Posts Tagged ‘pietro barbino’

Father Pietro

In Fiction on November 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

tuscan villa

Father Pietro

“I mean to make you my husband, Pietro.”

Pietro leaned forward, certain he’d misheard over the clatter of horse hooves and carriage wheels. Ippolita smiled wickedly.

“My family has always punished you for what you are,” she said, smoothing her skirts. Her hands lingered between her legs as she met Pietro’s gaze. “But if you do me this… kindness… I promise I shall remember you.”

Ippolita sat with her legs delicately crossed—a tiny thing, so light that the slightest jostling of the carriage bounced her on her velvet cushion. She was as dangerous as she was beautiful, but Pietro was only a fool by profession, and he wasn’t so easily played.

“Why can’t you do this thing yourself?”

“Kill my own father?” Ippolita shrugged. “I could. I wouldn’t shrink from such a thing, but it would seriously complicate my inheritance.” Read the rest of this entry »


Man and Beast

In Fiction on September 23, 2013 at 11:59 pm


Man and Beast

Pietro knelt in the half-light, clutching the rosary to his chest, mumbling his prayers. Faith was the only balm for a soul as ragged and ruined as his. He had been six years at the monastery, and still the wounds had not healed.

“How did you find me?” he asked at last. The girl swept into the room and sat on the edge of his cot.

“How many dwarves do you imagine there are in Florence?” She laughed. “When I couldn’t find you in any of the whorehouses or alehouses, I started searching the churches.”

Pietro sighed. He had finally begun to feel better. He’d finally begun to pass the nights without dreaming of Giovanni’s mangled smile—without waking to find his chamber echoing with his own mad laughter. He turned. Read the rest of this entry »

The Root

In Fiction on April 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

victorian bedroom pietro barbino

The Root

“Come, Pietro,” Cosimo said. “I have fodder for your jests.”

Pietro cast aside his wineskin and eyed his master with as much contempt as he thought wise.

“Oh, don’t pout, Pietro,” Cosimo said softly. “It was all in fun. Isn’t that what I pay you for?”

“You humiliated me.”

“Are you to tell me that’s the first time a woman has laughed at your deformity? Seen that stub between your stunted legs?”

“Lady Eleanora didn’t laugh,” Pietro replied meekly. Cosimo bristled his black mustache.

“No, quite right,” he said. “But as it turned out she wasn’t very particular, was she? Read the rest of this entry »

A Curious Woman

In Fiction on March 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

test roll #3

A Curious Woman

Pietro Barbino shuffled quietly into the Duke’s great room and, finding it empty, smiled and turned to leave.

“Stay, Pietro,” a voice said, and a slender figure appeared in the doorway at the end of the room. It was the duchess, in a crimson silk gown that brushed the tops of her bare feet and clung tightly to her Read the rest of this entry »

Original Sin

In Fiction on November 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Original Sin

Pietro Barbino stumbled through the forest, chased by visions, his head swimming from wine. It had been years since he’d last seen Giovanni – in the flesh – but the boy followed him everywhere now.

“Please,” Pietro cried to the misty trees, “leave me in peace!”

Still, Giovanni staggered doggedly behind.

The boy never spoke and his face never changed – it was bruised and unblinking, the tongue swollen, thrust between chipped teeth and bloodstained lips – but his judgment was clear enough, and Pietro wept to look upon him. Read the rest of this entry »

The Black Fool

In Fiction on October 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Stańczyk during a Ball at the Court of Queen B...

The Black Fool

“I’m the Black Fool now.”

Pietro Barbino was drunk again, and making japes at his master – but this time his master had nothing to say.

“Black Fool, for I’ve stained my motley garb… with this…”

He stared in wonder as he took his hands away. The blood, clotting, pulled into long, sticky tendrils. It seemed black in the half-light. Pietro leaned closer.

“I can’t hear you, Cosimo,” he growled. “Your mouth is open, but I can’t tell: are you laughing? Are you pleased with your fool?” Read the rest of this entry »

Pietro Barbino

In Writing on September 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

In the spirit of writing more, this week I’ve decided to tackle another writing challenge, specifically the Trifecta Writing Challenge, where we’re given a one-word prompt on which to base a 33 to 333 word story. This week the word is ample.

Now, in the Boboli Gardens in Florence there is a statue of a fat dwarf sitting naked astride a giant turtle, and for some reason this was the very first thing I thought of when I read the prompt (but let’s not read too much into that, ok?). The statue is of Pietro Barbino, court jester to Cosimo I de’Medici, a Tuscan Duke of the 16th century.

But I won’t bore you with Wikipedia research. Let’s just get to his story, shall we?

Pietro Barbino, Cosimo I's dwarf jester

I took this picture of Mr. Barbino myself. You should be thankful it’s a little blurry.

Pietro Barbino

Pietro Barbino was short of stature, ample of bosom, and drunk of wine.  He tottered to the fountain and sat with a groan.

Read the rest of this entry »