A Holiday Tale for Naughty Children: A Hog-Manay Tradition

What a delight, at holiday time, to discover others who are just as cynical about the whole affair as you are. It’s positively uplifting. I thought, this year, that I’d have to root all alone for The Grinch, as I usually do, but instead I was most pleased to come across this holiday yarn by the endlessly funny and wonderfully sardonic writer and translator, Giuseppe Iacobaci. The original, “Fiaba natalizia per bimbi cattivi,” appears on his blogsite, LiberIdea–The Blog that Boasts of Numerous Imitations (Generally Better Than the Original). With his kind permission, I offer this (liberal) translation, dedicated to all who look up in wonder at the sparkling lights of a Christmas tree and say to themselves, “What a freakin’ waste of money.”

———————

A Holiday Tale for Naughty Children
by Giuseppe Iacobaci
English translation by ProvenWrite

Once upon a time there was a pig, a big, fat, stinky hog named Castonzio. The foul-smelling porker lived on a squalid and dilapidated farm in Kansas, the McKenna Farm, and he reeked of eau de sewer—which is exactly what you’d expect of someone who spends his days wallowing in muck and his own excrement.

Every year at New Year’s, the McKenna family prepared a succulent feast in strict observance of the best Italian holiday traditions: French-fried veal, potatoes-au-tuna, trotter (a lovely big pig’s leg all stuffed with mincemeat and spices), lentil quiche, and a nice twice-boiled cake.

Castonzio the Pig was fed up to here with all this holiday business and with everyone’s having to be at his absolute best: to tell the truth, he’d have much preferred it if he had tasted absolutely dreadful, indigestible even. Indeed, he had already decided he would stop by Old Man Jones’ emporium to pick up some turpentine which he would then inject under his skin on New Year’s Eve, poisoning the lot of them: the two older McKennas and those little bastards, Zeb and Bratt, their children.

Ever since the two of them were little, Zeb and Bratt had had themselves a grand old time pulling Castonzio around by the tail or using him for target practice—pelting him with potatoes and flower bulbs and splitting their sides with laughter as the poor, chubby, smelly, terrorized piglet ran from one end of the sty to the other, trying to get away.

Or else maybe he would reverse the current on the saw they used each year for pig-limb removal and electrocute them all.

Every holiday season, Castonzio the Pig had the same baleful thoughts, but with that wheelchair contraption he was in—nothing more than a fruit crate with some second-hand wheels stuck on—there was little he could do. The whole world was marked “not handicapped accessible,” starting with the pigpen that had kept him confined for as long as he could remember.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but he just wasn’t crazy about the holidays.

So it happened that on a night full of silent stars as tiny as the heads of pins, the scrofulous and fetid pig never noticed as a light slowly began to take solid shape nor even when that light transformed itself suddenly into a figure of distinctly porcine features.

“Wake up,” the resplendent, hoggish apparition said to him.

It was The Great Porker, the guardian witch of pigs everywhere. Legend had it that she appeared only once a year during the holidays to grant the wishes of the pig who had been the unluckiest SOB in the whole wide world.

“Wake up,” she said again. “I’ve come to grant your every wish.”

Still not believing what was happening, and certain he must be asleep, the noisome swine rubbed his eyes.

“Can you hurry it up?” the witch remonstrated. “I’ve got my broom double-parked.”

The Great Porker was constantly pissed off about something. Her position as Granter of Wishes, even though it kept her busy only one day a year, was a job that she nonetheless found significantly constricting. In the first place, she didn’t feel she was cut out to be a fairy, and then there was the matter of her title, on account of which she was often asked to perform services that fell quite outside the requirements of her contract and which she, of course, categorically refused to provide. She was furious that a female pig should be called a “sow,” a name that made everyone think immediately of “slut,” or that “Great Porker” conveyed unduly prurient connotations, and she spent her three hundred and sixty-four days off each year gathering signatures on a petition to delete such terms from the dictionary.

The malodorous hog couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Listen, kiddo,” said The Great Porker irritably. “According to my contract, I’m required to wait up to five minutes and thirty seconds to hear your wishes, at which point I’m authorized to leave. Let’s get this over with, shall we? Tell me what you want.”

“I want a Red Bull,” said the big, fat, stupid piggy, who spent much too much time watching MTV.

And so it was that the McKenna family, once again that year, enjoyed a splendid supper of trotter for their holiday table.

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Posted on 25 December 2012, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order), Translation ... sometimes it is a beautiful thing...., Write ... che ti passa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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