Here is an odd tale.... or tail, should I say. It's a tale of a visitor going to Italy and finding out that animals talk, screech, bark and chirp differently there.
On my first day waking up at our agriturismo, I heard a welcoming, country sort of sound. To me, I heard, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!). Obviously a rooster waking with the sunrise. When I mentioned it to the padrone later on, he nodded his head and said, "Si, that was the gallo with his morning 'chicchirichí'"! (kee-kee-ree-keee). "Ok", I nod.
Then he takes me over to his hen house where he produces organic eggs. There are lots of chickens going "cluck, cluck, cluck", or so I thought. He says "I like-a to hear my galline (hens) laying eggs and saying coccodè" ("coke-o-day"). Then I know-a they are-a happy". Ok. Then he shows me their chicks in a sort of incubator setup to keep them warm. Lots of "cheep, cheep, cheeps" going on. He picks up one and cups it in his hand and mimics "Ahh, piccolo pulcino, 'pio, pio, pio'". (pee-o, pee-o, pee-o). Uh huh.
He suddenly spied a hole down near the floor where a tiny mouse got in and is eating some feed. "I hear these leetle thieves all-a the time going, 'Squit, squit, squit' ", he says as he tries to land a shovel on top of the little guy. All I heard was a "squeak, squeak" as the mouse disappears into a crack. "He's-a mangia here every day... piccolo topo demone!"
We walk down toward his field and one of his donkeys is having a little hissy fit... "eee, aww, ee, aww!" He goes right up to him, pats him on the rump and says "i-oo, i-oo (eee-oo, eee-oo), mio asino, calma, calma." I picture Shrek's buddy as I watch him calm the beast down as it starts nibbling on a weed.
He wanted to show me his bee boxes near the pond, and as we get close I hear a "ribbit, ribbet". He notices me looking for the source of the croaking and says, "Ahh le rane... 'cra, cra!' Over near-a the water." I see some crows passing overhead and he looks up to mimic them, saying, "Ahh... Il corvo... 'cra, cra, cra' ". Mmmm.... In Italy I suppose frogs and crows are some sort of cousins--they speak the same language. There are lots of cousins in Italy.
Onward toward the bee boxes, when I hear a wayward sheep say "Baa, Baaaa", Padrone mimics again.... "Hey, get-a back over there, mia pecora.... 'Bee... beee!' " grabs him by his wool and lifts him back over the fence into the field. "Bee?" Does the sheep know we're going to see the bees? Somehow, I don't think so.
We get to the bee boxes and all I hear is "Bzzz... Bzzzzz" while he lets out, "zzzz.... zzzz... zzzz... see the ape? They won't sting. No worry We make-a our own miele here too!" Then the goose on the pond let's out a "Honk, Honk" and he answers back "Qua, Qua, oca!" and throws a crust of bread he had in his pocket to the long necked beauty.
As we wandered back around the main field and on toward the main house, I saw some cows laying down near the fence with a cat playing around their tail. Then he points amused and says "Look-a, the gatto, she plays with-a the mucca... 'miao, miao... MUuuuuuu....' " At last... at least some animals around here talk English!
As I get back to my little stone cottage, one of the many dogs on the farm runs up to me and barks, "bau bau!" Wait a second. I'm actually starting to get the hang of this language! "Here boy", I call... "venire qui, cane... bau, bau!" I give him a piece of sausage from my pocket. (Where'd that come from?)
(Gotta remember to buy some of that miele before I leave).
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