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

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Greedy Daughter, The (La Figlia Ghiotta)


THERE was a mother who had a daughter so greedy that she did not know what to do with her. Everything in the house she would eat up. When the poor mother came home from work there was nothing left.

               But the girl had a godfather-wolf. [2] The wolf had a frying-pan, and the girl's mother was too poor to possess such an article; whenever she wanted to fry anything she sent her daughter to the wolf to borrow his frying-pan, and he always sent a nice omelette in it by way of not sending it empty. But the girl was so greedy and so selfish that she not only always ate the omelette by the way, but when she took the frying-pan back she filled it with all manner of nasty things.

               At last the wolf got hurt at this way of going on, and he came to the house to inquire into the matter.

               Godfather-wolf met the mother on the step of the door, returning from work.

               'How do you like my omelettes?' asked the wolf.

               'I am sure they would be good if made by our godfather-wolf,' replied the poor woman; 'but I never had the honour of tasting them.'

               'Never tasted them! Why, how many times have you sent to borrow my frying-pan?'

               'I am ashamed to say how many times; a great many, certainly.'

               'And every time I sent you an omelette in it.'

               'Never one reached me.'

               'Then that hussey of a girl must have eaten them by the way.'

               The poor mother, anxious to screen her daughter, burst into all manner of excuses, but the wolf now saw how it all was. To make sure, however, he added: 'The omelettes would have been better had the frying-pan not always been full of such nasty things. I did my best always to clean it, but it was not easy.'

               'Oh, godfather-wolf, you are joking! I always cleaned it, inside and out, as bright as silver, every time before I sent it back!'

               The wolf now knew all, and he said no more to the mother; but the next day, when she was out, he came back.

               When the girl saw him coming she was so frightened and self-convicted that she ran under the bed to hide herself.

               But to the wolf it was as easy to go under a bed as anywhere else; so under he went, and he dragged her out and devoured her. And that was the end of the Greedy Daughter.


In the Italian-Tirolese tales is one very similar to this, called 'Catarinetta.'

               After the faults of the young, the sins of the old have their share of mocking. In the 'Russian Folk Tales,' pp. 46-50, is a miser story, but, for a wonder, not the least trace of similarity.

               In Scheible's 'Schaltjahr,' vol. i. pp. 169-71, is a very quaint miser story, bringing in also an instance of wolf-transformation, which is said to have happened 'in Italy,' to a certain Herr v. Schotenberg, on August 14, 1798. He had seized a poor peasant's only cow for a debt, and when, in punishment, all his own cows were struck dead, he accused the peasant's wife of bewitching them, and threatened to have her burnt. The peasant's wife answered that it was the judgment of God, not hers; and upon that he turned to the crucifix in the farmyard, saying: 'Oh, you did it, did you? then you may go and eat the carrion you have made, with the dogs.' Then he took out his pistol, shot an arm off the crucifix, and flung it on to the heap of dead cows, saying, 'Now one piece of carrion lies with the rest!' 'Albeit it was only a wooden image,' says the account, 'yet it was of God in Heaven that he spoke, who punished him on the spot by turning him into a dog.' The portrait which accompanies the story is quaint, too, having a human face, with wolfish, erect ears, and the rest of the body like a dog. He wore at the time a fur cloak, of pale yellow with black spots, and that is how the dog's fur appeared; and he had to eat carrion all his life, and follow his good wife about, wherever she went.


[1] 'La Figlia Ghiotta.' 'Ghiotta' and 'golosa' have much the same meaning.

[2] 'Compare-lupo' (lit. had a wolf for godfather); 'compare' for 'compadre,' godfather, gossip. Lycanthropy had an important place in the mediæval as in the earlier mythologies; witches were often accused of turning people into wolves by the use of their ointments. Our 'Little Red Riding Hood' is connected with it, and several in the German and Tirolese Stories, but it is too wide a subject to enter upon here.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Greedy Daughter, The (La Figlia Ghiotta)
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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