Fairy Tales / Italian Popular Tales

Italian Popular Tales

The Three Brothers

Once upon a time there were three brothers: two had no clothes and one no shirt.

The weather was very bad and they make up their minds to go shooting. So they took down three guns, - two were broken and one had no barrel, - and walked and walked until they came at last to a meadow, where they saw a hare. They began to fire at it, but could not catch it. "What shall we do?" said one of them.

They remembered that near by a godmother of theirs lived; so they went and knocked at her door and asked her to lend them a pot to cook the hare they had not caught. The godmother was not at home, but nevertheless she answered: "My children, go in the kitchen and there you will find three pots, two broken and one with no bottom; take whichever you wish." "Thanks, Godmother!" They went into the kitchen and chose the one without a bottom and put the hare in it to cook.

While the hare was cooking, one said: "Let us ask our godmother whether she has anything in her garden." So they asked her and she said: "Yes, yes, my children, I have three walnut-trees; two are dead and one has never borne any nuts; knock off as many as you wish." One went and shook the tree that had never borne nuts, and a little nut fell on his hat and broke his heel. Thereupon they picked up the nuts and went to get the hare, which meanwhile was cooked, and said: "What shall we do with so much stuff?"

So they went to a village where there were many ill, and they put up a notice in the street that whoever wished might, at such and such a place, get broth given him in charity. Every one went to get some, and they took it in the salad-basket, and it was given to them with a skimmer.
One who did not belong to the village, drank so much of this broth that he was at the point of death. Then they sent for three physicians: one was blind, one deaf, and one dumb. The blind man went in and said: "Let me look at your tongue." The deaf man asked: "How are you?" The dumb said: "Give me some paper, pen and ink." They gave them to him and he said:

"Go to the apothecary,
For he knows the business;
Buy two cents' worth of I know not what,
Put it wherever you wish.
He will get well I know not when,
I will leave and commend him to you."

Source: Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Frederick Crane, A. M.

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