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Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane

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Saddaedda

ONCE upon a time there was a girl called Saddaedda, who was crazy. One day, when her mother had gone into the country and she was left alone in the house, she went into a church where the funeral service was being read over the body of a rich lady. The girl hid herself in the confessional. No one knew she was there. So, when the other people had gone, she was left alone with the corpse. It was dressed out in a rose-colored robe and everything else becoming, and it had earrings in its ears and rings on its fingers. These the girl took off, and then she began to undress the body. When she came to the stockings she drew off one easily, but at the other she had to pull so hard that at last the leg came off with it. Saddaedda took the leg, carried it to her lonely home, and locked it up in a box. At night came the dead lady and knocked at the door.

"Who's there?" said the girl.

"It is I," answered the corpse. "Give me back my leg and stocking!"

But Saddaedda paid no heed to the request. Next day she prepared a feast and invited some of her playfellows to spend the night with her. They came, feasted, and went to sleep. At midnight the dead woman began to knock at the door and to repeat last night's request. Saddaedda took no notice of the noise, but her companions, whom it awoke, were horrified, and as soon as they could, they ran away. On the third night just the same happened. On the fourth she could persuade only one girl to keep her company.

On the fifth she was left entirely alone. The corpse came, forced open the door, strode up to Saddaedda's bed, and strangled her. Then the dead woman opened the box, took out her leg and stocking, and carried them off with her to her grave.

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

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