Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane
Peter and His Sisters
ST. PETER had two sisters-one large,
the other small. The little one entered a convent and became a nun. St.
Peter was delighted at this and tried to persuade his big sister to become
a nun also. She would not listen to him, however, and said: "I would
rather marry." After St. Peter had suffered martyrdom, he became,
as is well known, Porter of Heaven. One day the Lord said to him: "Peter,
open the gate of heaven to-day as wide as you can, and get out all the
heavenly ornaments and decorations, for to-day a very deserving soul is
going to arrive here." St. Peter did as he was told with great joy,
and thought:" Certainly my little sister is dead, and is coming to
heaven to-day." When everything was ready, there came the soul of-his
big sister, who had died and left many children, who bitterly lamented
her loss. The Lord gave her an exalted place in heaven, much to the astonishment
of St. Peter, who thought: "I never should have imagined this; what
shall I have to do when the soul of my little sister comes?"
Not long after, the Lord said to him: "Peter, open the gate of heaven to-day a little way, but a very little,-do you hear?" St. Peter did so and wondered: "Who is coming to-day?" Then came the soul of his little sister, and had so much trouble to squeeze through the gate that she hurt herself; and she received a much lower place in heaven than the big sister. At first St. Peter was amazed; afterwards he said: "It has happened differently from what I imagined; but I see now that every profession has its merits, and every one, if he only wishes, can enter heaven."
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THE CYCLE of stories referring to our Lord would not be complete without legends of Pilate, Judas, and the Wandering Jew. A powerful story is told of the first in Pitrè, No. 119 which is as follows: