Citation
The Pentamerone, or, The story of stories

Material Information

Title:
The Pentamerone, or, The story of stories
Series Title:
Children's library
Portion of title:
Story of stories
Creator:
Basile, Giambattista, ca. 1575-1632
Taylor, John Edward, fl. 1840-1855 ( Translator )
Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878 ( Illustrator )
Zimmern, Helen, 1846-1934 ( Editor )
Cassell Publishing Co ( Publisher )
R. & R. Clark (Firm) ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Cassell Publishing Company
Manufacturer:
R. & R. Clark
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
New ed., rev. and ed. / -- by Helen Zimmern
Physical Description:
218 p., [10] leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1893 ( lcsh )
Folk tales -- 1893 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Folk tales ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Title and illustrated series title pages printed in red and black.
Funding:
Children's library (Cassell Publishing Co.)
Statement of Responsibility:
by Giambattista Basile ; translated from the Neapolitan by John Edward Taylor ; with illustrations by George Cruikshank.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026587161 ( ALEPH )
ALG2236 ( NOTIS )
213481630 ( OCLC )

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Full Text




win

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fas)









CHILD p
ey.



LIBRARY



















THE

PENTAMERONE

OR

THE STORY OF STORIES

BY

GIAMBATTISTA BASILE

TRANSLATED FROM THE NEAPOLITAN BY

JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR

NEW EDITION REVISED AND EDITED
BY HELEN ZIMMERN

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK

NEW YORK

CASSELL PUBLISHING COMPANY
104 & 106 FOURTH AVENUE
1893











PREFACE

N the seventeenth century there ,



lived and wrote at Naples
a man named Gian Battista
Basile, concerning whom little
that is certain is known except that he
travelled much throughout the length and
breadth of Italy, and that his sister was a
celebrated singer in her day, to whom
Milton was introduced when at Rome, and
whose daughter’s charms the great poet
has celebrated in three of his Latin epigrams,
and in an Italian canzone. Basile was
himself a poet. From his pen there exists
a great epic poem, whose hero is Charles V.,
and a collection of sonnets and songs,



vi THE PENTAMERONE

The dust lies thick on these volumes,
written in the extravagant and affected style
of his century; none reads them, and none
would remember them had not Basile also
a more solid claim to fame, in the fact that
he was also the author, or more probably
the compiler-author, of the Pentamerone,
though doubtless in his day it was little
thought either by himself or his readers
that this, the work of his declining years,
would constitute his only claim to remem-
brance. The Pentamerone is a collection
of fifty fairy tales written in the N eapolitan
dialect, which have become since their
appearance the veritable storehouse, the
inexhaustible mine from which all other
authors of fairy tales have drawn their
stories, notably the Frenchman, Charles
Perrault, as well as Madame d’Aulnoy.
The work was planned after the method of
Boccaccio’s Decamerone, and hence its title,
since it consists not of a hundred but of
fifty stories. They are supposed to be told
by ten persons in the course of five days,
each day ending with a play or a song. As



PREFACE vil

in the Decamerone, these are written in
verse while the rest of the tales are told in
prose,

There is perhaps no more difficult dialect
in all Italy than the Neapolitan, which
contains a large admixture of Spanish,
Greek, and Arabic words, so that even
Italians born can neither read it nor under-
stand it when spoken, Translators of
Basile’s work into the current speech of
Italy therefore soon appeared, but the gross
licentious language, the impropriety inter-
mingled with but too many of the tales,
rendered them unfit for youthful readers,
notwithstanding that Basile had placed as a
second title on his frontispiece the words,
Amusement for the Little Ones. A German
eighteenth-century savant of the name of
Fernow first drew general European atten-
tion to the work, which was afterwards trans-
lated by another German, Felix Liebrecht,
to which book the learned student of Folk-
lore, Dr, Jacob Grimm, affixed a weighty
preface.

