Italian Folktales

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First edition

Italian Folktales (Fiabe italiane) is a collection of 200 Italian folktales published in 1956 by Italo Calvino. Calvino began the project in 1954, influenced by Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale; his intention was to emulate the Straparola in producing a popular collection of Italian fairy tales for the general reader.[1] He did not compile tales from listeners, but made extensive use of the existing work of folklorists; he noted the source of each individual tale, but warned that was merely the version he used.[2]

He included extensive notes on his alterations to make the tales more readable and the logic of his selections, such as renaming the heroine of The Little Girl Sold with the Pears Perina rather than Margheritina to connect to the pears,[3] and selecting Bella Venezia as the Italian variant of Snow White because it featured robbers, rather than the variants containing dwarfs, which he suspected were imported from Germany.[4]

It was first translated into English in 1962; a further translation is by Sylvia Mulcahy (Dent, 1975) and constituted the first comprehensive collection of Italian folktales.[5]

List of tales[edit]

  1. Dauntless Little John vannino senza paura; (Fearless Giovannino [Johnny])
  2. The Man Wreathed in Seaweed (Riviera di Ponente) (L'uomo verde d'alghe; The man's green algae)
  3. The Ship with Three Decks (Riviera di Ponente (Il bastimento a tre piani)
  4. The Man Who Came Out Only at Night (Riviera di Ponente) (L'uomo che usciva solo di notte)
  5. And Seven! (Riviera di Ponente) (E Sette!)
  6. Body-without-Soul (Riviera di Ponente) (Corpo-senza-anima)
  7. Money Can Do Everything (Genoa) (Il denaro fa tutto)
  8. The Little Shepherd (Genoese hinterland) (Il pastore che non cresceva mai)
  9. Silver Nose (Langhe) (Naso d'argento)
  10. The Count's Beard (Bra)
  11. The Little Girl Sold with the Pears (Montferrat)
  12. The Snake (Montferrat)
  13. The Three Castles (Montferrat)
  14. The Prince Who Married a Frog (Montferrat)
  15. The Parrot (Montferrat) (Il pappagallo)
  16. The Twelve Oxen (Montferrat) (I dodici buoi)
  17. Crack and Crook (Montferrat)
  18. The Canary Prince (Turin)
  19. King Crin (Colline del Po)
  20. Those Stubborn Souls, the Biellese (Province of Biella)
  21. The Pot of Marjoram (Milan)
  22. The Billiards Player (Milan)
  23. Animal Speech (Mantua)
  24. The Three Cottages (Mantua)
  25. The Peasant Astrologer (Mantua)
  26. The Wolf and the Three Girls (Lake Garda)
  27. The Land Where One Never Dies (Verona)
  28. The Devotee of St. Joseph (Verona)
  29. The Three Crones (Venice)
  30. The Crab Prince (Venice)
  31. Silent for Seven Years (Venice)
  32. The Dead Man's Palace (Venice)
  33. Pome and Peel (Venice)
  34. The Cloven Youth (Venice)
  35. Invisible Grandfather (Venice)
  36. The King of Denmark's Son (Venice)
  37. Petie Pete Versus Witch Bea-Witch (Friuli)
  38. Quack, Quack! Stick to My Back! (Friuli)
  39. The Happy Man's Shirt (Friuli)
  40. One Night in Paradise (Friuli)
  41. Jesus and St. Peter in Friuli (Friuli)
  42. The Magic Ring (Trentino)
  43. The Dead Man's Arm (Trentino)
  44. The Science of Laziness (Trieste)
  45. Fair Brow (Istria)
  46. The Stolen Crown (Dalmatia)
  47. The King's Daughter Who Could Never Get Enough Figs (Rome)
  48. The Three Dogs (Romagna)
  49. Uncle Wolf (Romagna)
  50. Giricoccola (Bologna)
  51. Tabagnino the Hunchback (Bologna)
  52. The King of the Animals (Bologna)
  53. The Devil's Breeches (Bologna)
  54. Dear as Salt (Bologna)
  55. The Queen of the Three Mountains of Gold (Bologna)
  56. Lose Your Temper, and You Lose Your Bet (Bologna)
  57. The Feathered Ogre (Garfagnana estense)
  58. The Dragon with Seven Heads (Montale)
  59. Bellinda and the Monster (Montale)
  60. The Shepherd at Court (Montale)
  61. The Sleeping Queen (Montale)
  62. The Son of the Merchant from Milan (Montale)
  63. Monkey Palace (Montale)
  64. Rosina in the Oven (Montale)
  65. The Salamanna Grapes (Montale)
  66. The Enchanted Palace (Montale)
  67. Buffalo Head (Montale)
  68. The King of Portugal's Son (Montale)
  69. Fanta-Ghiro the Beautiful (Montale)
  70. The Old Woman's Hide (Montale)
  71. Olive (Montale)
  72. Catherine, Sly Country Lass (Montale)
  73. The Traveler from Turin (Montale)
  74. The Daughter of the Sun (Pisa) (La figlia del Sole)
  75. The Dragon and the Enchanted Filly (Pisa) (Il Drago e la cavallina fatata)
  76. The Florentine (Pisa) (Il Fiorentino)
  77. Ill-Fated Royalty (Pisa) (I Reali sfortunati)
  78. The Golden Ball (Pisa) (Il gobbino che picchia)
  79. Fioravante and Beautiful Isolina (Pisa) (Fioravante e la bella Isolina)
