Truce of the Wolf and Other Tales of Old Italy is a collection of seven medieval Italian stories retold for children by Mary Gould Davis. They include a legend about Saint Francis of Assisi and a story from the Decameron. Illustrated by Jay Van Everen, it was first published in 1931 and was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1932.
The first "Truce" is retold from the "Fioretti" (def. little flowers, i.e. chapters, from the "Actus") of St. Francis of Assisi and is the story of a village ravaged by a wolf which enlists the saint who brokers a truce between the village and the wolf pretty much as the title suggests. There is another wolf story (a folktale), three tales adapted from Leland's "Legends of Florence", and "Calandrino and the Pig" from Bocaccio's Decameron (my least favorite). And then there's my pick "The Tale of Nanni", the story of a very wise donkey. While I would have enjoyed this as a child, I think this is another of the early Newberys/Honors that would probably not be published today. How many adults today have read any of the Decameron (14th c), yet this 1931 book introduces it to children?
A review from GoodReads
The copy of the book I borrowed had no jacket or cover image at all, and this is the only picture I was able to find online, so there we have it. The title story is The Truce of the Wolf, but the picture we see is of Nanna the donkey eating clover, from an entirely different story. Ah, well.
The seven short stories in this book were taken either from well-known Italian sources or were told directly to the author. However, they're not especially exciting or exceptional anyway- even the ones with an element of the supernatural aren't developed enough for my tastes. I've read a lot of fairy tales in my time and none of these will be memorable for me when competing with, say, talking cheeses or fortune-seeking brothers or murderous fiancés. I'm not sure what about it so enchanted the committee.
- A review by Melanie at Old & New Berries
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