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  • Il Novellino

    The Emperor and the Pilgrim

    The Emperor1 riding through the streets of Rome, saw a pilgrim who seemed to him to bear a close resemblance to his own person, and he asked his barons whether the said pilgrim was like him.

    Everyone said he was. Then the Emperor believed it was true what he thought about the pilgrim, namely that the pilgrim's mother might have been in Rome, and that his Imperial father might have had to do with her. He asked the pilgrim: Pilgrim, was your mother ever in Rome? And the pilgrim understood why the Emperor said that, and replied: Sire, my mother was never in Rome, but my father was, often.

    The EMperor appreciated how well the pilgrim had answered: he let him come to his court, and showed him much honour2.

    1 The Emperor Frederick II.
    2 This tale comes from the Magliabecchiana MS, as given in Papanti, No. 27.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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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]. 193-194


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