  80. Fearless Simpleton (Livorno) (Lo sciocco senza paura)
  81. The Milkmaid Queen (Livorno) (La lattaia regina)
  82. The Story of Campriano (Province of Lucca) (La storia di Campriano)
  83. The North Wind's Gift (Mugello) (Il regalo del vento tramontano)
  84. The Sorceress's Head (Val d'Arno Superiore) (La testa della Maga)
  85. Apple Girl (Firenze) (La ragazza mela)
  86. Prezzemolina (Firenze)
  87. The Fine Greenbird (Firenze) (L'Uccel bel-verde)
  88. The King in the Basket (Firenze)
  89. The One-Handed Murderer (Firenze)
  90. The Two Hunchbacks (Firenze)
  91. Pete and the Ox (Firenze)
  92. The King of the Peacocks (Siena)
  93. The Palace of the Doomed Queen (Siena)
  94. The Little Geese (Siena)
  95. Water in the Basket (Marche)
  96. Fourteen (Marche)
  97. Jack Strong, Slayer of Five Hundred (Marche)
  98. Crystal Rooster (Marche)
  99. A Boat for Land and Water (Rome)
  100. The Neapolitan Soldier (Rome)
  101. Belmiele and Belsole (Rome)
  102. The Haughty Prince (Rome)
  103. Wooden Maria (Rome)
  104. Louse Hide
  105. Cicco Petrillo (Rome)
  106. Nero and Bertha (Rome)
  107. The Love of the Three Pomegranates (Abruzzo)
  108. Joseph Ciufolo, Tiller-Flutist (Abruzzo)
  109. Bella Venezia (Abruzzo)
  110. The Mangy One (Abruzzo)
  111. The Wildwood King (Abruzzo)
  112. Mandorlinfiore (Abruzzo)
  113. The Three Blind Queens (Abruzzo)
  114. Hunchback Wryneck Hobbler (Abruzzo)
  115. One-Eye (Abruzzo)
  116. The False Grandmother (Abruzzo)
  117. Frankie-Boy's Trade (Abruzzo)
  118. Shining Fish (Abruzzo)
  119. Miss North Wind and Mr. Zephyr (Molise)
  120. The Palace Mouse and the Garden Mouse (Molise)
  121. The Moor's Bones (Benevento)
  122. The Chicken Laundress (Irpinia)
  123. Crack, Crook, and Hook (Irpinia)
  124. First Sword and Last Broom (Napoli)
  125. Mrs. Fox and Mr. Wolf (Napoli)
  126. The Five Scapegraces (Terra d'Otranto)
  127. Ari-Ari, Donkey, Donkey, Money, Money! (Terra d'Otranto)
  128. The School of Salamanca (Terra d'Otranto)
  129. The Tale of the Cats (Terra d'Otranto)
  130. Chick (Terra d'Otranto)
  131. The Slave Mother (Terra d'Otranto)
  132. The Sire Wife (Taranto)
  133. The Princesses Wed to the First Passer-By (Basilicata)
  134. Liombruno (Basilicata)
  135. Cannelora (Basilicata)
  136. Filo d'Oro and Filomena (Basilicata)
  137. The Thirteen Bandits (Basilicata)
  138. The Three Orphans (Calabria)
  139. Sleeping Beauty and Her Children (Calabria)
  140. The Handmade King (Calabria)
  141. The Turkey Hen (Calabria)
  142. The Three Chicory Gatherers (Calabria)
  143. Beauty-with-the-Seven-Dresses (Calabria)
  144. Serpent King (Calabria)
  145. The Widow and the Brigand (Greci di Calabria)
  146. The Crab with the Golden Eggs (Greci di Calabria)
  147. Nick Fish
  148. Grattula-Beddattula
  149. Misfortune
  150. Pippina the Serpent
  151. Catherine the Wise
  152. The Ismailian Merchant
  153. The Thieving Dove
  154. Dealer in Peas and Beans
  155. The Sultan with the Itch
  156. The Wife Who Lived on Wind
  157. Wormwood
  158. The King of Spain and the English Milord
  159. The Bejeweled Boot
  160. The Left-Hand Squire
  161. Rosemary
  162. Lame Devil
  163. Three Tales by Three Sons of Three Merchants
  164. The Dove Girl
  165. Jesus and St. Peter in Sicily
  166. The Barber's Timepiece
  167. The Count's Sister
  168. Master Francesco Sit-Down-and-Eat
  169. The Marriage of Queen and a Bandit
  170. The Seven Lamb Heads
  171. The Two Sea Merchants
  172. Out in the World
  173. A Boat Loaded with…
  174. The King's Son in the Henhouse
  175. The Mincing Princess
  176. The Great Narbone
  177. Animal Talk and the Nosy Wife
  178. The Calf with the Golden Horns
  179. The Captain and the General
  180. The Peacock Feather
  181. The Garden Witch
  182. The Mouse with the Long Tail
  183. The Two Cousins
  184. The Two Muleteers
  185. Giovannuzza the Fox
  186. The Child that Fed the Crucifix
  187. Steward Truth
  188. The Foppish King
  189. The Princess with the Horns
  190. Giufa
  191. Fra Ignazio
  192. Solomon's Advice
  193. The Man Who Robbed the Robbers
  194. The Lions' Grass
  195. The Convent of Nuns and the Monastery of Monks
  196. The Male Fern
  197. St. Anthony's Gift
  198. March and the Shepherd (Marzo e il Pastore)
  199. John Balento
  200. Jump into My Sack


  1. ^ Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p xvi ISBN 0-15-645489-0
  2. ^ Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p xx ISBN 0-15-645489-0
  3. ^ Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 717 ISBN 0-15-645489-0
  4. ^ Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 739 ISBN 0-15-645489-0
  5. ^ Terri Windling, White as Ricotta, Red as Wine: The Magic Lore of Italy Archived 2014-02-10 at the Wayback Machine"