THE BEGGAR AND THE CHICK-PEA. 
THERE was once a poor man who went about from door to door begging his bread. He came to the cottage of a poor peasant and said: 'Give me something, for the love of God.'
The peasant's wife said, 'Good man, go away; I have nothing.'
But the poor man said, 'Leave me out something against I come again.'
The peasant's wife answered, 'The most I can give you is a single chick-pea.' 
'Very well; that will do,' replied the poor man; 'only mind the hen doesn't eat it.'
The peasant's wife was as good as her word, and put out a chick-pea on the dresser against the beggar came by next time. While her back was turned, however, the hen came in and gobbled it up. Presently after the beggar came by.
'Where's the chick-pea you promised me?' he asked.
'Ah! I put it out for you, but the hen gobbled it up!'
At this he assumed an air of terrible authority, and said: 'Did I not tell you to beware lest the hen should eat it? Now, you must give me either the pea or the hen!'
As it was impossible for the peasant's wife now to give him the pea, she was obliged to give him the hen.
The beggar, therefore, took the hen, and went to another cottage.
'Good woman,' he said to the peasant's wife; 'can you be so good as to take care of this hen for me?'
'Willingly enough!' said the peasant's wife.
'Here it is then,' said the beggar; 'but mind the pig doesn't get it.'
'Never fear!' said the peasant's wife; and the poor man went his way.
Next day the beggar came back and claimed his hen.
'Oh, dear me!' said the peasant's wife, 'while my back was turned, the pig gobbled it up!'
Assuming an air of terrible authority, the man said: 'Didn't I warn you to beware lest the pig gobbled it up? Now, you must give me either the hen or the pig.'
As the peasant's wife couldn't give him the hen, she was obliged to give him the pig. So the poor man took the pig and went his way.
He came now to another cottage, and said to the peasant's wife: 'Good woman, can you take care of this pig a little space for me?'
'Willingly!' said the peasant's wife; 'put him in the yard.'
'Mind the calf doesn't get at him,' said the man.
'Never fear,' said the peasant's wife, and the beggar went his way.
The next day he came back and claimed his pig.
'Oh, dear!' answered the peasant's wife; 'while I wasn't looking, the calf got at the pig, and seized it by the throat, and killed it, and trampled it all to pieces.'
Assuming an air of terrible authority, the beggar said: 'Did I not warn you to beware lest the calf got at it? Now you must give me the pig or the calf.'
As the poor woman could not give him the pig, she was forced to give him the calf. The beggar took the calf and went away.
He went on to another cottage, and said to the peasant's wife: 'Good woman, can you take care of this calf for me?'
'Willingly!' said the peasant's wife; 'put it in the yard.'
The poor man put the calf in the yard; but he said: 'I see you have a sick daughter there in bed; mind she doesn't desire the calf.'
'Never fear!' said the peasant's wife; and the man went his way.
He was no sooner gone, however, than the sick daughter arose, and saying, 'Little heart! little heart!  I must have you,' she went down into the yard and killed the calf, and took out its heart and ate it.
The next day the beggar man came back and claimed the calf.
'Oh, dear!' said the peasant's wife, 'while I wasn't looking, my sick daughter got up and killed the calf, and ate its heart.'
Assuming an air of terrible authority, the beggar said: 'Did not I warn you not to let the sick daughter get at the calf? Now, either calf or maiden I must have; make haste with your choice; calf or maiden, one or the other!' 
But the poor woman could not get back the calf, seeing it was dead, and she was resolved not to give up her daughter. So she said: 'I can't give you the calf, because it is dead. So I must give you my daughter, only if I went to take her now while she's awake, she would make such a fuss you would never get her along; so leave me your sack, that while she's asleep I may put her in it, and then when you come back you can have her.'
So the beggar left his sack and went away. As soon as he was gone the peasant's wife took the sack and put some stones at the bottom, to make it heavy, and thrust in a ferocious mad dog; then having made fast the mouth of the sack, she stood it up against the wall.
Next day the beggar came back and asked for his sack.
'There it is against the wall,' said the peasant's wife.
So the beggar put it on his shoulder and went away.
As soon as he got home, he opened the sack to take out the maiden; but the ferocious mad dog rushed out upon him and killed him.
 'Il Poverello del Cece.' The termination of the word 'Poverello' is one of those which determine the sentiment of the speaker in a way it is impossible to put into English. We use 'poor' (e.g. joined to the name of a deceased friend) to express sympathy and endearment; if we put 'poor' in this sense before the expression 'povero,' 'a poor man,' 'poverello,' 'a poor poor man,' we have the nearest rendering. Dante calls St. Francis, apostle of voluntary poverty, 'Quel poverel' di Dio.' It is the common expression in Rome for a beggar. The 'Poverello' in this story, however, was not one that merited much compassion.
 'Cece,' vetch, produces a very large pea in the south of Europe, and provides a staple article of food much liked among the lower orders. In Italy it is mostly eaten plain boiled, often cold, or else in soup and stews. All day long men go about the streets in Rome selling them (plain boiled) in wooden pails. Boys buy a handful as they would cherries, and eat them as they go along. In Spain, where it bears the name of 'garbanzo,' the favourite mode of cooking it is stewed in oil, with a large quantity of red pepper.
 'Coratella,' nice little heart.
 'O la vitella,
O la zitella.'
'Vitella,' a calf; 'zitella,' an unmarried person.
Beggar and the Chick-Pea, The (Il Poverello Del Cece)
Busk, Rachel Harriette
Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome
Busk, Rachel Harriette
Estes and Lauriat
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