From the region of Castagniccia: The Legend of Porcafonu

Once upon a time in Castagniccia there was a pig named Porcafonu, because he knew how to speak. He was as handsome as .. a pig, and very intelligent !
He was a pig by his mother, and boar by his father.
One fine day in December, and very weary of seeing his brothers dying in atrocious suffering by the peasant’s blade (who were completely insensitive to the cries of their agony), he decided to hold a council, and gathered all the ‘porcs maestri’ from the neighbouring countryside.
Even their cousins the boars had been invited to this historical gathering.

“God, up there in the sky ignores our suffering and does not see the frenetic desire of these men who slay us even on Christmas day, when the infant Jesus is born ! They turn us into ‘figatelli, coppa and lonzu’. So I am going to find him and tell him about our complaints – in order to do so, I will allow myself to be killed”.
An old boar demanded the honour to die for this noble cause, and volunteered instead. An unanimous growl rose from the assembly, moved by so much abnegation. He left from around Valle d’Alesani, where the hunters from the canton were waiting for him. At the first shot he fell down … his soul left his body and rose slowly towards the sky.
He knocked at the door of Paradise, and St Peter came and opened and brought him before St Martin, but not in front of God himself – he refused categorically to speak, showing himself particularly insolent: “I said I wished to speak to God and nobody else”.

The effect of such an attitude made St Martin very angry indeed. He cancelled his death, and sent him back to earth.
Before being chased away, the old boar shouted “U liamu un’hè un santu, fa miraculi pur tantu !” (manure is not saintly, it works miracles all the same).
Once back on earth, he relates his story to a stupefied assembly – stupefied by the swiftness of his mission.
Porcafonu, the intelligent pig grunted several times; they needed to act fast, as the end of the year festivities were approaching.

This Christmas morning, St Peter panic stricken was running around in every direction. Thousands of pig souls, with Porcafonu leading them, were leaving their droppings in front of the door of Paradise, and a foul smell made the air quite unbreathable. Very soon, St Martin appeared red with anger: “What do you want, bunch of pigs ?!”, he shouted. “We want to be received by God, and not a second hand – if not, we will continue to spread our manure in front of your door !”. St Martin, came to the conclusion that one could not negotiate with Corsicans.

At the end of the third day, the Devil entered the danse and made fun of Paradise being in such a hell of a mess.
At the end of the fifth day, the Corsican peasants down on earth seeing their pigs on a hunger strike, supported this pig manifestation, never seen before – to such an extent that God came to hear about the riot, and it was St Antoine who announced the news – God went to receive the rioters.
Now, in order to avoid any confusion, a delegation led by Porcafonu and formed by one pig per village, presented their grievances. The pigs wished to be respected as such, they wanted to die with dignity and without suffering.
God promised that their wishes would be granted. He appointed St Anthony who became ‘San Antone di u porcu’, as protector of the pig population.
He also claimed, that every hundred years for the St Jean festivities, a pig chosen by Porcafonu would be in charge of making a man happy and rich.
The representatives were all happy with these mesures. They left, and an odour of wild maquis filled Paradise once again.

The following year, with the Christmas festivities approaching, the killing of pigs started again – Porcafonu, up above in the sky watched the butchering.
It was going to be difficult to find an elected representative in the middle of all of this ‘lascia core’. But, what was San Antone di u porcu doing ?
After having watched the villages and the men for a long period of time, he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a little man who was neither killing nor eating the pigs. ‘He will be the chosen one’ he declared.
One evening, when the little old man was sitting by fireside and was not grilling any ‘figatellu’, he heard a sort of grunt. He got up and opened the door. In front of him stood the pig who was speaking: “I am Porcafornu, the God of pigs, and I have decided to make you a rich man because you do not eat pork”.
The little old man almost fainted, then he pulled himself together – why refuse to believe in miracles ?.

“I don’t eat pork because I am a Jew !”.
Porcafornu continued, irritated: “at the hamlet of Bonicardo, near the ‘funtana di moru’, there is a treasure that the Moors buried after a dreadful battle. You will find this treasure and you will become very rich”.
The little old man refused. He did not want to become rich, and arouse greed from his neighbours – he had enough problems as it was.
Porcafornu had to become angry; he insisted so much that the good man decided to accept, but only on one condition – that his wealth be accompanied by happiness, which had been missing up to now.
The pig accepted. He made his last recommendations and disappeared from the face of the earth for a century.
The old man found the treasure and became very rich and married ‘una paisana’, who gave him seven children. He spent the rest of his life doing good around him, and every year he bought pigs that were not killed, replying with a smile to those who were intrigued: “the pigs brought me happiness, and I want them to die naturally”.

When death came to bring him away at the ripe old age of 98, the grunts resonated all over the countryside, like a last farewell.



Ghjacumu Bonicardo
Contes et légendes de Corse Corsica Mea
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