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FO, Dario

Mistero Buffo

The Birth of the Jongleur

Kind people, gather round and listen. The jongleur is here! I am the jongleur. I leap and pirouette, and make you laugh. I make fun of those in power, and I show you how puffed up and conceited are the bigshots who go around making wars in which we are the ones who get slaughtered. I reveal them for what they are. I pull out the plug, and ... pssss ... they deflate. Gather round, for now is the time and place that I begin to clown and teach you. I tumble, I sing and I joke! Look how my tongue whirls, almost like a knife. Remember that. But I have not always been ... Well, I would like to tell you how it was that I came to be.

I was not born a jongleur; I didn't suddenly turn up as I am now, with a sudden gust from the skies and, hopla, there I was: 'Good day ... Hello.' No! I am the result of a miracle! A miracle which was carried out on me. Do you believe me? This is how it came about! I was born a peasant.

A peasant? Yes, a real countryman. I was happy, I was sad, I had no land. No! I worked as all of us work in these valleys wherever I could. And one day I came by a mountain, a mountain all of rock. It was nobody's. I found that out. I asked people. 'No! Nobody wants this mountain!'

Well, I went up to its peak and I scratched with my nails and I saw that there was a little bit of earth there, and I saw that there was a little trickle of water coming down. So I began to scratch further. I went down to the river bank, and I wore my fingers to the bone bringing earth up onto this mountain. And my children and my wife were there. My wife is sweet, sweet and fair, with two round breasts, and a gentle way of walking that reminds you of a heifer as she moves. Oh, she is beautiful! I love her, and it gives me such pleasure to speak of her.

Anyway, I carried earth up in my own hands, and the grass grew so fast! Pfff ... ! It grew of its own accord. You've no idea how beautiful it was! It was like gold dust! I would stick in my hoe, and pfff ... a tree sprang forth. That earth was a miracle! A marvel! There were poplars, oaks and other trees everywhere. I sowed them when the moon was right; I knew what had to be done, and there, sweet, fine, handsome crops grew. There was chicory, thistles, beans, turnips, there was everything. For me, for us!

Oh, how happy I was! We used to dance, and then it would rain for days on end, and then the sun would blaze, and I would come, and go, and the moons were always right, and there was never too much wind, or too much mist. It was beautiful, beautiful! It was our land. This set of terraces was really beautiful. Every day I built another one. It was like the tower of Babel, beautiful, with all these terraces. It was paradise, paradise on earth! I swear it. And all the peasants used to pass by, saying:

'That's amazing, look what you've managed to bring forth out of this pile of rocks! How stupid that I never thought of that!' And they were envious. One day the lord of the whole valley passed by. He took a look and said:

'Where did this tower spring up from? Whose is this land?'

'It's mine,' I said. 'I made it myself, with these hands. It was nobody's.'

'Nobody's? That "Nobody's" is a word that doesn't exist. It's mine!'

'No! It's not yours! I've even been to the lawyer, and he told me it was nobody's. I asked the priest, and he said it was nobody's. And I built it up, piece by piece.'

'It's mine, and you have to give it to me.'

'I cannot give it to you, sir. I cannot go and work for others.'

'I'll pay you for it; I'll give you money. Tell me how much you want.'

'No! No, I don't want money, because if you give me money, then I'll not be able to buy other land with the money that you give me, and I'll have to go and work for others again. No, I don't want to. I won't.'


Death and the Fool

[In an inn, a number of layabouts are playing cards with the Fool.

FOOL: The Horse on the Ass, and the Virgin on the Lecher means that I take the lot. Ha, ha! You thought you were going to pluck me like a chicken, didn't you?! So what do you think of that, then? He deals the cards.

FIRST PLAYER: The game's not over yet... Wait a while, before you start to crow.

FOOL: Not at all, I shall sing as I like... and dance. Oh, what lovely cards. Good evening, your majesty, Mr King, would you mind going and taking the crown off that ugly bastard friend of mine?

He slaps a card down on the table.

SECOND PLAYER: Ha, ha! You've come unstuck with your King, because now I cap him with an Emperor!

FOOL: Oh, oh, look what the Emperor has done! Alright, I'll cap you with this. [He turns his back and puts his backside on the table] And then, for good measure, I'll put down this Murderer, who will slaughter your Emperor like a pig.

FIRST PLAYER: And I've got a Captain, to arrest your Murderer...

FOOL: And I shall bring in War, so that your Captain has to go away.

SECOND PLAYER: And I'll lay Famine, Cholera and Pestilence, which will end the War.

FOOL: Well, then you'd better take your umbrella, because I'm going to bring a storm... his storm... Psssss... Rain and flood!

He takes a mouthful from his glass, and sprays it over everyone in sight.

FIRST PLAYER: Oh, Matazone, you wretch, what are yu, crazy?

FOOL: Of course I'm crazy, ha, ha... If matto means crazy, and you call me Matazone, then I must be crazy... And I win the card-game with my Flood, which washes away all pestilences.

LANDLADY: Do you mind stopping all this row, because there's people in the big room next door who're just going to sit down to eat.

FOOL: Who are they?

LANDLADY: I don't know... I've never seen these fellows in my inn before, in Emmaus. They call them the Apostles...

SECOND PLAYER: Ah! Those are the twelve fellows who follow the one from Nazareth.

FOOL: Yes, Jesus. He must be the one in the middle there... Look, what a pleasant fellow! Hello, Jesus of Nazareth... Hello, there. Enjoy your dinner! Did you see that? He winked at me... What a lovely fellow!

THIRD PLAYER: Twelve and one makes thirteen... Oh, thirteen of them sitting down to eat... That's bound to bring bad luck!

FOOL: Well, seeing that they're mad...! Wait a minute, and I shall say a spell to keep away the evil eye. [He sings] Thirteen at table to eat does not bring bad luck; evil eye, stay away, as I touch this bum!

He pinches the LANDLADY's backside.

LANDLADY: Behave yourself, Matazone, because you'll make me spill all this hot water.

FIRST PLAYER: Hot water? What are they going to do with that?

LANDLADY: I think they're going to wash their feet

SECOND PLAYER: Wash their feet before eating? Hey, they really are crazy! Matazone, you should go and join them, because they're the right sort of company for the likes of you.

FOOL: You've said it, you're right. I'll win this game, and with the money that I win off you, I'll go into the big room, and drink it all away with them. And you won't be able to come – you an't join the madmen, because you're all sons of bitches and crooks.