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Main > Italy folktales > Fairy tale "Pippo"


While they were eating, Pippo from time to time turned to the cat and said to her, "My pretty puss, pray take care that those rags don't slip through our fingers." Then the cat answered, "Be quiet, be quiet; don't be talking of these beggarly things." The King, wishing to know the subject of their talk, the cat made answer that Pippo had taken a fancy to a small lemon; whereupon the King instantly sent out to the garden for a basketful. But Pippo returned to the same tune about the old coats and shirts, and the cat again told him to hold his tongue. Then the King once more asked what was the matter, and the cat had another excuse to make amends for Pippo's rudeness.

At last, when they had eaten and conversed for some time about one thing and another, Pippo took his leave; and the cat stayed with the King, describing the worth, the wisdom, and the judgment of Pippo; and, above all, the great wealth he had in the plains of Rome and Lombardy, which well entitled him to marry even into the family of a crowned King. Then the King asked what might be his fortune; and the cat replied that no one could ever count the moveables, the fixtures, and the household furniture of this rich man, who did not even know what he possessed. If the King wished to be informed of it, he had only to send messengers with the cat, and she would prove to him that there was no wealth in the world equal to his.

Then the King called some trusty persons, and commanded them to inform themselves minutely of the truth; so they followed in the footsteps of the cat, who, as soon as they had passed the frontier of the kingdom, from time to time ran on before, under the pretext of providing refreshments for them on the road. Whenever she met a flock of sheep, a herd of cows, a troop of horses, or a drove of pigs, she would say to the herdsmen and keepers, "Ho! have a care! A troop of robbers is coming to carry off everything in the country. So if you wish to escape their fury, and to have your things respected, say that they all belong to the Lord Pippo, and not a hair will be touched.

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