--:--
← Play story audio ↑
--:--
Switch: OffSwitch: On
Hide illustrations? (Save paper/ink when printing)
Switch: OffSwitch: On
Show all translations?

C’era una volta un giovane di nome Jack. Viveva con la  sua mamma in una piccola fattoria ai piedi delle Montagne Nebbiose. Jack e la madre erano molto poveri. I pochi soldi che avevano li facevano vendendo il latte della loro mucca, Bess.

Translate?

Once there was a young man named Jack. He lived with his mother on a small farm at the feet of the Foggy Mountains. Jack and his mother were very poor. The little money they had came from selling the milk of their cow, Bess.

Una mattina la mamma di Jack lo svegliò presto. Fuori era ancora buio. Lei piangeva.
“Sveglia, Jack! Oggi vai al mercato e vendi la nostra mucca, Bess.”
“Ma perché?” chiese Jack, sbadigliando.

Translate?

One morning, Jack's mother woke him early. Outside it was still dark. She was crying.
"Wake up, Jack! Go to the market today and sell our cow, Bess!"
"But why?" asked Jack, yawning.

Jack yawning

“Ci servono i soldi per riparare la casa. Nel tetto ci sono dei buchi. Le finestre sono rotte. Per l’amor del cielo, non abbiamo nemmeno la porta. Presto arriverà l’inverno. Se non ripariamo la casa moriremo di freddo.”

Translate?

"We need money to fix our house. There are holes in the roof. The windows are broken. For heaven's sake (literally: for the love of heaven), we don't even have a door. Winter comes soon. If we don't fix the house, we will freeze to death (literally: die of cold)."

Jack fece la borsa e andò nella stalla a prendere Bess. Mentre usciva dal cancello, sentì la madre gridare:
“Vale almeno cinque monete d’oro! Non la vendere per meno di quello!”

Translate?

Jack packed (made) his bag and went to the stable to get Bess. As he went out the gate, he heard his mother shout:
"She is worth at least five gold coins! Don’t sell her for less than that!"

Quando Jack era a metà strada per il mercato, incontrò un vecchio.
“Buongiorno, ragazzo!” disse il vecchio. “Dove vai di bello oggi?”
“Buongiorno signore,” rispose Jack. “Vado al mercato a vendere la mia mucca. Si chiama Bess.”

Translate?

When Jack was half way to the market, he met an old man.
"Good day, boy!" said the old man. "Where are you off to today?"*
"Good day, mister," replied Jack. "I go to the market to sell my cow. Her name is Bess."

* Dove vai di bello = Very common Italian expression. A lighthearted way to ask where someone is going.

“È proprio una bella mucca,” disse il signore. “Quanto costa?”
“Non prendo meno di cinque monete d’oro!” disse Jack.

Translate?

"She is really a beautiful cow," said the man. "How much (does it) cost?"
“I won’t take less than five gold coins!” said Jack.

“Io non ho cinque monete d’oro, ma ho questi cinque fagioli neri,” sussurrò il vecchio. “Questi fagioli sono magici! Valgono più dell’oro! Se prendi questi fagioli, diventerai più ricco dell’uomo più ricco del mondo.”

Translate?

“I don't have five gold coins," whispered the old man*, "but I have these five black beans. These beans are magical! They are worth more than gold! If you take these beans, you will be richer than the richest man in the world.”

* Literally: "Whispers the old" — But you don't need the word "man" because the gender of the elderly person is built into il vecchio. (An old woman would be la vecchia.)

Jack and the old man

Jack pensò alla madre. Pensò a quanto sarebbe stata contenta di diventare ricca. Avrebbero potuto sistemare il tetto, le finestre e la porta d’ingresso. Forse anche comprare una mucca nuova!
“Va bene,” disse Jack. “Affare fatto. Prendo i fagioli.”

Translate?

Jack thought of his mother. He thought about how happy she would be to become rich. They could fix the roof, the windows, and the front door. Maybe even buy a new cow!
“Okay," said Jack. "It's a deal (literally: deal done). I'll take the beans."

Jack era emozionatissimo. Corse a casa e fece vedere i fagioli alla madre. Ma invece di essere felice, lei si arrabbiò molto.

Translate?

Jack was very excited. He ran home and showed (made to see) his mother the beans. But instead of being happy, she was furious (literally: she angered herself a lot).

“Che sciocco sei! Hai barattato l’unica mucca che avevamo con una manciata di fagioli!”
Afferrò i fagioli e li buttò dalla finestra. Poi si sedette accanto al fuoco e pianse.

Translate?

“How silly you are! You traded the only cow we had for a handful of beans!”
She grabbed the beans and threw them out the window. Then she sat down beside the fire and cried.

Jack era desolato. Si chiuse in camera sua. Si sentiva così stupido. La mucca non ce l’avevano più e adesso erano ancora più poveri di prima. Che disastro! Ed era tutta colpa sua!

Translate?

Jack was devastated. He locked himself in his room. He felt so stupid. They didn't have have a cow anymore, and now they even more poor than before. What a disaster! And it was all his fault!

Translate?
Translate?
Translate?
Translate?
Next chapter

Download this audio

More Italian stories