– THE DAYS OF THE BLACKBIRD-
(I GIORNI DELLA MERLA)
There are a few Italian legends that say the last three days of January (29, 30, 31) are the coldest days of winter, thanks to the actions of a female bird.
A long time ago in Milan there was a very hard winter and snow covered the whole city. Under the eaves of a building there was the nest of a family of blackbirds , whose feathers, at that time, were as white as snow. In that nest there were the two parents and some baby birds. The little family suffered from the cold and from anger: it was so difficult to find something to eat! Even the few crumbs they found were immediately covered with snow.
After a time, the father decided they should move the nest closer to a chimney, so he could fly and look for food farther away from the nest, in places where there was no snow.
The mother and the little birds remained in the nest all day to stay warm, but soon were covered with the smoke from the chimney.
After three days, the father returned and was almost unable to recognize his family, as the black smoke from the chimney had changed all their feathers from white to black!
Fortunately, from that day on, the winter became less rigid and the blackbirds were able to find enough food to get to the spring.
From that day, however, all blackbirds are born with black feathers and the last three days of January are known as the three days of the blackbird.