Cicerello: A Fairy Tale for Fearless Boys and Girlsby Elisabeth Glas
By Elisabeth Glas
To my parents,
and the values they taught me.
Copyright © 2017 by Elisabeth Glas
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. Information can be obtained through elisabethglas.com.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
ISBN: 978-0-9965648-5-4 (ebook)
Table of Contents
About the author
Everyone was staring at the red bird on the table. It was dead.
“You sold me a sick bird,” the grandmother yelled at the merchant, “shame on you!” The little girl whom she was holding by her hand was sobbing, hiding anxiously behind her.
The merchant’s face was as red as the dead bird: “With all due respect, Signora, you are lying. When you bought the bird yesterday, it was as fit as a fiddle. You must have fed it with something bad.”
“How dare you,” replied the grandmother, “I want a new bird now!” and she pointed with her finger to the cage with the red birds.
At that moment, a young handsome man stepped out from the crowd that had gathered around the table: “Signora, may I ask you a question?”
The grandmother turned around surprised and asked, “What do you want, young man?”
“I would like to help,” the young man replied.
“With what?” the merchant interrupted.
“I’d like to help end your fight,” the young man said turning back to the grandmother, “Signora, what would be worse: to have a yellow bird, or to have no bird at all?”
The grandmother looked at him startled and said, “Why are you talking about a yellow bird? Can’t you see this bird is red?”
Everyone around the table was nodding in agreement.
But the young man ignored the crowd and continued, “And for you, Signore, what would be worse: to give up a yellow bird, or to give up your good reputation?”
For a moment there was dead silence.
The young man used this silence to explain his thinking: “If I’m not wrong, Signore, the yellow bird costs 1 silver coin, and the red bird costs 10 silver coins?”
“That’s right,” the merchant responded, “the red bird is a very special bird.”
“Then would you be willing, Signore, to end this fight by giving the girl a yellow bird for free?” the young man asked.
Before the merchant could answer, the grandmother interrupted, “But my granddaughter does not want a yellow bird, young man!” She pulled the girl from behind her back and made her face the young man.
The young man knelt down towards the girl and said, “Now let me ask you a question, pretty Signorina.” The girl blushed. “What is your favorite color?”
Quick as a shot the girl said, “Red.”
The young man smiled and said, “That’s what I thought.” He paused, then moved closer to the girl’s ear and whispered, “I know a trick that can turn a yellow bird into a red bird. Would you like to know how to do it?”
The girl nodded curiously.
The young man continued, “Every morning before you go to school, you have to mix a pinch of paprika into the bird’s breakfast.” (1)
“Really?” wondered the girl, “That works?”
“Trust me,” the young man replied.
The girl thought about it for a moment, then turned to her grandmother: “Nonna, I want a yellow bird. Please.”
The grandmother looked at the merchant and smiled, and everyone around the table smiled too.
The merchant went to the cage with the yellow birds and gently took out a bird. While walking back to the table, he suddenly stopped midway and returned to the cage. Everyone around the table held their breath. Had the merchant changed his mind? No, instead, he took out a second bird. When he got back to the table, he gave one bird to the girl and one bird to the young man: “Please accept this as a small token of my appreciation for ending this fight.”
Immediately, the grandmother reached into her basket filled with fresh peaches and picked out the six sweetest: “Here, for you, young man. You deserve it.”
Everyone around the table applauded spontaneously.
The story of the handsome young man who ended a fight about a dead bird without raising his voice or using threats spread through the town like a wildfire. “Did he really only ask questions?” people wondered. “He must have had a knife hidden somewhere in his coat,” other people insisted. However, aside from all the rumors and gossiping on the streets, from that day on, every time a fight broke out, people would soon be calling for the young man to come and help. And the more fights he helped to settle, the fonder people grew of him. Soon they started calling him Cicerello – referring to Cicero, one of the greatest orators of their history. (2)