THE GOLDEN ORANGE IN SICILIAN CULTURE

Posted on2020-08-27

The Golden Oranges
Fable by Luigi Capuana

It is said that once upon a time there was a King, who had a magnificent garden behind the royal palace. There was no missing tree of any kind; but the rarest and most valuable was the one that produced the golden oranges.
When the season of the oranges came, the King would put a sentry on guard night and day; and every morning he himself went down to observe with his own eyes if ever a leaf was missing.
One morning he goes into the garden, and finds the sentry asleep. Look at the tree ... The golden oranges were gone!
"Wretched sentinel, you will pay with your head."
«Majesty, I am not to blame. A goldfinch came, perched on a branch and began to sing. Sing, sing, sing, my eyes grew dark. I chased him off that branch, but he went to rest on another. Sing, sing, sing, I couldn't stand up from sleep. I chased him from there too, and as soon as he stopped singing, my sleep vanished. But he settled on top of the tree, and sings, sings, sings ..., I've slept so far! "
The King did nothing to him.
At the new season, he entrusted Reuccio himself with the guard.
One morning he goes into the garden and finds the Reuccio asleep. Look at the tree ... The golden oranges were gone!
Let alone his anger!
"How? Did you fall asleep too? "
«Majesty, I am not to blame. A goldfinch came, perched on a branch and began to sing. Sing, sing, sing, my eyes were getting worse. I told him: treacherous goldfinch, with the Reuccio it does not help you! And it teases me: the Reuccio sleeps! the Reuccio sleeps! Traitor Goldfinch, with the Reuccio it does not help you! And it teases me: the Reuccio goes to sleep! the Reuccio goes to sleep! And sing, sing, sing ..., I've slept so far! "
The King wanted to try himself; and when the season came, he began to keep watch. When the oranges were ripe, the goldfinch alights on a branch and begins to sing. The King wanted to shoot him, but it was dark as in a gorge. Meanwhile he had a great desire to sleep!
"Traitor goldfinch, this time it doesn't help you! But it was hard for him to keep his eyes open. "
The goldfinch began to mock him:
"Pss! Pss! The King sleeps! Pss! Pss! The King sleeps! "
And he sings, sings, sings, the King fell asleep worse than a dormouse too.
In the morning he opened his eyes: the golden oranges were gone!
Then he made a ban for all his states:
"Anyone who brought him that goldfinch, dead or alive, would receive a mule loaded with gold as a tip.
Six months passed, and no one was seen.
Finally one day a very badly dressed peasant shows up:
"Majesty, do you really want that goldfinch?" Promise me Reginotta's hand, and in less than three days you will have it. "
The King took him by the shoulders, and put him outside the door.
The next day he returned:
'Majesty, do you really want that goldfinch? Promise me Reginotta's hand, and in less than three days you will have it. "
The King took him by the shoulders, gave him a kick and put him outside the door.
But the next day, that one, stubborn, he would return: "Majesty, do you really want the goldfinch?" Promise me Reginotta's hand, and in less than three days you will have it. "
The King, angry, called a guard and had him taken to prison.
In the meantime, he ordered an iron net be made around the tree; with those thick bars, there was no longer a need for a sentry. But when the oranges were ripe, one morning he went into the garden ... The golden oranges were gone.
Let alone his anger! He had, of necessity, to get along with that farmer.
"Bring me the goldfinch alive and the Reginotta will be yours."
"Majesty, in three days."
And before the three days passed he was already back.
“Majesty, here it is. The Reginotta is mine now. "
The King grew dark. Should he give the Reginotta to that lout?
"Do you want joys? Do you want some gold? You will have as long as you want. But as for Reginotta, clean your mouth. "
"Majesty, this was the deal."
"Do you want joys? Do you want some gold? "
“Keep everything. Whatever will be, will be!"
And he went away.
The King said to the goldfinch:
"Now that I have you in my hands, I want to torture you."
The goldfinch screamed, feeling its feathers plucked one by one.
"Where are the golden oranges stored?"
"If you don't do anything to me, Majesty, I'll tell you."
"I won't do anything to you anymore."
"The golden oranges are stored inside the Grotto of the seven doors. But there is the merchant, with the red cap, who stands guard. You need to know the motto; and only two know it: the merchant and that peasant who took me. "
The King sent for the farmer.
“Let's make another deal. I would like to enter the Grotto of the seven doors, and I don't know the motto. If you tell me, the Reginotta will be yours. "
"Word of King?"
"Word of King!"
«Majesty, the motto is this:“ Secca risecca! Open up, Cecca "."
"All right."
The King went, said the motto, and the Grotto was opened. The farmer stood outside waiting for him.
In that cave the diamonds, piles on the ground, dazzled. Seeing himself alone, his Majesty bent down and filled his pockets. But in the next room, the diamonds, always in piles, were bigger and more beautiful. The King emptied his pockets, and returned to fill them with these. Thus up to the last room, where, in a corner, the golden oranges of the royal garden could be seen piled up.
