

And what does he eat there? What is he eating?

He eats stones, trash. How dirty!

He eats gold, lead, silver!

 

It’s called Vesuvius and has a sister,

she too an Ogre  and is called Solfatara,

which is not far away, and they went out

both from a belly; and rare,

as they are both from the same love.

If she  is cheerful, clears up

the face of this one; but if this one

rages, she begins to stir.

 

If this one smokes, the other smokes;

if that one is hungry, he has same desire.

Does this one drink? That other takes water.

She is walking, he raises a leg.

That shows an  unfaithful face?

And this one  explodes and makes you call mom.

In short, if she laughs, he too  does;

If this one is crying,   you see her crying.

 

He has one thing only, she does not have;

and you see that he is stout

and that one next to him  is just an anchovy.

He makes certain things dirtier,

because he usually  suffers trots;

and sometimes vomits everything for nothing;

and when he wants to, in front of the mouth

he climbs this mountain, and you are beaten.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , | Lascia un commento

The tailor hating King Alfonse

A   story by popular tradition

 

A tailor named Francis lived in Naples, in the first half of  1400.

In the struggle between Aragon and Anjou   he chose  the Anjous  and sided with the defeated King René.

Master  Francis (that was his name) was considered a popular leader and never missed an opportunity to speak ill of the Spaniards and he kept defending the French.  He hated so much Alfonse that  he did not bother to show it publicly.

All this was reported to the king who, for his knowledge and for his own fun, wanted to  personally hear the tailor’s insults.  He decided to go out riding among the people, turning through the streets of the city, where he happened to get near Master Francis, who never tired of insulting him.

Alfonse, knowing it was the tailor,  listened to him carefully and  he heard what the  man was saying as he passed by: “And how good you are on horseback,” he said by a little high voice. “How much pride and arrogance  you have. You’ll see,  that will not last long, because King René is going to come  and he  will chase you.”

After this episode, the King  sent for Master Francesco.  The tailor, who perhaps was better in talking  than in  acting, began to tremble with fear.

He foresaw hanging from a rope in the public square, so he thought of making a will and he entrusted to his wife, his children and all his belongings.

He went to the palace where he was received with courtesy, with   bows and kindness  by dignitaries and officials. Then, when he came before the king, he was even more surprised by the welcome and kindness the King showed him .

“I will use your art,” Alfonse said, “and your services, because I know how much you are bound to me  and how you speak well of me.”

Francis at  these words was frightened,  even more believing that the King wanted to make fun of him before sentencing him to death.

Alfonse continued by  that tone  and before letting him go away, he gave him a bag of gold crowns for his family and its needs.  Still stunned Francis went home, told everything to his wife,  praising the Spanish King and  totally modifying  his previous  opinion about the King.

This is just one of the episodes passed on Alfonse of Aragon.

It seems that he was a benevolent Sovereing  with the Neapolitans: a strategy designed especially with the purpose  of not  increasing the love they felt for the French.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

The Sorceress of Vesuvius

an oral history, concerning  the eruption of 1858

 

It is said that after an eruption of Vesuvius,  having filled  by lava the big ditch, in a night of November a  harrowing and inhuman scream woke up all inhabitants in the area.

The scream was heard even in the  following nights creating terror among the people.

Peasants armed themselves with rifles and pruning hooks and left for a dawn patrol in search of the origin of that scary scream. They beat the ground inch by inch, but found nothing.

No one could give an explanation and they were all afraid.

So it happened, while they were wondering what to do, that some people  suggested to contact the “the old Mattavona”, a witch who lived on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Having said that, the farmers went in procession to the beldame. The old woman went to the place and uttered some incomprehensible magic formulas. Since then the scream was gone and the farmers went back to sleep at night.

 

 

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

The birth of Capri

by Pompeo Sarnelli, Posilicheata

 

You will see, below, the mountain  Somma, which was formerly called Vesuvius.

He was a gentleman from Naples, who fell in love, unfortunately, with  a lady from the house Capri  which, at that time,  was a noble House.

And, as the relatives did not agree to their love, the more they loved each other, the more they saw their intentions disappointed.  Indeed the  relatives sent the lady to stay  away,  at Cape Minerva.

Where, being unable to see her lover, one day when the lady went for a trip in a boat, she jumped into the sea, and she became an island, which  is still called Capri.

Vesuvius, having received the news, began to throw sighs of fire, which gradually became a mountain, which is called Somma, and as he always sees his lover, even if it is a mountain, he’s  burning with love and throws fire: and when he goes into a rage, he  shakes the city of Naples which repents,  but uselessly, as the city didn’t give him  what he wanted.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

Vesuvius

Lovers Liars – by  E. Cossovich

 

How many adventures and of how many different kinds   often happen on Vesuvius!

It is said,  as two Englishmen, a gentleman and a young lady, together agreed to eternalize their love on the top of our mountain.

In front of  the steaming crater they renewed their oaths of constancy and fidelity, and calling witnesses  the elements, they  promised each other, that if any of them had been betrayed, the one would have thrown himself into the roaring crater.

 

But one year was not over,  that the fair lady gave her hand to a rich Neapolitan gentleman and the betrayed lover in despair rushed … into the  chasms of business and went to marry  a banker’s daughter, who swore less, but had more value

Vesuvius willingly gave up his victim, from which we can argue that  man (taken in its broadest sense) in England or elsewhere is always the same.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , , | Lascia un commento

Crea un sito o un blog gratuitamente presso WordPress.com.