Photos of Italy -
Home Advertise Articles Email Forum News Store

Art, Cuisine, Famous Italians, Festivals, Folklore, Genealogy, Holidays, Hotels, Photos, Real Estate, Sports, Travel and More

  • Buying Property Guide
  • City/Island Guides
  • Inheritance Guide
  • Regional Guides
    Surname Collection
    Add your name to the collection.
    Authentic Italian recipes for you to enjoy.
    Photo Galleries
    Enjoy photos of Italy, wine making & more.
    Proverbs in Italian & English.
    Our Paesani
    Weekly column dedicated to today's Italy.
    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Italian Memories
    Articles on growing up Italian.
    by Cookie Curci

    Una Mamma Italiana
    Articles for Italian mammas.
    by Tiffany Longo

    Learn Italian
    English-Italian guides
    Spanish-Italian guides.

    Molto Italiano
    Sign up for our FREE newsletter.
    Test your knowledge of Italy.
  • Il Novellino

    How the Sultan gave two hundred marks to a man and how his treasurer wrote down the entry in his presence

    Saladin1 was a most noble lord, brave and generous. Once he gave two hundred marks to a man who had given him a basket of winter roses grown in a hot-house. His treasurer wrote down the sum in his presence, and through a slip of the pen he wrote three hundred marks. Saladin said: what are you doing? The treasurer answered: Sire, I have blundered, and he was about to cancel the surplus. Then Saladin spoke: do not cancel it; write four hundred instead. It would be ill for me were your pen more generous than I.

    This Saladin, at the time of his sultanate, ordered a truce between himself and the Christians, and said he would like to behold our customs, and if they pleased him, he would become a Christian.

    The truce was made.

    Saladin came in person to study the habits of the Christians; he beheld the tables set for eating with dazzlingly white cloths, and he praised them exceedingly.

    And he beheld the disposition of the table where the King of France ate, set apart from the others.

    And he praised it highly. He saw the places where the great ones of the realm ate, and he praised them highly.

    He saw how the poor ate on the ground in humility, and this he disapproved greatly.

    Moreover, he blamed them for that the lord's friends ate more lowly and further down the table.

    Then the Christians went to see the customs of the Saracens, and saw that they ate on the ground grossly.

    The Sultan had his pavilion, where they ate, richly draped and the ground covered with carpets which were closely worked with crosses.

    The stupid Christians entered, stepping with their feet on these crosses and spitting upon them as on the ground.

    Then the Sultan spoke and took them to task harshly: do you preach the Cross and scorn it thus? It would seem then that you love your God only with show of words and not with deeds. Your behaviour and your manners do not meet with my liking.

    The truce was broken off, and the war began again.2

    1 Selah-eddyn (1137-93), Sultan of Egypt, after 1174 famous throughout medieval Christendom for his knightliness. He is one of the chief characters of Scott's Talisman.
    2 The second part of this tale is to be found in the Cronaca of Turpino, and in F. Sacchctti's 125th tale.

    Previous Tale Next Tale
    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
    Return to Italian Folktales Page

    Additional Resources
    Famous Italians Folk Dances Folk Songs
    Folklore/Legends Proverbs/Proverbi Traditions

    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 85-87


    Follow Us

    Featured Item

    Shirts & Novelties

    Partner Links


    Italiansrus Gear
    Proudly display the colors of Italy with these great products.

    Speak Italian? Speak it better! Subscribe to Tutto italiano Today!
    The world largest online retailer for Premium Italian Fashions.


    Tour Italy
    Customize your trip to Italy.

    | Home | Email | Forum | Newsletter |

    Copyright © 1998-2018 Anthony Parente. All rights reserved.