Days of the Blackbird

by Tomie dePaola

Once there was a Italian duke and his daughter Gemma who especially enjoyed the evening... read more

Once there was a Italian duke and his daughter Gemma who especially enjoyed the evening bird songs, especially the song of a white bird they named La Colomba. One year the duke became seriously ill. To keep him contented, Gemma continued to feed the birds that might otherwise migrate. La Colomba stayed with them throughout Christmas, Epifania, and icy January. To keep warm the little white songbird nestled into the chimney and as a result she turned into a blackbird. According to dePaola's note, legend holds that in late January the days in northern Italy are Aso cold that the white doves hide in the chimney tops to stay warm. And when they come out, they are black from the soot." January 29, 30 and 31 are typically the coldest days of the year in the Piedmont area of Italy where they=re called Le Gironate della Merla . After dePaola heard this from an Italian now living in the USA, he began imagining a tale that might correspond to the name of these days. (Ages 8-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

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