Folk Traditions: Threshing with Mules

La Pisata cu li Muli – Threshing with Mules


Nowadays there’s mechanized threshing; it is work like any other. But, there is still some threshing using animals, which we explain below:


The hour arrives for anxious and arduous work.

On such days the middle-class person doesn’t sleep, he can’t say why, but he takes heart a bit when the hour comes; fervet opus: it is the hour of tormenting work under the burning rays of the sun when the poor farm worker abundantly pours his sweat as he runs on the threshing floor next to his mules, whipped and urged on, by their owner running persistently and turning the threshing floor mill as they lift the bright iron shoes of their rear feet, which can at times be fatal.

Anxious but happy, the man runs and tires, always whipping his animals.

However, don’t think that this is a quiet scene; the man never stops running and inciting his mules, accompanying their movements and his shouts with the stirring phrases directed to those mules; in such phrases the dominant note is a religious one:

Allegri, muli e cuntenti cacciaturi, chi v’e ddari ‘na beddra nova!

Chi nova e chista ?

Tu va a lu ventu e je a lu riventu, aduratu e ringraziatu lu SS. Sacramentu!

(Hey) Happy people, mules and contented hunters, (are) going to give you happy news!

What news is this?

You who go with the wind and I who go against the wind, ( all people – both good and bad)

Adored and appreciated (is) the Holy Sacrament !


(Translation: Annette Chiappetta Rovello).

[This webpage is excerpted from the book: “The History of Poggioreale, Sicily – From 1640 to 1956.” Originally written in Italian by: Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio in 1956. Adapted and translated by: Dr. Jeremiah P. Spence, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. 5th Edition. International Order of Genealogists Publishing. Ireland. 2019. ISBN: 9781072403371. The book can be purchased online at: ]