The Monaciello
The Monaciello, or ‘‘Little Monk,’’ was a spirit who seems to
have lived exclusively in and around Naples in southern Italy.
Although the precise place is not known, it is supposed to have
been in the remains of abbeys and monasteries. When the
Monaciello appeared to mortals, it was always at the dead of
night, and then only to the most desperate—those who had
done all that mortals could do to prevent or alleviate their distress,
and after all human aid had failed. At such times the
Monk occasionally appeared, mutely beckoned them to follow,
and led them to a secret treasure. He stipulated no conditions
for its expenditure, demanded no promise of repayment, and
exacted no duty or service in return. It is not clear whether it
was actual treasure that he gave, or whether it merely appeared
so to the external senses, to be changed into leaves or stones
when the day and the occasion of its requirement had passed.
In Germany, the wood-spirit ‘‘Rubezahl’’ performed similar
acts of kindness to poor and deserving persons; it is said that
the money he gave always passed for the current coin of the
realm.
In Ireland, the O’Donoghue, who lived beneath the waters
of an inland lake and rode over its surface on a steed white as
the foam of its waves, was said to distribute treasures that
proved genuine to the good but were spurious to the undeserving

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