At the very same moment that Liebrecht



vill THE PENTAMERONE

was thus engaged in making these tales
accessible to readers outside Italy, an
Englishman was occupied in the same
task. He was no less a person than J. E.
Taylor, a member of that great literary
family to whom English readers are in-
debted for their first introduction to the
treasure-house of German literature in the
days when the knowledge of the German
tongue was rare indeed among Englishmen,
and they were wholly dependent on trans-
lations for an acquaintance with foreign
authors. Mr. Taylor, deterred by the
grossness of the language and contents,
which made some of the stories quite in-
admissible for English readers, translated
thirty of the fifty, and even so he saw
himself obliged to omit many objectionable
portions, since the book was intended for
the general reader, and not like Liebrecht’s
for students only. But even so Mr. Taylor’s
volume as it stands is unadapted for young
readers of the present day, and I have
therefore been obliged to revise many pages,

omitting offensive words and expressions



PREFACE ix

and adapting the stories to juvenile ears.
Wherever such an adaptation has been
_ made I have followed the version prepared

for Italian children by G. L. Ferri, which is
considered as a classic in its own country,
and is the version always put into children’s
hands. In all other respects I have left
Mr. Taylor’s language untouched, The
original designs made for the volume by
George Cruikshank have been here re-
produced. They felicitously render the
grotesque, wildly fanciful character of the
tales. Much ingenious research has been
brought to bear on the point as to whether
Basile was the author or merely the collector
of these stories, and learned criticism has
waxed hot and furious. This is not of
a character likely to appeal to juvenile
readers who ask to be amused and nothing
more. Suffice it for them to say that
Basile probably found the germs of many
of these tales extant in the folk-lore, the
oral traditions of his native province, and
that many of them he may have heard

during his visit to Crete, from which island



X THE PENTAMERONE

Boccaccio is said to have derived the
material for many of his stories. That they
present analogies with other popular tales
of fiction is evident, but even so they have
a flavour all their own. Owing to the
eminently Meridional and Neapolitan char-
acter Basile has impressed upon them, by his
language and his imagery, they partake of
Neapolitan raciness, sportive drollery, and
Southern wealth of invention, modes of

thought, and turns of speech.

HELEN ZIMMERN.



Pee *
es Cet B
= (PRE XOX.

SS

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
PERUONTO.
VARDIELLO

THE FLEA.

THE ENCHANTED Dor
PARSLEY . .
THE THREE SISTERS
VIOLET ‘
GAGLIUSO .

THE SERPENT

Tur SHE-BEAR

Ture Dovre

Tur Boosy



PAGE

102
112

128



xli THE PENTAMERONE
PAGE

Tue STONE IN THE CocK’s HEAD . 138
THE Two CAKES. : F . 147
THE SEVEN DovEs : d ae 157
THE GOLDEN ROOT ‘ 3 . 176
NENNILLO AND NENNELLA : . 190
THE THREE CITRONS . : . 199

CONCLUSION f : . » 216



PARR CID) Cera Nee









LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

MINECCO ANIELLO BEFORE Kinc NIBBLER

Frontispiece
PERUONTO é . Facing page 16
VARDIELLO . : ; = 28
PORZIELLA AND THE OGRE. i 42
PARSLEY : : : ts 58
Tur THREE SISTERS £ 5 66
THE SHE-BEAR : ; ae 108
THE Boosy . i ; 7 136
THE GEESE SINGING TO THE
Kinc or Cuarunzo ; at 152
MARZIELLA FEEDING THE GEESE 33 154
THE SEVEN Doves . AR 170
THE GOLDEN Root . : 7 186

NENNILLO AND NENNELLA , ‘ 196











INTRODUCTION

T is an old saying, that he who
seeks what he should not, finds
what he would not; and every
one has heard of the ape, who,
in trying to pull on the boots, was caught
by the foot. And it happened in like
manner to a wretched slave, who, though
she never had shoes to. her feet, wanted to
wear a crown on her head. But as the
straight road is the best, and, sooner or
later a day comes which settles all accounts,
at last, having by evil means usurped what
belonged to another, she fell to the ground ;
and the higher she had mounted, the greater
was her fall, as you will presently see.

