Aunt Filippa removed the plate from my head and put it, along with the small cup, on the near table. She then asked me to lift my T‐shirt and bare my belly. Finally, she made certain arcane signs on my stomach and at the same time said a special secret prayer in a low voice, which she repeated three times. Since I was a curious boy by nature, with very fine hearing and an excellent memory, I heard and imprinted in my mind the secret prayer to cut roundworms, which I now disclose both in the original Sicilian and in English:


Tagliu li virmi ne stu curpu

Tagliu uttu e tagliu novi.

Tagliu li virmi ne stu cori.

Luni santu, Marti santu, Mircuri santu,

Iuvi santu, Venniri santu, Sabbatu santu,

A duminica di Pasqua.

Mori lu vermi e ‘n terra cadi.


Cut the roundworms in this body

I cut eight and I cut nine.

I cut the roundworms in this heart.

Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday

Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday,

Easter Sunday.

The roundworm dies and falls onto the floor.

When her prayer was over, she recommended I drink a small glass of olive oil with squeezed lemon and raw mashed garlic the following day in the early morning. I followed her instructions, and I have to say that I actually excreted a lot of roundworms. Some of them were dead and some looked dazed.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

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