There was a saddlebag there, and the King filled it. Now that he knew the motto, he would come back several times.
When he went out of the Grotto, with his saddlebag on his neck, he found the farmer waiting for him.
"Majesty, the Queen is mine now."
The King grew dark. Should he give the Reginotta to that lout?
«Ask for any grace and it will be granted to you. But for Reginotta, clean your mouth. "
"Majesty, and your word?"
"Words are carried by the wind."
"When you get to the palace you will notice it."
Arriving at the palace, the King puts down his saddlebag and starts to empty it. But instead of golden oranges, he finds rotten oranges.
He puts his hands in his pockets, the diamonds have become so many snail shells!
Ah! that piece of peasant had done it!
But the goldfinch paid for it.
And he went back to torture him.
"Where are my golden oranges?"
"If you don't do anything to me, Majesty, I'll tell you."
"I won't do anything to you anymore."
«They are there where you have seen them; but to get them back you need to know another motto, and only two know it: the merchant and that peasant who took me. "
The King sent for him: «Let's make another deal. Tell me the motto to take back the oranges and the Reginotta will be yours. "
"Word of King?"
"Word of King!"
"Majesty, the motto is this:" I'm on you: Give me the bone "."
"All right."
The King went and returned several times with his saddlebag full, and brought all the golden oranges back to the palace.
Then the farmer introduced himself: "Your Majesty, the Reginotta is mine now."
The King grew dark. Should he give the Reginotta to that lout?
“That's the real treasure: take what you like. As for Reginotta, clean your mouth. "
"Don't talk about it anymore."
And he went away.
Since the goldfinch was in the cage, the golden oranges remained attached to the tree from one year to the next.
One day the Queen said to the King: "Majesty, I would like to keep that goldfinch in my room."
«My daughter, take it as well; but make sure you don't run away. "
The goldfinch in the Reginotta's room no longer sang.
"Goldfinch, why don't you sing anymore?"
"I have my master crying."
"And why are you crying?"
"Because he doesn't have what he wants."
"What would you like?"
«He would like the Reginotta. He says: "I have worked a lot, and my efforts are scattered in the wind". "
"Who is your master?" The lout? "
"The lout, Reginotta, is more King than Her Majesty."
“If that were true, I'd marry him. Go tell him, and come back immediately. "
"Do you swear it?"
"I swear."
And he opened the cage for him. But the goldfinch did not return.
Once the King asked the Queen: "Or does the goldfinch no longer sing?" I haven't heard it for a long time. "
"Your Majesty, he's a little sick."
And the King left.
Meanwhile, poor Reginotta lived in the embassy: "Traitor goldfinch, you and your master!"
And as the orange season approached, out of fear of her father, her heart became very small. "
Meanwhile, an ambassador of the King of France came and asked her as a wife. The father was extremely pleased with it, and immediately answered yes. But La Reginotta: "Majesty, I don't want to: I want to stay a girl."
That got mad:
"How? Was he saying no, now that he had pledged his word and could no longer withdraw it? "
"Majesty, the wind carries the words."
The King could not hold him back: he shot fire from his eyes. But that, obstinate: «I don't want it! I do not want it! I want to stay a girl. "
The worst was when the King of France sent word that he would arrive in eight days.
How to make up for that stubborn daughter?
Out of indignation, he tied her hands and feet and lowered her into a well: "Say yes, or I'll make you drown!"
And the quiet Reginotta. The King lowered it halfway.
"Say yes, or I'll make you drown!"
And the quiet Reginotta. The King lowered it further down into the water; only her head was left out:
"Say yes, or I'll make you drown!"
And the quiet Reginotta.
"Should he really drown her?"
And pulled it up; but he locked her up in a room, on bread and water. La Reginotta was crying: «Goldfinch traitor, you and your master! To keep my word now I suffer so much trouble! "
The King of France arrived with a large following, and took up residence in the royal palace.
"And the Reginotta?" Don't you want to be seen? "
"Majesty, she is a bit indisposed."
The King did not know what to answer, embarrassed.
"Bring her this gift."
It was a box all of gold and diamonds. But the Reginotta placed it there, without even bothering to open it. And he was crying.
"Traitor goldfinch, you and your master!"
"We are not traitors, neither I nor my master."
Hearing an answer from the box, the Reginotta opened it.
"Ah, my goldfinch! How many tears have I shed. "
«Your fate willed so. Destiny is now done. "
Her Majesty, knowing who that farmer was, gave her the tree that produced the golden oranges as a dowry, and the next day the Queen married the King of France.
And we stay scratching our bellies.

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