The procession of the dead

She got up before sunset to go down to kitchen and prepare the dough for the bread that she would then bring to the baker. (Exactly, once many people couldn’t afford an oven and thus they made the dough at home and then brought it to the local baker “forner” to bake it.)

She searched for a firestone, but just couldn’t find it, when she saw a strange light falling through the closed shutters in the kitchen. (Who could this be so early in the morning?)

The procession of the dead

The housewife was curious, opened the shutters and saw a strange procession in the street: Dozens of men and women with sunken faces, walked silently, with their hands stretched up to the sky. The fingers were spread and a strange light was emitting from their fingertips.

It was the dead! In the night of the 1st November, the dead could freely walk through the streets. The housewife just didn’t think about it or was naive and asked the last defunct, holding her lamp in his face, if he could light it for her.

The dead man did as he was asked, but when the woman had a better look at the lamp she saw that the arm of the defunct had stayed attached to it. She finally realized that this had been the yearly procession of the dead!

She took the dough, brought it to the baker and then went to the priest for an advice: „You shouldn’t have done this! The procession of the defunct may not be disturbed. Now you have to wait 12 months to give the arm back to its owner.“ But what should she do with it in the meanwhile? (“Preserve it in semolina!“)

After one year …

When the year had passed the woman did as the priest had told her: She took the arm from the semolina, held a black cat in her lap and sat at the exact same time as the year before at the window waiting for the procession. This time, the light did not emit from the fingertips, but from the palm. Then she spotted the mutilated defunct at the end of the procession.

„Ciapé, paron, el vostro brazo.“ („Here, take your arm, sir.“)

The defunct took the arm without looking at the woman and attached it to his body. “Thank God that you have a cat on your lap, otherwise you would have suffered the same destiny as I.” (She would have died!)

But some years later …

This incident had not been a lesson for the housewife though: A few years later she popped her head out again in the night of the 1st November. This time she asked a dead woman to light her lamp. The woman loathly did as she was asked. A cold breeze streaked the housewife in the same moment and she felt a tickle in her right arm. When she looked down, her arm was missing and she fainted because of the shock.

This time she didn’t go to the priest for help, but to an old witch living close by: „Next year, when the procession passes again, you have to cover your head with a black veil and hold a black cat at her neck in your hand offering the dead woman a plate with fave dei morti*. Also, tell the dead woman the following sentence:

Ciapé, brava parona, par el vostro incomodo. Dolséti fati da mi in cambio del mio brasso!“ (Here, good Lady, for your trouble. I made these sweets myself in exchange for my arm!”)

Fave dei morti Source: Giallozafferano

Now, when the night of the 1st November arrived after 12 long months without her right arm, the woman did exactly what the witch had told her and stopped the dead lady who wore her arm as a trophy attached to her belt. The dead woman didn’t look at her, but at the dark sky, took the “dead beans” and put them in her bag. A cold breeze hit the housewife, the cat escaped into a side street and she felt a tickle. When she looked down she found her arm again attached to her own body.

After this last incident, the housewife stayed in her house every night of the 1st November without popping her curious head out of the window, but the nails of her right arm stayed forever black to remember her of this last encounter with the dead.

*„dead beans“  are a traditional sweets made for the occasion of Allhallows and All Souls‘ Day in Venice.

  •   Beatrice was just wonderful! She made this tour fun for both adults and kids - and we learned so much! Definitely to be recommended!!

    thumb Tonja
    February 19, 2024
  •   Wer in Venedig einen Blick abseits des Tourismus bzw. den großen Plätzen werfen will, denen kann ich die Tour mit Beatrice wirklich ans Herz legen. Gerade vielleicht am Anfang... read more

    thumb Chalin
    February 10, 2024
  •   Wir hatten sehr kurzfristig und spontan eine Tour mit Beatrice buchen können und waren sehr happy über diesen “Glücksgriff”! Sie hat uns wirklich tolle Ecken gezeigt, sehr viel Interessantes erzählt... read more

    thumb Monique
    August 28, 2023
  •   Vielen Dank für den wunderbaren Nachmittag-wunderbare versteckte Ecken in San Marco gesehen und reichlich Tipps für die nächsten Male bekommen wie Museen,Bars usw.

    thumb Jens
    November 8, 2022
  •   We had a total blast at Beatrices tour. She showed us a lot of hidden corners in Venice and we moved off the beaten track. She was super knowledgable, provided... read more

    thumb Tabea
    October 30, 2022
  •   Beatrice hat uns Venedig auf wundervolle Weise ein Stück näher gebracht. Auch mein Sohn war sehr interessiert dabei. Absolut empfehlenswert!!

    thumb Helena
    October 24, 2022
  •   sehr empfehlenswert !!!

    thumb Joachim
    October 24, 2022
  •   Toll!

    thumb Rebecca
    June 13, 2022
  •   Ich kann Beatrice herzlich empfehlen. Sie liebt Venedig, hat viel Wissen darüber und kann es bestens vermitteln, darüber hinaus in Ecken ohne Touristen.

    thumb Ivana
    June 8, 2022
  •   Es war eine sehr schöne Tour und Beatrix konnte wirklich auf jede Frage eine Antwort geben.

    thumb Annette
    May 28, 2022
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