Long ago, there was a mother who loved her only son deeply. She was a pious woman and her son imitated most of her good deeds, which were many. Her son was good at heart, but young. The woman knew that he still had much to learn before he could fully adopt saintly ways.
God decided to test this young son’s piety and love for his mother. He sent a beautiful woman to capture the young man’s eager heart. The beautiful woman urged the son to keep their meetings a secret from his mother, and though it pained the boy to do so, for he never kept secrets from his mother, he obeyed. But the real challenge had not yet been failed.
The beautiful woman beguiled the boy so that she was able to make him promise that he would do anything she asked. She therefore asked that he should – if he loved her as truly as he declared – cut out his mother’s heart and bring it to her. The young man, blinded by love, dutifully slaughtered his beloved mother. It was exactly six o’clock in the evening, and his mother was reciting the Angelus then. He held the still-beating heart in his hands as he rushed to where he knew the girl stood waiting. But when he got to their meeting-place, the girl was not there. Nothing was there – save for the realization of what he had done.
The heart still beat, though it tarried long in the hands of the prodigal son. And then it began to speak. In his shock, the boy dropped the heart, and it fell into a crack in the ground.
"Are you in pain, my child?" the mother’s heart inquired. "Let me sing you a lullaby, to soothe you to sleep." The heart softly started singing, as lovingly as its owner would have done. And in the son’s remorse he fell flat on his belly and kissed the ground that the heart lay on. The boy was so filled with guilt and grief that he did not notice himself changing, growing smaller, losing all his hair and clothing so that he was a tiny web-footed thing, that kissed and kissed at the ground as if begging for someone’s forgiveness.
At exactly six o’clock every night, when the Angelus strikes, the lizard comes down from the walls of the house, and crawls down to the floor, where it would make slight ticking sounds like quick kisses. It has been said that the lizard has not yet redeemed itself in its own eyes, and that with its tiny ears it could hear an ancient beating, and a lullaby that does not end.