The Biellesi, hard men

Translated from: Italo Calvino, Fiabe Italiane, Mondadori Ed.

Once upon a time a farmer was going into Biella. It was raining so heavy it was almost impossible to go ahead through the street. But the farmer had an important deal and he went on walking lowhead, against the rain and the storm.

He met an old man who told him: - Good morning! Where do you go, sir, so hurried?
Into Biella - the farmer answered without staying.
- You could add "If God wants".
The farmer stopped, he glanced at the old man and he replied - If God wants, I shall go into Biella; and if God doesn't, I have to go there anyway.

Now it happened (that) the old man was the Lord. - Then you will go into Biella within seven years.
Suddenly the farmer changed into a frog, he jumped and he dived into the slush. Seven years elapsed. The farmer went out from the slush, he became again a man, he pressed down his hat onto his head, and he retook the way to the market. After a few steps, that old man again: - What is the beautiful place where you are going?
- Into Biella.
- You could add "If God wants".
- If God wants well; otherwise, I know the agreement, and I know by myself how to dive into the slush.
And it was impossible to get another word from his mouth.

Gianluca Gérard <>
Last updated Oct 18, 1995