Firrazzanu's Wife and the Queen

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    Firrazzanu was the valet of a prince in Palermo, on whom he also played his tricks; but as Firrazzanu was known and everybody was amused by him, the prince overlooked them.

    The queen was once in Palermo, and wished to know Firrazzanu. He went to see her, and amused her somewhat. The queen said: “Are you married, or single?” “Married, your Majesty.” “I wish to make your wife’s acquaintance.” “How can that be, your Majesty, for my wife is deaf?” (Firrazzanu made this up out of his own head, for it was not true.) “No matter; when I speak with her I will scream. Go, have your wife come here.”

    Firrazzanu went home. “Fanny, the queen wants to know you; but you must remember that she is a little hard of hearing, and if you wish to speak to her, you must raise your voice.”

    “Very well,” said his wife, “let us go.” When they arrived at the palace she said to the queen, in a loud voice: “At your Majesty’s feet!” The queen said to herself: “You see, because she is deaf, she screams as if everybody else were deaf!” Then she said to her, loudly: “Good day, my friend; how do you do?” “Very well, your Majesty!” answered Firrazzanu’s wife, still louder. The queen, to make herself heard, raised her voice and screamed, also, and Fanny, for her part, cried out louder and louder, so that it seemed as if they were quarrelling. Firrazzanu could contain himself no longer, and began to laugh, so that the queen perceived the joke; and if Firrazzanu had not run away, perhaps she would have had him arrested, and who knows how the matter had ended?

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