Date Palm Chart

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“Dattero mio dorato”

Fig: Dates

“Dattero mio dorato” ‘My golden date.’_ If you plant a date, and the fruit is given the attention it needs, the date grows into a palm. In his La Gatta Cenerentola, Neapolitan writer Giambattista Basile introduced his Zezolla (Cinderella) to the date, and the palm that grew from it helped the girl to flourish. Basile had many fruits and trees to choose from. The author grew up in an area with date palms, a plant that was brought to Italy from the Arabian world; perfect for his Baroque Cinderella fairytale of 1636, written in his Pentamerone.

In this Baroque story, the father of our protagonist Zezolla leaves to travel to Sardinia and asks all his children what they want him to bring back for them. Zezolla asks him to visit the dove of the fairies, and have the dove ask the fairies to pick a gift for her . (“nient’altro se non che mi raccomandi alla colomba delle fate, che mi mandi qualcosa”.)Giambattista Basile, Il pentamerone, ossia La fiaba delle fiabe translation in Italian by Benedetto Croce. (Bari: Laterza, 1925); test curated by Edoardo Mori. Bolzano, 2017.

One of the fairies gave her father a hoe, a silken towel, a golden bucket, and a date. He then passed on the instructions from the fairy: Zezolla should plant the date and use the other objects to help the fruit grow into a palm. (“il dattero da esser piantato, e le altre cose per coltivarlo e curarlo”). Giambattista Basile, Il pentamerone, ossia La fiaba delle fiabe translation in Italian by Benedetto Croce. (Bari: Laterza, 1925); test curated by Edoardo Mori. Bolzano, 2017. Zezolla did as she was told...