The Feathered Ogre

Italo Calvino


This story is an italian folktale. In a world where every short story is deep and hard to understand, this story is really straightforward.


A king gets sick and his doctors tell him the only way he will survive is if he gets a feather from the dreaded Ogre. The Ogre is this monster who eats every human he sees. The king asks one of his servants to go. On the way to the Ogreís cave, the servant stops and talks to 4 people:

Innkeeper: The guy who runs the ferry. He wants the servant to bring him a feather too. He also wants the servant to ask the ogre where his daughter is because she dissapeared

Ferryman: He wants a feather too because they bring luck. He also wants the servant to ask the Ogre why heís still working on the ferry, and why he has been stuck there for years.

2 Noblemen: They wants a feather too, and want the servant to ask the Ogre why their fountain which used to spew gold and silver does not anymore.

Friars: They want the servant to ask the Ogre why they have been fighting in the monastery for the last 10 years. the friars then give him directions to the cave.

The servant goes to the cave when the Ogre is not in, and sees his wife a beautiful girl. He tells her he needs feathers and explain the 5 stories. When the ogre came back the servant hid under the bed. when the Ogre went to bed his wife pulled out the feathers. when he woke up after she plucked them, she passed it off like she was dreaming. Each dream she had was one of the stories the servant had. So the Ogre answered why each story was like that.

Friars: the devil snuck into their monastery and stirred things up. to get rid of him they must do good deeds.

Noblemen: They have to dig at the mouth of the fountain and kill the snake thatís plugging the hole.

Ferryman: He has to charter a ferry across the river and get out before his passengers leaving the passenger stranded.

Innkeeper: His daughter is the woman in the cave married to the Ogre...obviously.

The next day, the servant left with the feathers, the girl and the answers. He told the friars about the devil, so they did good deeds and the devil left. He told the nobleman the answer, and they killed the snake. He showed the innkeeper his daughter. The innkeeper wanted his daughter to marry the servant. But the servant first gave the king his feather and asked permission. King said yes.

The Ogre went looking for his wife, got on the ferry, and the ferryman did what he was told to do, stranding the Ogre on the ferry forever.