Italian: Buchettino

This story is part of the Italian Popular Tales unit. Story source: Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Frederick Crane (1885).

Buchettino

ONCE upon a time there was a child whose name was Buchettino. One morning his mamma called him and said: "Buchettino, will you do me a favor? Go and sweep the stairs." Buchettino, who was very obedient, did not wait to be told a second time but went at once to sweep the stairs. All at once he heard a noise, and, after looking all around, he found a penny.

Then be said to himself: "What shall I do with this penny? I have half a mind to buy some dates. . but no! For I should have to throw away the stones. I will buy some apples. . . no! I will not, for I should have to throw away the core. I will buy some nuts . . . but no, for I should have to throw away the shells! What shall I buy, then? I will buy — I will buy — enough: I will buy a pennyworth of figs."

No sooner said than done: he bought a pennyworth of figs and went to eat them in a tree. While he was eating, the ogre passed by and, seeing Buchettino eating figs in the tree, said:

Buchettino,
My dear Buchettino,
Give me a little fig
With your dear little hand;
If not, I will eat you!

Buchettino threw him one, but it fell in the dirt. Then the ogre repeated:

Buchettino,
My dear Buchettino,
Give me a little fig
With your dear little hand;
If not, I will eat you!"

Then Buchettino threw him another, which also fell in the dirt. The ogre said again:

Buchettino,
My dear Buchettino,
Give me a little fig
With your dear little hand;
If not, I will eat you!

Poor Buchettino, who did not see the trick and did not know that the ogre was doing everything to get him into his net and eat him up, what does he do? He leans down and foolishly gives him a fig with his little hand. The ogre, who wanted nothing better, suddenly seized him by the arm and put him in his bag; then he took him on his back and started for home, crying with all his lungs:

Wife, my wife,
Put the kettle on the fire,
For I have caught Buchettino!
Wife, my wife,
Put the kettle on the fire,
For I have caught Buchettino!

When the ogre was near his house, he put the bag on the ground and went off to attend to something else. Buchettino, with a knife that he had in his pocket, cut the bag open in a trice, filled it with large stones, and then:

My legs, it is no shame
To run away when there is need.

When the rascal of an ogre returned, he picked up the bag and scarcely had he arrived home when he said to his wife: "Tell me, my wife, have you put the kettle on the fire?"

She answered at once: "Yes."

"Then," said the ogre, "we will cook Buchettino; come here, help me!"

And both taking the bag, they carried it to the hearth and were going to throw poor Buchettino into the kettle, but instead they found only the stones. Imagine how cheated the ogre was! He was so angry that he bit his hands. He could not swallow the trick played on him by Buchettino and swore to find him again and be revenged.

So the next day, he began to go all about the city and to look into all the hiding places. At last he happened to raise his eyes and saw Buchettino on a roof, ridiculing him and laughing so hard that his mouth extended from ear to ear. The ogre thought he should burst with rage, but he pretended not to see it, and in a very sweet tone he said: "O Buchettino; just tell me, how did you manage to climb up there?"

Buchettino answered: "Do you really want to know? Then listen. I put dishes upon dishes, glasses upon glasses, pans upon pans, kettles upon kettles; afterwards I climbed up on them and here am. I am!"

"Ah! Is that so?" said the ogre; "wait a bit." And quickly he took so many dishes, so many glasses, pans, kettles, and made a great mountain of them; then he began to climb up to go and catch Buchettino. But when he was on the top — brututum — everything fell down, and that rascal of an ogre fell down on the stones and was cheated again.

Then Buchettino, well pleased, ran to his mamma, who put a piece of candy in his little mouth. See whether there is any more!


(800 words)







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