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  1. Those Stubborn Souls, the Biellese
  2. The Value of Good Clothes

Those Stubborn Souls, the Biellese

A farmer was on his way down to Biella one day. The weather was so stormy that it was next to impossible to get over the roads. But the farmer had important business and pushed onward in the face of the driving rain.

He met an old man, who said to him, "A good day to you! Where are you going, my good man, in such haste?"

"To Biella," answered the farmer, without slowing down. "You might at least say, "God willing.""

The farmer stopped, looked the old man in the eye, and snapped, "God willing, I'm on my way to Biella. But even if God isn't willing, I still have to go there all the same."

Now the old man happened to be the Lord. "In that case you'll go to Biella in seven years," he said. "In the meantime, jump into this swamp and stay there for seven years."

Suddenly the farmer changed into a frog and jumped into the swamp.

Seven years went by. The farmer came out of the swamp, turned back into a man, clapped his hat on his head, and continued on his way to market.

After a short distance he met the old man again. "And where are you going, my good man?"

"To Biella."

"You might say, "God willing.""

"If God wills it, fine. If not, I know the consequence and can now go into the swamp unassisted."

Not for the life of him would he say one word more.



The Value of Good Clothes

Once Giufà went in ragged working-clothes to a farm-house for something. When the people on the farm saw a shabby-looking man coming at a distance, they came near setting the dogs on him and made him leave in a hurry.

When his mother heard it, she dressed him up in a fine coat, a pair of breeches, and a velvet vest. Giufà now looked like an overseer. When he went to the same farm-house, what great ceremonies they made! They invited him to dine with them, and while at the table all were very attentive to him.

At the table, Giufà first ate and filled his stomach, and then put whatever was left over into his pockets, coat, and hat, saying: "Eat, my clothes, for you were invited!"

(Crane, retold).

Giufà, or Giucà in some areas of Italy, is a folklore character. His antics have been told retold through centuries of oral tradition. Such a bravado character is part of many Mediterranean cultures.



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