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6.10 In which an Onion has layers!

The wealthy city of Certaldo was a beacon for beggars and charlatans, even better for beggar charlatans. One such, a friar named Cipolla, ( Italian for onion)came begging, accompanied by his servant, Guccio Porco. (Guccio the Pig, which gives you an idea of his looks.)

Cipolla sets up in front of the local cathedral and announces that the good citizens of Certaldo should come back tomorrow when he will show them an actual feather from the wings of Gabriel himself. It just happened to fall to earth into Cipolla’s hands- He picked it up himself in the room where Gabriel came to tell Mary she would be the mother of God. That donations will be accepted goes without saying.

Giovanni and Biagio, two less than gullible citizens of Certaldo, know for a fact that this can not be so!! They high tail it over to the rooms where Cipolla is lodging. Guccio is supposed to be guarding the relic, but despite his ugly mug, he has found himself a serving maid with whom to disport. While Guccio occupies himself, Giovanni and Biagio swap out the feather with three lumps of coal.

The next day, they head to the cathedral to enjoy the fun.

Cipolla makes the big lead up to the reveal, and opens the case, only to find the three lumps of coal, instead of the expected feather.

But here’s the thing. You can’t con a con. Cipolla, doesn’t miss a beat- “I have so many relics, all in identical boxes, and my idiot servant brought me the wrong one. But this is better… the feast of the martyr St. Lawrence comes soon, and what I have here are three lumps of coal, each one of them taken from the fire that burnt St. Lawrence to death. For a small pittance, come forth and touch these holy coals, so that you may be touched by the fire, but not burnt.”

Much to Giovanni and Biagio’s chagrin, the crowds swell forth to be amongst the blessed, happily forking over a small fortune to Cipolla!



The Decameron, as imagined by denizens of the Pamelapolis

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Dealing with reality on an as needed basis. Celebrating serendipity and seeking equilibrium. On a treasure hunt.