• Member Since 19th Mar, 2024
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Lilyheart


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  • 12 weeks
    An analysis of the Italian Nursery Rhyme from Ch 9

    Excuse me while I nerd out about that Italian nursery rhyme from Chapter Nine.

    Cavallino arri, arrò,
    prendi la biada che ti do,
    prendi i ferri che ti metto
    per andare a San Francesco.
    A San Francesco c’è una via
    che ti porta a casa mia.
    A casa mia c’è un altare
    con tre monache a lavorare,
    una cuce, una taglia,
    una fa cappelli di paglia;
    la più piccola e vecchietta

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    1 comments · 88 views
  • 14 weeks
    Well, this is embarrassing

    EDIT: Ch 8 is published again!

    I temporarily unpublished Chapter eight of A Tail of Two Ponies until I can work out with a mod how stringent a particular rule is, and how to adapt said chapter if I did violate said rule.

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    4 comments · 120 views
  • 14 weeks
    Looking for Editors!

    Any(pony) wants to try their (hoof) at giving the chapters I have published a solid look through for spelling, grammar, style, and plot consistency? Though, I would like to have someone proofread chapters before I publish them, so they can be more polished.

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    0 comments · 77 views
  • 15 weeks
    Thank you

    I have no idea what I'm doing. I have an option to make a blog, so I guess I should use it?

    We have cover art for A Tail of Two Ponies, now, thanks to the wonderful QuixoticPirates, though it wasn't initially intended to be cover art, it's more than satisfactory.

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    0 comments · 87 views
Apr
15th
2024

An analysis of the Italian Nursery Rhyme from Ch 9 · 5:11am April 15th

Excuse me while I nerd out about that Italian nursery rhyme from Chapter Nine.

Cavallino arri, arrò,
prendi la biada che ti do,
prendi i ferri che ti metto
per andare a San Francesco.
A San Francesco c’è una via
che ti porta a casa mia.
A casa mia c’è un altare
con tre monache a lavorare,
una cuce, una taglia,
una fa cappelli di paglia;
la più piccola e vecchietta
Santa Barbara benedetta.

From this website I was given this more literal translation.

Little horse arri, arrò,
take the hey I give you,
take the irons I prepared
to go to San Francesco.
In San Francesco there is a road
that leads you to my place.
In my place there is an altar
with three nuns at work,
one sew, one cuts,
one makes straw hats;
the smallest and oldest
is blessed St Barbara.

There are other versions, but I’ll be focusing just on this one. Based off what I can translate from the wikipedia entry, arrì arrò is supposed to an imitation of the sounds that draft animals make, so it’s a bit like saying ‘neigh, neigh!’ Or maybe 'prrrbrbrb, prrrbrbrbrb!’

Google translate gave me ‘shackles,’ as an alternate translation for the word translated from ‘irons.’ I assume this is reference to some crude form of reins. Since the the poem originates from at least from the mid 1800’s, I assume cruelty isn’t meant to be implied like the modern English words do; but still today metal chains are used to tie up animals, even if usually we now use some sort of fabric leash now. Nevertheless, I switched it out with ‘reins,’ both for clarity and to remove the negative connotation.

San Francisco is most certainly not referring to the city San Francisco, but is rather the Italian form of Saint Francis; most likely referring to St. Francis of Assisi. While it’s impossible to separate fact from fiction, Francis was known as a popular eccentric and diplomat. He reportedly preached sermons to birds and frequently talked to animals, many of whom obeyed him. One notable story is his taming of the Man-eating Wolf of Gubbio. Essentially, the man was like a Catholic version of Fluttershy. Still today, Catholics take their pets to church on St Francis’ feast day to have them blessed.

However, the phrasing of the poem makes it seem it’s referring to a church named after St. Francis (in my version, it’s St. Francis the person). From there is a road that leads to the place of the poem’s narrator. Which leads us to the straw hat making nuns.

Still today (but even more so in the past), monks and nuns who live in cloistered communities have to take breaks from their prayer and mediation to help care of the practical needs of living. Often, this meant some form of livelihood. This is partly why there’s a lot of wines and cheeses rumored to have been invented by priests or nuns; and a lot of them are considered patron saints of beekeepers.

In this case, these nuns apparently make straw hats, either to give to the poor, or to sell to pay for basic needs. I am uncertain as to why the rhyme mentions St. Barbara in particular (A Tuscan version makes no mention of her, and instead references St. Lucy). While Barbara once was an incredibly popular saint among Catholics, known as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, she’s had a bit of a falling out recently, due to the earliest accounts of her being several hundred years after the time she supposedly lived. However, both Lucy and Barbara’s stories share similarities: both were virgins who were murdered for their refusal to marry.

It’s possible the three nuns are in reference to the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that each nun’s task represents how, in most Christian theology, each Person of the trinity normally carries out different tasks or roles in relation to humans. However, nursery rhymes often have anachronistic explanations, perhaps the most notable being Ring A’round the Rosies, which, despite all the claims to it being about the Black Death, has absolutely no evidence to back it up. So, I present the Trinity metaphor only tentatively.

What interests me is who is the narrator of the rhyme; a very fitting answer came to me only after chapter nine was already published. The relevant lines are ‘that leads you to my place. / In my place there is an altar.’ We must assume that the place the narrator lives is either a church or a convent, due to the presence of both an altar and nuns. This could mean the narrator is simply another nun, but the phrasing makes that weird. (why are they sitting around rhyming while the other three nuns are workin' weary?) Additionally, it could be Jesus, due to the Catholic’s strong belief in His true presence in the Eucharist.

But there’s a third option which is a little more haunting, and I think more likely: the narrator is dead. Since the time of the Roman Empire, some Christians worshipped together in catacomes. This meant being surrounded by the bones of family and friends. In some cases, it meant with the body of someone who had recently died, who was known to the worshippers; who, during the worst times to be a Christian, might have been executed or murdered. In a way, this could be seen as the origins of veneration of saints.

Early Christians vigorously believed in the resurrection of the body, not just the soul living on in paradise. So, those who worshipped in the catacombs believed that when in worshipping God, they were present with the dead as well. Being with the not yet resurrected bones only served to strengthen this bond. Which is why they began venerating relics, and praying to saints. This tradition carries on to this day, and while many might be unaware, most Catholic altars have a relic of a saint contained within them… probably a chip of bone or something equivalent.

All of that to say, the only other person who lives in a church… is someone who is dead.

Report Lilyheart · 88 views · Story: A Tail of Two Ponies · #analysis
Comments ( 1 )

Dang it! I forgot to include a link to the tune of the rhyme. I had to refer back to this constantly while making my own translation.

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