(2/1/03 7:52:32 am)
Death, fairy tales, folk tales, myth, revisited...|
Hello all- sorry I haven't been around much lately. Searching for a new career- or making one up- has been exhausting. I actually will continue to be away for a little longer, as I have just heard that my grandmother died last night. Death doesn't seem to be out of a job lately, as my grandfather's sister (nearly 100) also died this month, the space shuttle has blown up today, and we seem to be on the verge of war.
With all of this in mind, I thought I would revisit the topic of death in fairy tales, folk tales, mythology, etc. Modern retellings, advertisements, etc. also welcome.
As she was Italian, I thought I would ask if there were any Italian specific tales about death.
I hope all is well with everyone. I'll try to come back soon, hopefully with more posts.
(2/1/03 10:22:42 pm)
Myth of Baucis and Philemon|
The story is told by Ovid, and thus, is Italian I suppose. It goes something like this:
Jupiter and Mercury were travelling and in their usual fashion were dressed to disguise themselves as mere mortals and poor ones at that. They visited many homes looking for some hospitality, but were turned away. Finally, they came across a hut in which an old woman, Baucis, and an old man, Philemon, lived. Although the two old people had little, they eagerly shared what they had with the two disguised gods.
After a time the gods revealed themselves, and punished those that had been inhospitable by flooding the countryside. They spared their hosts, however, and turned the hovel into a temple. Finally, they offered the old folks a gift. Baucis and Philemon requested that they never live without the other, but that they die together.
Time passed and B and P served the gods at the temple and grew very old. Then one day, as they were talking, they slowly began sprouting leaves and putting on bark. They became a linden and oak tree that grew from the same trunk.
I always like that story. I hope it helps.
(2/2/03 11:29:56 am)
On the outskirts of the town lived an old woman. She was desperately poor, but owned one treasure: a large old orange tree in her back garden. In season it would bear gigantic golden oranges among the dark foliage. She would sell them for a good price at the market on Saturday mornings, and everybody knew that they were the sweetest to be found in the region. All the boys in the town also knew that the tree was enchanted. If anyone but the old woman tried to pick an orange he would instantly be stuck to the tree and could only be freed by the owner of the tree herself, usually after a good beating!
The woman was very old, older than anybody in town could remember. And her secret was no secret at all: whenever Death came for her, she made sure that she was not at home. Of course one cannot cheat Death forever, so one day he made sure that she had no warning of his approach, and surprised her at the hearth.
She quickly recovered from her shock at seeing the Grim Reaper, and asked for one last request.
"Certainly," replied Death, who prided himself in being a gentleman.
"I would love to taste one of my sweet oranges for the last time," the woman said. "Could you get me one?"
That is why La Misera, Poverty, is immortal.
A story told by Uys Krige, more or less as I remember it.