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Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane

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The Cock That Wished to Become Pope

IT occurred once to the cock to go to Rome and have himself elected Pope. So he started out, and on the way found a letter, which he took with him. The hen met him, and asked: "Mr. Cock, where are you going?" "I am going to Rome, to be Pope." "Will you take me with you?" she asked. "First I must look in my letter," said the cock, and looked at his letter. "Come along; if I become Pope, you can be the Popess." So Mr. Cock and Mrs. Hen continued their journey and met a cat, who said: "Mr. Cock and Mrs. Hen, where are you going?" "We are going to Rome, and wish to be Pope and Popess." "Will you take me with you?" "Wait until I look in my letter," said the cock, and glanced at it. "Very well; come along; you can be our lady's-maid." After a while they met a weasel, who asked: "Where are you going, Mr. Cock, Mrs. Hen, and Mrs. Cat?" "We are going to Rome, where I intend to become Pope," answered the cock. "Will you take me with you?" "Wait until I look in my letter," said he. When the cock looked in his letter, he said: "Very well; come along."

So the three animals continued their journey together towards Rome. At night-fall they came to a little house where lived an old witch, who had just gone out. So each animal chose a place to suit him. The weasel sat himself in the cupboard, the cat on the hearth in the warm ashes, and the cock and the hen flew up on the beam over the door.

When the old witch came home she wanted to get a light out of the cupboard, and the weasel struck her in the face with his tail. Then she wanted to light the candle, and went to the hearth. She took the bright eyes of the cat for live coals and tried to light the match by them, and hit the cat in the eyes. The cat jumped in her face and scratched her fright fully. When the cock heard all the noise he began to crow loudly. Then the witch saw that they were no ghosts, but harmless domestic animals, and took a stick and drove all four out of the house.

The cat and the weasel had no longer any desire to prolong their journey; but the cock and hen continued their way.

When they reached Rome they entered an open church, and the cock said to the sexton: "Have all the bells rung, for now I will be Pope." "Good!" answered the sexton; "that may be, but just come in here." Then he led the cock and the hen into the sacristry, shut the door, and caught them both. After he had caught them he twisted their necks and put them in the pot. Then he invited his friends, and they ate with great glee Mr. Cock and Mrs. Hen.

Crane, Thomas Frederick. Italian Popular Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1885.
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Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Crane

Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Crane

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