Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome | Annotated Tale

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Padre Vincenzo (Three Tales)



THERE was Padre Vincenzo too, who wasn't much less than Good Philip himself. He was a miracle of obedience. One day when he was ill the Father-General sent him a codfish. Padre Vincenzo sent back word to thank him, but said he couldn't eat it. 'Nonsense!' answered the Father-General, who thought he spoke out of regard to his love of abstinence. 'Nonsense! tell him he is to eat it all.' The message was given to Padre Vincenzo, who was really too ill to eat anything; but in his simplicity thinking he ought to obey, he ate the whole fish, head, tail, bones, and all.

               By-and-by the Father-General came to see him. He seemed almost at the last gasp, suffocated by the effort he had made, and his throat all lacerated with swallowing the fish-bones. The Father-General praised the simplicity of his obedience, but told the brother who took the message that he ought to have explained it better.

               But Padre Vincenzo did not lose anything by his obedience, for that same evening he was cured of his illness altogether, and was quite well again.


PADRE Vincenzo worked so many miracles that all Rome was talking about him, and the Father-General thought he would get vain, so he told him not to work any more miracles. Padre Vincenzo therefore worked no more miracles; but one day as he was walking along the street, he passed under a high scaffolding of a house that was being built. Just as he came by, a labourer missed his footing and fell over from the top. 'Padre Vincenzo, save me!' cried the man, for everybody knew Padre Vincenzo, and he had just seen him turn into the street. 'Stop there!' said Padre Vincenzo; 'I mustn't save you, as the Padre-Generale says I'm not to work miracles; but wait there, and I'll go and ask if I may.' Then he left him suspended in the air while he ran breathless to ask permission of the Father-General to work the miracle of saving him.


ONE morning Padre Vincenzo had to pass through the Rotonda [1] on business of his community. A temptation of the throat [2] took him as he saw a pair of fine plump pigeons such as you, perhaps, cannot see anywhere out of the Rotonda hanging up for sale. Padre Vincenzo bought the pigeons, and took them home secretly under his cloak. In his cell he plucked the pigeons, and cooked them over a little fire. The unwonted smell of roast pigeon soon perfumed the corridor, and two or three brothers, having peeped through the keyhole and seen what was going on in Padre Vincenzo's cell, ran off to say to the Father-General,

               'What do you think Padre Vincenzo, whom we all reckon such a saint, is doing now! He is cooking pigeons privately in his cell.'

               'It's a calumny! I can't believe it of him,' answered the Father-General indignantly.

               The spying brothers bid him come and see.

               'I am certain if I do, it will be to cover you with confusion in some way or other for telling tales!' replied the Father-General as he went with them.

               As they passed along the corridor there was the smell of roast pigeon most undeniably; but when the Father-General opened the cell door what did they see?

               Padre Vincenzo was on his knees, praying for forgiveness in a tone of earnest contrition; round his throat were tied the two pigeons, burning hot, as he had taken them from the fire. A spirit of compunction had seized him as he was about to accomplish the unmortified act of eating in his cell in contravention of his rule, and he had adopted this penance for yielding in intention to the temptation.



[1] 'Rotonda,' the vulgar name of the Pantheon, gives its appellation to the market which is held in the 'Salita de' Cresconzi' and other adjoining streets.

[2] 'Gola,' the throat; used for 'gluttony.'

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Padre Vincenzo (Three Tales)
Tale Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Book Title: Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome
Book Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Publisher: Estes and Lauriat
Publication City: Boston
Year of Publication: 1877
Country of Origin: Italy
Classification: unclassified

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