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Literature / Pintosmalto

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Making a man from scratch is one way to get him.

Pintosmalto is an Italian Fairy Tale written by Giambattista Basile in Il Pentamerone. Although it is a literary fairy tale, folk variants are found in many Mediterranean countries.

A merchant wants his daughter, Betta, to marry. She tells him from bring her half a hundredweight of Palermo sugar, and as much again of sweet almonds, with four to six bottles of scented water, and a little musk and amber, also forty pearls, two sapphires, a few garnets and rubies, with some gold thread, and above all a trough and a little silver trowel. When he did so, she used them to mold the statue of a man. Then she prayed to the goddess of Love until the statue came to life. She and he, whom she named Pintosmalto, went to marry at once.

A queen who came to attend abducted him. Betta set out to follow. She happened on an old woman who took pity on her and taught her three sayings that would help her. She went on and found the land, and when she saw Pintosmalto, she tried the first, and a little golden coach that went by itself appeared. With it, she bribed the queen to let her sleep the night at the door of Pintosmalto's room. The queen agreed but drugged Pintosmalto, so that Betta could not speak to him. She tried again, with the next saying, and a gold bird that sang like a nightingale. It was as before, but the next day, a cobbler told Pintosmalto of all the weeping he had heard, and the next night, when Betta bribed her way in with scarfs, he was awake. They instantly fled, taking what she had used to bribe the way, and more treasure beside, leaving the queen enraged.


Full text here. It is an unusual example of Aarne-Thompson type 425, the search for the lost husband, a type of which there are many variants. Compare "The Feather of Finist the Falcon" and "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", and for the Gender Flip "Soria Moria Castle" and "The Blue Mountains" not to mention Weird Science.

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