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Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane

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Malchus at the Column

MALCHUS was the head of the Jews who killed our Lord. The Lord pardoned them all, and likewise the good thief, but he never pardoned Malchus, because it was he who gave the Madonna a blow. He is confined under a mountain, and condemned to walk around a column, without resting, as long as the world lasts. Every time that he walks about the column he gives it a blow in memory of the blow he gave the mother of our Lord. He has walked around the column so long that he has sunk into the ground. He is now up to his neck. When he is under, head and all, the world will come to an end, and God will then send him to the place prepared for him. He asks all those who go to see him (for there are such) whether children are yet born; and when they say yes, he gives a deep sigh and resumes his walk, saying: "The time is not yet!" for before the world comes to an end there will be no children born for seven years.

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THIS LEGEND recalls the Wandering Jew, who is known in Sicilian tra dition under the name of Buttadeu (from buttari, to thrust away, and deu, God) or more commonly as "The Jew who repulsed Jesus Christ." He is reported to have appeared in Sicily, and the daughter of a certain Antoni no Caseio, a peasant of Salaparuta, gives the following account of her father's encounter with Buttadeu:

The Story of Buttadeu

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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