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

    Here is told a tale of Messer Imberal del Balzo

    Messer Imberal del Balzo1 had a great castle in Provence, and he made much account of auguries as the Spaniards do, and a philosopher, whose name was Pythagoras and came from Spain2, wrote an astronomical table, in which were many meanings of animals, according to the twelve signs of the zodiac. When birds quarrel. When a man finds a weasel in the road. When the fire sings, and many meanings of jays and magpies and crows and of many other animals, according to the moon.

    And so Messer Imberal, riding one day with his company, was taking great care to avoid these birds, for he feared to encounter an augury. He found a woman on his path, and asked her and said: tell me, good woman, whether you have this morning found or seen any birds such as crows, ravens or magpies.

    And the woman answered: Sir, I saw a crow on the trunk of a willow tree. Now tell me, woman, in what direction was it holding its tail? And the woman replied: Sir, it held it turned towards its behind.3 Then Messer Imberal feared the augury, and said to his companions: before God, I will ride no more to-day nor to-morrow in the face of this augury.

    And often was this tale told in Provence, because of the novel reply which that woman had inadvertently given.

    1 En Barral, or Sire Barral, lord of the noble house of Balzo in Provence. He was a lover of letters, philosophy and the arcane arts.
    2 The famous philosopher, reputed the founder of mathematics, was not born in Spain but in Samos. This is another of the numerous instances of the fantastic geographical and historical notions of the compiler of the Novellino.
    3 Imberal expect her to say towards which of the cardinal poinu the bird's tail was turned.

    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]. 98-100


    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.