Articoli con tag: Neapolitan stories

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.

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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.


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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

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