a folktale from Italy of Aarne-Thompson type 333A
about a careless girl who is eaten up by a witch
translated and edited by
D. L. Ashliman
Once upon a time there was a mother who had a little daughter named Cattarinetta. One day she wanted to bake a cake and so she sent the girl to borrow a pan from her aunt, who was a wicked witch. The aunt gave the pan to the girl, saying, "Don't forget to bring me a piece of cake."
The cake was baked, and as soon as it was done the mother cut off a piece and put it in the pan, which the girl was to take back to the aunt. The delicious piece of cake tempted the girl, and as she walked along she pinched off one bite after the other and ate it, until finally there was nothing left in the pan. She was terrified, but she thought of a trick that would help her. She picked up a cow pie from the path and laid it in the pan so that it looked like a piece of cake with brown crust.
"Did you bring me the pan and a piece of cake?" asked the aunt as Cattarinetta arrived.
"Yes," said the girl, then set the pan down and ran away hurriedly.
Cattarinetta arrived back home, and when night fell she went to bed. Then suddenly she heard her aunt's voice calling, "Cattarinetta, I am coming. I am already at your front door!"
The girl slid further down into her bed, but the voice called out in short intervals again and again:
"Cattarinetta, I am coming. I am already on the stairway!"
"Cattarinetta, I am coming. I am already just outside your door!"
"Cattarinetta, I am coming. I am already beside your bed!"
And slurp! She swallowed up the girl.
Revised November 26, 1999.