A Fairytale from Italy

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A Fairytale from Italy

Post by Wind-Dancer on April 17th 2009, 3:17 pm

"The Fairy of the Woods & the Fairy of the Water"
A Fairytale from Italy

ONCE upon a time there lived in the seaside town of Salerno, Italy, a good old woman, a fishwife by trade, whose sole treasure and support was her grandson, a boy nearly twelve years of age.

He was a poor orphan, whose father had been drowned one stormy night, and whose mother had died soon afterward of grief. The boy, named Grazioso, had but his grandmother to love and to be loved by.

His grandmother was very old; she had only one tooth left in her head; her eyes were so dim that she could scarcely see, and her head shook with palsy. Each morning found her weaker, and increased her difficulty in getting about, and she felt sure that her end was drawing near. So every evening before Grazioso wrapped himself in his blanket and lay down on the floor, she tried to prepare him for the time when he would be left all alone.

Every time the old woman began to speak in her grave voice, the boy would raise his hand. "Grandmother," he would say, "I will not hear any of this. You must never leave me. I have arms, I am strong. Soon I will be able to work for us both. But if I should return from fishing some day and not find you at home, how could I live without you?"

Then he would embrace her.

"My child," said the old woman one day, "You shall not be as alone as you fear when I am gone. It is time now that I told you a great secret. Some years ago I rendered a service to two magical ladies. They will never forget you when the time comes for you to call them to your aid. And that time may now be very soon."

"Who are these two magical ladies?" asked Grazioso, who had only seen fishwives in his grandmother's hut.

"They are two fairies," replied his grandmother, "the fairy of the water and the fairy of the woods. Listen to me, my child, for this is a secret which will ensure your fortune and your future happiness. Ten years ago, the same year your father died and your mother left us, too, I had gone out at daybreak to catch the crabs asleep in the sand. I was stooping down, hidden by a rock, when I saw a beautiful green snake twined around the neck of a halcyon bird -- not in combat, mind you, but as if in a tender embrace. There was no doubt in my mind that they were both fairies, and probably fairies under enchantment. Just then I saw a great black cat, which could be nothing else other than an evil magician according to what I had heard in my youth. The cat stood erect, with his tail bristling, and sprang on the innocent pair.

"I threw myself upon the assassin, who already had hold of his victims in his murderous claws. I grabbed the monster off his prey, shook him, and threw him far away. He scampered off in defeat.

"Just then I saw before me two beautiful ladies, one with a crown of white feathers, and the other with a scarf made of snake's skin. They were, as I have told you, my son, the fairy of the water and the fairy of the woods. Under a wicked enchantment, they were obliged to remain bird and snake until some generous hand should restore them to liberty, and it was to me they owed their freedom.

"They said to me that I could ask whatever I wanted, and my wish should be fulfilled.

"I thought of how I was already old (and that was ten years ago, my child!). I had too hard a life to wish for it over again, but it occurred to me that for you, my child, the day would come when you might wish to be a rich man, or a nobleman, perhaps even a prince. 'When that day comes,' I thought to myself, 'I shall be able to give him his heart's desire!' How my heart then lifted, knowing that I could provide you such happiness! It made my eighty long years seem all worthwhile.

"I thanked the fairies and begged them to keep their goodwill for me until the time came when I should need it. The fairy of the water then took a small feather from her crown, and the fairy of the woods took a scale from the snake's skin.

"They said to me that when it was time to call them, to put the feather and the scale into a vessel of pure water. At the same time, I was to call upon them as I formed my wish. They said that even if they were at the ends of the earth, I would see them before me in an instant, ready to repay their debt."

"These treasures," said Grazioso, "where are they now, grandmother?"

"Go to the bottom of the bin, my boy. There you will find a small wooden box hidden under some rags that's wrapped up in rope. Open up the wooden box, because inside it you will find the scale and feather wrapped in cotton wool. Be careful not to hurt them, and carry them tenderly to me. Then I will tell you what to do next."

Grazioso carried the box to the poor woman, who could no longer leave her bed, and she took the two things in her hand.

"Now," she said to her grandson, handing them back to him, "place a dish full of pure water in the middle of the room, and lay the scale and the feather in the water. Then wish: Ask for fortune, ask for greatness, for wit, for power -- anything you desire, my boy!"

Grazioso quickly placed the dishful of water in the middle of the room and threw the feather and the scale into it. He cried from the bottom of his heart, "I wish grandmother to live forever! Appear, fairy of the water! Appear, fairy of the woods!"

The water bubbled and bubbled, and the dish became a great basin that was almost too big for the cottage to hold. From the depths of the basin Grazioso saw two beautiful young women rise, whom he recognized at once as fairies by their wands. The great ladies smiled upon Grazioso, who had taken refuge beside his grandmother and stood trembling with fear and admiration.

"Here we are," said the fairy of the water. "We heard what the boy said. Son, your wish does you credit. But we cannot grant your grandmother eternal life, we can only prolong her life for some time. Is that what you wish?" Grazioso nodded.

Immediately the door to the cottage was thrown wide open. Grazioso was drawn outside, where he entered a courtyard surrounded by stone arches covered with foliage. And in the midst of it all sprang a fountain! Never had there been a courtyard or a fountain or any such fineries outside their cottage before. Near the fountain stood a lady clad in white, of noble appearance, who looked about forty years of age. She walked toward Grazioso, and welcomed him with a gentle smile.

"Child, do you not know me?" said the lady to Grazioso.

"Oh, Grandmother, is it you?" the boy exclaimed.

She embraced the boy, and they both knew that nothing would ever separate them again.

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Re: A Fairytale from Italy

Post by Linda on April 17th 2009, 7:00 pm

Thank you Wind-Dancer, I enjoyed this Fairytale very much. (-: Linda
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Re: A Fairytale from Italy

Post by Spirit-Being on April 18th 2009, 11:47 am

Very Nice Very Happy

Many Blessings

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Re: A Fairytale from Italy

Post by parrotlover100 on April 19th 2009, 12:46 am

yes Wind-Dancer, that was a very nice story with so much love and unselflessness beautiful. Very Happy

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