Pierino and his grandma

Main piece:

“Un giorno Pierino esce con la nonna e Pierino raccoglie una moneta per terra e la nonna gli dice: “Pierino non si raccolgono le cose per terra”. Allora Pierino la rimette dove stava. Ad un certo punto la nonna cade e dice a Pierino: “tirami su” e Pierino dice: “non posso nonna hai detto che non si raccolgono le cose per terra”.

Transliteration and Translation: 
One day Pierino goes out with his grandmother and picks up from the ground a coin, and his grandmother tells him: “Pierino, you must not pick up things from the ground”. Therefore, Pierino puts it back. At a certain point, the grandmother falls and tells to Pierino “lift me up” and Pierino answers:”I can’t grandma, you told me that I must not pick up things from the ground”


L.L.: I used to tell this to my grandmother all the time. At elementary school, everyday a different classmate of mine would come up to the others and tell “guys I absolutely have to tell you this new joke I have learnt, so that we then can tell it to our parents”. Often, these jokes had things like curse words within them…and, I don’t know, it was a form of rebellion, like something a bit transgressive so to obtain a shocked reaction from adults.


My informant told this joke this over a dinner, in which other friends were present, and, after the performance of the piece, they all started to talk about their infants memories related to this kind of humor.


As many other categories, jokes as well are a big part of children’s folklore as they often represent -as my informant highlighted- a tool through which shocking or simply outsmarting parents and adults. Jokes are, indeed, ‘by definition’ a practice commonly used to sign a rite of passage, and, in the case of kids, they were and still are a means to approach adulthood and the liminal ages of growth. This joke, if read or heard by an adult, won’t probably be as funny as a child perceives it, and this is attributable to the fact that what makes it especially hilarious to the youngest is the sense of rebellion, audacity and ‘adulthood’ they gain from it.

Many are the childish jokes which portray this Pierino as main protagonist, and this shows another indicative aspect, which is the one of recognition in a specific figure by multiple members of a peer group. Pierino is, in fact, a nickname for Piero, which is one of the most common Italian names of all, and this makes of him a sort of spokesman for every Italian children going though his age.