ENGLISH

Stories about snakes

ITALIANO

Storie della serpe


There was once a little child whose mother gave her every afternoon a small bowl of milk and bread, and the child seated herself in the yard with it. When she began to eat however, a snake came creeping out of a crevice in the wall, dipped its little head in the dish, and ate with her. The child had pleasure in this, and when she was sitting there with her little dish and the snake did not come at once, she cried,

"Snake, snake, come swiftly
Hither come, thou tiny thing,
Thou shalt have thy crumbs of bread,
Thou shalt refresh thyself with milk."

Then the snake came in haste, and enjoyed its food. Moreover it showed gratitude, for it brought the child all kinds of pretty things from its hidden treasures, bright stones, pearls, and golden playthings. The snake, however, only drank the milk, and left the bread-crumbs alone. Then one day the child took its little spoon and struck the snake gently on its head with it, and said, "Eat the bread-crumbs as well, little thing." The mother, who was standing in the kitchen, heard the child talking to someone, and when she saw that she was striking a snake with her spoon, ran out with a log of wood, and killed the good little creature.
From that time forth, a change came over the child. As long as the snake had eaten with her, she had grown tall and strong, but now she lost her pretty rosy cheeks and wasted away. It was not long before the funeral bird began to cry in the night, and the redbreast to collect little branches and leaves for a funeral garland, and soon afterwards the child lay on her bier.

Second Story.

An orphan child was sitting on the town walls spinning, when she saw a snake coming out of a hole low down in the wall. Swiftly she spread out beside this one of the blue silk handkerchiefs which snakes have such a strong liking for, and which are the only things they will creep on. As soon as the snake saw it, it went back, then returned, bringing with it a small golden crown, laid it on the handkerchief, and then went away again. The girl took up the crown, it glittered and was of delicate golden filagree work. It was not long before the snake came back for the second time, but when it no longer saw the crown, it crept up to the wall, and in its grief smote its little head against it as long as it had strength to do so, until at last it lay there dead. If the girl had but left the crown where it was, the snake would certainly have brought still more of its treasures out of the hole.

Third Story.

A snake cries, "Huhu, huhu." A child says, "Come out." The snake comes out, then the child inquires about her little sister: "Hast thou not seen little Red-stockings?" The snake says, "No." - "Neither have I." - "Then I am like you. Huhu, huhu, huhu."
1.

Un bambino sedeva per terra davanti alla porta di casa e aveva accanto a s‚ una scodellina di latte e pezzi di pane, e mangiava. In quella arrivò una serpe strisciando, ficcò la sua testolina nella scodella e mangiò con lui. Il giorno dopo tornò ancora e così ogni giorno per un certo periodo di tempo. Il bambino la lasciava fare, ma vedendo che la serpe beveva sempre solo il latte e non toccava i pezzetti di pane, prese il suo cucchiaino, la batté‚ un poco sul capo e disse: -Su, mangia anche il pane!-. In quel periodo il bambino era diventato bello ed era cresciuto. Un giorno la madre se ne stava dietro di lui e, vedendo la serpe, corse fuori e l'ammazzò. Da quel momento il bambino incominciò a dimagrire e infine morì.

2.

Un'orfanella sedeva presso il muro di cinta e filava, quando vide venire una serpe. Allora stese accanto a s‚ uno scialle di seta azzurra; piace tanto alle serpi e non vanno che su quello. Appena la serpe lo vide, tornò indietro, riapparve portando una piccola coroncina d'oro; la mise sullo scialle e se ne andò. La fanciulla prese la corona, che brillava ed era di sottile filigrana d'oro. Poco dopo la serpe tornò per la seconda volta, ma non vedendo più la corona, strisciò fino al muro e per il dolore vi picchiò contro la testina finché‚ ne ebbe la forza, e poi giacque morta. Se la fanciulla avesse lasciato stare la corona, la serpe avrebbe portato fuori dalla tana anche altri tesori.

3.

La serpe grida: -Uuh, uuh!-. Il bimbo dice: -Vieni fuori!-. La serpe esce e il bimbo chiede notizie della sorellina: -Non hai visto delle calzette rosse?-. La serpe risponde: -No, non le ho viste; e tu? Uuh, uuh!-.




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