A Conversation for Pilgrims' Inn

The Pilgrims' Inn, Chapter 27: Abandon all hope, Signor Dante

Post 1

paulh, hiding under my bed

"Jack, come here and see the sort of place we have found ourselves in today," Ozymandius said to his butler as he stood in the doorway of the Inn.

"Now, that's what I call a forest," Jack exclaimed. "Quite a unique forest at that. Panthers, she-wolves, crooked paths that wander all over the place."

"Exactly," Ozymandius agreed. "Probably not populated by very many potential guests."

"Except maybe ghosts in togas," Jack said, pointing to a distinguished-looking elderly man who was transparent.

"I expect that he's going to be speaking Latin," Ozymandius guessed.

"Wait, there's someone else with him," Jack added. "Someone living, though not especially happy about it, judging by the expression on his face."

Ozymandius squinted. "Oh, I know who that is. I saw a statue of him when I was in Florence. His name is Dante." The man had a beaked nose, a pointed chin, and arched eyebrows. "His works were so influential that the modern Italian language is based on them."

The man stopped twenty feet from Ozyandius and said, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate"

"Abandon hope, all ye who enter in," came the voice of the oracle from inside the Inn. The oracle spoke some Italian, and Dante came inside to converse with him.

"Please don't tell me we'll all be going into Hell this morning," pleaded Mrs. Sprat. "I've been a good girl. I don't deserve it."

"If we did go there, we'd also continue into Purgatory and Heaven," Ozymandius said. "I guess the guy in the toga is Virgil."

The conversation between Dante and Oracle went on for quite some time. Occasionally Ozymandius and the Sprats could catch words like "Cerberus" and "Diavolo."

Finally, Dante left the oracle and sat down at the dining table. "Mrs. Sprat, go to the dumbwaiter and bring Mr. Dante Alighieri some food," the oracle said. "He has an eventful day ahead of him, and will need some sustenance beforehand."

"Hardboiled eggs?" Mrs. Sprat exclaimed when she opened the dumbwaiter. When Dante saw the eggs, he said "Con il sale," and began laughing. He looked at the rest of the food and named it in Italian: "Insalata, bistecca, formaggio e pane..."

"That's pizza!" Mrs. Sprat exclaimed regarding the last item mentioned.

Dante looked puzzled. "Formaggio e pane!" he repeated.

"Pizza has always been the Italian word for pie," the oracle said solemnly. "To Dante, our version of pizza would just look like bread with melted cheese on top. Tomatoes wouldn't have been discovered yet. He's not going to get anything to eat in Hell. If he's lucky, he won't be the main course himself. In the Hall of Gluttons, it is the gluttons who would be eaten. In various other circles of Hell, the food would be deliberately disgusting. And in the seventh circle, people who commit suicide become trees and have their leaves eaten by harpies."

"I'm losing my appetite," Mrs. Sprat grumbled.

Dante, meanwhile, was enjoying his feast. "Pane degli angeli" he exclaimed with a smile on his face.

"The bread of the angels," the oracle translated. "That's high praise."

"God's pizza," Mrs. Sprat said, laughing. Dante looked expectant.

"Now he expects you to bring him some pie," the oracle said.

"I believe we still have sme apple pie in the kitchen," Mrs. Sprat said, running downstairs to fetch it.

When Dante and his spirit guide left, they seemed resolute about meeting the hideous three-headed dog (Cerberus) and the gallery of tortured souls in the Inferno, but also the somewhat happier populace of Paradiso, where they would end up.

"Dante will never go back to Florence, as he was an exile," the oracle said as Ozymandius watched Dante and Virgil pass through the gates of Hell.

"Better him than us," Ozymandius said, summing up the general opinion in the Inn.


The Pilgrims' Inn, Chapter 27: Abandon all hope, Signor Dante

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad

smiley - biggrin

I read part of The Aeneid at school, and enjoyed the section where the travellers “ate their tables” and invented a sort of pizza! smiley - laughsmiley - ok

The Pilgrims' Inn, Chapter 27: Abandon all hope, Signor Dante

Post 3

paulh, hiding under my bed

Dante was lucky. he didn't have to *stay* in Hell.

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