The Owl and the Devil

So after my father come home from Conegliano, from the market, and he started feeling ill. Call the doctor. Pneumonia. We didn’t have the vaccine back then, capisci. So. Go get the ice, go put the ice on him, and he’d See.

There, over there’s the lord, you see him Lina*?” he’d call out for nonna.* “There, he’s tellin me he’s not here to get me yet. Tomorrow he’ll be coming to get me.”

And the next day they came to get him, eh, he really foretold it all. Really if you hear what, what nonna* said, she’d say “he savariava, he delirava, but in his delirium he raved… true things.”

So. Friday he went to the market and the Friday after he was dead. And then there was the owl at my fathers’ window, whilst he was dying, which my mother* always made me… with that owl, with that owl that was there – she pointed at our windowsill – cor meo! cor meo!It made that noise, no, and my mother* says that owls bring disgrazia, that they bring on death. She drilled it into me so well that when we came here and there were owls…  I, and I could always hear these owls sing – cor meo! – and I’d even wake up from it…

La Nonna* was superstitious. The first time she said to you and your… that your nonno heard la nonna* tell you “if you don’t be brava the devil will take you away”… mamma mia…. your nonno – she laughed – “The devil does not exist. I don’t want you to inculcate my daughters with this cretinous nonsense.”’

She laughed again. ‘The way he went about saying it. Il Diavolo! – she boomed her voice out, chest puffed out – Il Diavolo! No-one mentioned the devil in nonno’s house ever again.’

Names and family roles are pretty interchangeable for my nonna. All people marked with an asterix- Lina, my mother, la nonna –  are my great-grandmother Lina.

The last paragraph should read:

Your great-grandmother was superstitious. The first time that your grandfather heard your great-grandmother tell your mother “if you don’t be good the devil will take you away”.. mamma mia…. your grandfather – she laughed – “The devil does not exist. I don’t want you to inculcate my daughters with this cretinous nonsense.”

She laughed again. ‘The way he went about saying it. The Devil! No-one mentioned the devil in grandfather’s house ever again.

Next post: You have to understand, I’m old now.

(Relevant) previous post: The Priests’ Law

Night by Sergey Demushkin from the Noun Project

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