National Geographic : 1954 Apr
550 Kilted Burl Ives, the "Wayfaring Stranger," Takes His Ballads to Ischia In Scotland on a concert tour, the American folk singer tried Highland dress and found it ideal for a man of his girth. Later, still in kilt and sporran, Mr. Ives visited Ischia to collect songs (page 549). Here he sings "The Blue Tail Fly" for co-author Dorothea Jones (right) and other visitors to the island. Listeners were impressed by the basic simi larities between Ives's American and English folk tunes and Murolo's Neapolitan madrigals. Leaving Ischia, we faced the problem of getting our FIAT back to the mainland. The regular passenger ferry carries no cars. This meant we must take a small freighter which also carries passengers on its daily round trip. It also meant leaving at 6:30 a.m. Octopus Sandwich for Breakfast With the car safely lashed on deck, we sailed out of Porto d'Ischia harbor on a bright May morning. The freighter, slower and less luxurious than the trim white passenger craft, charges a lower fare. Its earlier departure is convenient for the many Ischians who com mute to work in Naples. Most of our fellow passengers were roughly dressed. Among them were men who came aboard shouldering casks of wine. Around their waists they wore lengths of rubber tub ing. In Naples they would spend the day peddling wine, using the tubing to transfer it from casks to customers' containers. Sharp garlicky odors soon announced that some of our fellow travelers were eating the snacks they had brought along. From a paper bag one of the rubber-belted men produced a couple of hard-boiled eggs and a remarkable sandwich. It was fried baby octopus between two huge chunks of bread. He opened the sandwich and examined its contents with pleasure. He put it back to gether; we could still see the tiny, curling tentacles. He took a large bite, looked at us, and winked broadly. Neither of us exactly envied this man his octopus sandwich, nor his job selling wine, but we felt that he held at least one advantage. He would be going back to Ischia that eve ning-and we would not.