Published in


8.6: In which there is more than one kind of swine

Calandrino, the painter, and well known noodlehead, had a small pig farm located not far from the city of Florence. Every year around Christmas, he would take a trip there to choose a pig to slaughter and preserve in salts. His wife generally went with him, only during the year in question, she was ill and stayed home.

Buffalmacco and Bruno, two buddies of Calandrino, see an opportunity for fun and profit. They head to the home of a priest of their acquaintance, conveniently near to Calandrino’s swinery.

They show up shortly after Calandrino has slaughtered the pig. They praise him and urge him to sell it straightaway, so the three of them can party on the money.

Tell your wife it was stolen!

Calandrino is thick as paint but even he knows that his wife won’t believe it and there will be domestic hell to pay. So he refuses.

Buffalmacco and Bruno are not deterred. With the help of the priest, they get Calandrino blind drunk and steal the pig while he’s blacked out, and hide it at the priest’s house.

Calandrino is puzzled, and gets no help from Buffalmacco and Bruno who insist that they know Calandrino sold his own pig for the money and is going to lie to his wife about it.

Calandrino, poor dear, insists this is not the case.

Very well then, says Buffalmacco and Bruno, we’ll put it to the test.

They call all the village together, and explain that Calandrino’s pig is stolen. Will all the good people submit to a ‘lie detector’ test, which consists of eating crystallized ginger? Whoever can’t swallow it, will be outed as the thief.

The villagers, well acquainted with Calandrino’s gullibility, all agree. One by one each swallows the ginger without trouble

You see, says Buffalmacco and Bruno, no one is the thief. Now you must take the test.

Calandrino does, not realized that they have given him an incredibly bitter concoction that looks exactly like what the others have swallowed, but is emphatically inedible. Calandrino coughs and coughs and spits it out numerous times, much to everyone’s amusement but his.

Buffalmacco and Bruno threaten to tell Calandrino’s wife of his deception, unless he gives them two capons to insure their silence. Buffalmacco and Bruno end up with a salted pig and two plump chickens. Calandrio, with no explanation in sight, has to go home to one wife who will be most displeased.

With friends like these…



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


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