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For the purposes of the new edition, every poem has been assigned a unique short title. The original short titles, taken eclectically from a number of sources, are retained as alternative short titles.
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CSM Number : 335
Short name: The Charitable Heathen
Incipit: Com’ en si naturalmente/ a Virgen á piadade
Refrain: Com’ en si naturalmente/ a Virgen á piadade/ assi naturalment’ ama/ os en que á caridade.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Sicily Protagonist(s): a charitable heathen

In the time of the heathens, there was a charitable man in the land of Sicily. He was wealthy, but he gave all he had to the poor, which pleased Christ and the Virgin, who put him to a test.rnDuring a year of austerity, the man gave away all he had. But the Virgin, in the guise of a woman holding her son, appeared at his house. She begged him to give her some meal so that she could make some porridge for the child.

The man, who had exhausted his stores in the famine, went to look in the bin for some meal. He found some and ordered the servants to boil water. He made the porridge himself. He went out to offer the porridge to the woman, but could not find her.

He ordered his servants to search for her and they set out at once. The servants searched diligently, but she could not be found. They decided that it would be foolish to continue and they returned to their master.

They assured him that they had searched every street, path, and road in the city.rnWhen they had said this, the man returned to his house and found it full to bursting with wheat, barley and meal. There was enough for everyone in the city.

He contemplated this miracle for some time and then summoned some heathens to explain the matter to him and tell him whether they knew of such a goddess holding a child in her arms. They told him to seek the goddess elsewhere.

He put the same questions to the Christians and asked whether they had a statue depicting such a woman. They readily concurred, took him to the church, and showed him the statue of the Virgin, holding her Child in her arms.rnThey told him about the Trinity and the heathen begged to be baptised. He was baptised at once and all praised the Virgin.

Metrical data
Stanza: 15' 15' 15' 15' Refrain: 15' 15'
No. of Stanzas: 21
Rhyme scheme: AA | bbba Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
F103, E335
Poncelet reference
alms, apparition, baptism, beggars, conversion, famine, goddess, heathen, idol, image (of Virgin Mary), impersonation, meal, pagan, porridge, poverty, servant
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Textos de literatura portuguesa. I: Afonso X, o Sábio
Rodrigues Lapa, Manuel