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  • Il Novellino

    XVIII
    Of the judgment of God on a baron of Charlemagne

    Charlemagne came to the point of death while fighting the Saracens in the field, and made his testament.

    Among other things he left his horse and his arms to the poor. And he left them in charge of a baron of his that he should sell them, and give the money to the poor.

    The baron kept them, however, instead of obeying. Charlemagne appeared to him and said : you have made me suffer eight generations of torment in purgatory on account of the horse and the arms which you received. But thanks be to God, I now go, purged of my sins, to heaven and you will pay dearly for your act.

    Whereat, in the presence of a hundred thousand people, there descended a thunderbolt from the sky, and bore the baron away to hell.1

    1 Biagi's version is a little more elaborate. The origin of the tale is to be found in the Pseudo-Turpino. See Gaspary, History of Italian Literature.

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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 69-70

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