Summary of “Matteo Falcone” Merimee

In three hours’ walk to the north-west of the port city of Corsica, Porto-Vecchio, there are extensive thickets of poppies – the habitat of shepherds and robbers. Formed by seven to eight foot thickets of trees that survived the burning out of the forest, they are impassable not only for humans, but also for mouflons – wild rams, differing from domestic ones with larger size and coarse wool. If there are good weapons, ammunition and a hooded cape in Porto-Vecchio poppies, even a killer, which local shepherds will supply with milk, cheese and chestnuts, can safely exist.

At 18., when visiting the author of Corsica, Matteo Falcone’s house was half a mile from poppies. The protagonist of the novel was a man of wealth and honesty. He owned numerous herds, followed by specially hired shepherds. The narrator met Matteo Falcone two years after the incident. At that time, the hero was more than fifty, but he looked very young: his hair was black and unusually accurately

shot the gun not only during the day, but at night. In Corsica he was considered a good friend and a dangerous enemy. Matteo Folconet lived with everyone in the world, but according to rumors, in Corte, where he took his wife, the hero shot a rifle with his rifle. The unattractive story was hushed up, the happy lover married Giuseppe, who gave birth to him three daughters (married at the time of the story) and one son – Fortunato.

One morning, Matteo and his wife went to poppies to visit their herds in the early autumn morning. Ten-year-old Fortunato asked for his parents, but it was far away, and he was left to look after the house. A few hours after the parents left, shots rang out from the plain. After a short time before the boy appeared a ragged stranger, wounded in the thigh. He was a bandit who made a night out into the city and was ambushed by Corsican voltigers.

Giannetto Sanpiero asked Fortunato to hide him from the “yellow collar”. The boy, fearing his father’s disapproval, refused to do so. The bandit threatened him with death, but that did not frighten the child.

Only the mention that he is not the son of Matteo Folcone, acted on Fortunato, but not much, since he agreed to help the wounded only after he gave him a silver five-franc coin.

The boy hid the bandit in a haystack, placing a cat with kittens next to him (for disguise). Traces of blood on the path he buried in the ground. Appearing in front of the house six arrows led by a distant relative Falcone – sergeant Teodoro Gamba Fortunato spoke his teeth, explaining that he saw no one except the priest that he slept when the shots were heard. On the threat from his uncle, he reacted with a mockery, saying that no one would touch him, since he is the son of Matteo Folcone. The soldiers who searched the house were about to leave when the sergeant decided to try the last resort – bribery. He offered Fortunato a silver watch. The boy hesitated for a while, but the mention that his uncle’s son, younger than he, already wears a similar clock, seduced him: he succumbed to the temptation and gave out a bandit.

Giannetto expressed his contempt for Fortunato, doubting that he was the son of Matteo Folcone. The boy returned the silver coin to which the bandit had paid no attention. While the soldiers were doing stretchers to carry the wounded man, Matteo Falconet and his wife appeared from the poppies. Deciding that the “yellow collar” came to arrest him, the man took them in sight and slowly began to approach the house. Teodoro Gamba went to meet him, fearing that Matteo might turn out to be a friend or relative of Giannetto. Learning about the capture of the bandit, Giuseppe was delighted, as the latter stole from them for that week a dairy goat. Matteo, on the contrary, sympathized with Giannetto, realizing that he was hungry. Teodoro Gamba responded about the bandit as a worthy opponent, defending himself as a lion and killing one of his shooters. When the sergeant mentioned that,

Seeing the folks approaching him and Gambu, lying on a stretcher, Giannetto spat on the threshold and called the structure behind him “the house of a traitor.” Fortunato brought out a bowl of milk for a wounded bandit, but the latter rudely drove him away, after which he turned to one of the soldiers, called him a companion and asked for a drink. At the request of Giannetto voltigeurs did not twist his hands behind his back, but tied them with a cross on his chest. Before leaving, the sergeant said goodbye to Matteo, but received no reply.

Ten minutes the father of the family spent thoughtful. On his face was reflected a state of restrained anger. He calmly told his son the phrase “you start well.” When Giuseppa saw the child’s watch and tried to find out where they came from, Matteo snatched them from Fortunato and smashed them, hurling them at the stone. He asked his wife if he was his son and said that he was the first of their kind to become a traitor. Fortunato burst into tears. Matteo ordered him to go with him to the poppies. Giuseppa tried to appeal to the parents’ feelings for her husband, but he asked to leave him, saying that he was the father of the boy. Giuseppe kissed her son and rushed into the house, where she began to pray before the icon of the Mother of God.

Matteo took his son to a ravine with loose earth and ordered him to stand near a large stone. Fortunato did as his father had ordered. He fell to his knees. Matteo ordered him to pray. The boy began to ask not to kill him. Father again ordered him to pray. Fortunato read “Our Father”. “I believe”. “Theotokos” and the litany, which his aunt taught him. Before his death, he once again asked his father for mercy, promising to improve and intercede for Jannetto before his uncle-corporal. Matteo threw up his gun and said: “May God forgive you!”. Giuseppa came running to the sound of the shot. Matteo told his wife that he had done justice. He explained that their son had died as a Christian, and he would order a funeral service for him.

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Summary of “Matteo Falcone” Merimee