Once upon a time, the king of Woody
Valley had a daughter named Zoza, who,
like another Zoroaster or Heraclitus, was
never seen to laugh. The unhappy father,
who had no other comfort in life but this
B






2 THE PENTAMERONE

only daughter, left nothing untried to drive
away her melancholy. Accordingly he
sent for folks who walk on stilts, for fellows
who jump through hoops, for boxers, for
jugglers who perform sleight-of-hand tricks,
for men as strong as Hercules, for dancing
dogs, for leaping clowns, for the jackass
that drinks out of a tumbler,—and in short
he tried “first one thing and then another
to make her laugh. But all was time lost,
for nothing brought a smile upon her lips,

So at length the poor father, to make a
last trial, and not knowing what else to do,
ordered a large fountain of oil to be made
in front of the palace gates; thinking to
himself, that when the oil ran down the
street, along which the people passed to
and fro like a troop of ants, they would be
obliged, in order not to soil their clothes,
to skip like grasshoppers, leap like goats,
and run like hares; while one would go
picking and choosing his way, and another
go creeping along close to the wall. In
short, he hoped that something might come
to pass that would make his daughter
laugh.

So the fountain was made; and as Zoza
was one day standing at the window, grave
and demure, and looking as sour as vinegar,
there came by chance an old woman, who,
soaking up the oil with a sponge, began to
fill a little pitcher which she had brought



INTRODUCTION 3

with her. And as she was labouring hard
at this ingenious device, a pert young page
of the court, passing by, threw a stone so
exactly to a hair, that it hit the pitcher and
broke it in pieces, Whereupon the old
woman turned to the page full of wrath,
and exclaimed, ‘Ah! you impertinent young
dog, you mule, you spindle-legs, ill luck to
you! may you be hung -with a rope’s-end,
and your blood be not spilt—may a thou-
sand ills befall you, and something more to
boot, you thief, you knave !’

The lad, who had little beard and less
discretion, hearing this string of abuse,
repaid the old woman in the same coin,
saying, ‘Have you done, you devil’s grand-
mother, you old hag!’

When the old woman heard these com-
pliments, she flew into such a rage that she
acted like a madwoman, cutting capers in
the air and grinning like an ape. At this
strange spectacle, Zoza burst into such a
fit of laughter that she well-nigh fainted
away. But when the old woman saw her-
self played this trick, she flew into a passion,
and turning a fierce look on Zoza, she ex-
claimed,’ ‘May you never have the least
little bit of a husband, unless you take the
Prince of Roundfield.’

Upon hearing this, Zoza ordered the old
woman to be called, and desired to know
whether in her words she had laid on her a



4 THE PENTAMERONE

curse, or had only meant to insult her. And
the old woman answered, ‘ Know then, that
the prince whom I spoke of is a most hand-
some creature, and is named Taddeo, who,
by the wicked spell of a fairy, having given
the last touch to the picture of life, has
been placed in a tomb outside the walls of
the city; and there is an inscription upon
a stone, saying, that whatever woman shall
in three days fill with her tears a pitcher
which hangs there upon a hook, will bring
the prince to life again, and shall take him
for a husband. But as it is impossible for
two human eyes to weep so much as to fill
a pitcher that would hold half a barrel, un-
less it were those of Egeria, who, as I’ve
heard say, was turned into a fountain of
tears at Rome, I have wished you this
wish, in return for your scoffing and jeering
at me; and I pray Heaven that it may
come to pass, to avenge the wrong you
have done me,’ So saying she scudded
down the stairs, for fear of a beating.

Zoza pondered over the words of the
old woman, and after ruminating and turn-
ing over a hundred thoughts in her mind,
until her head was like a mill full of doubts,
she was at last struck by a dart of the
passion which blinds the judgment and puts
a spell upon the reason of man; and taking
with her a handful of dollars from her
father’s coffers, she left the palace, and



INTRODUCTION 5

walked on and on, until she arrived at the
castle of a fairy, to whom she unburdened
her heart. The fairy, out of pity for such
a fair young girl, who had two spurs to
make her fall—little help, and plenty of
love for an unknown object—gave her a
letter of recommendation to a sister of hers,
who was also a fairy. And this second
fairy received her likewise with great kind-
ness; and on the following morning, when
Night commands the birds to proclaim,
that whoever has seen a flock of black
shadows gone astray shall be well rewarded,
she gave her a beautiful walnut, saying,
‘Take this, my dear daughter, and keep it
carefully ; but never open it except in time
of the greatest need.’ And so saying, she
in like manner gave her a letter commend-
ing her to another sister.

After journeying a long way, Zoza arrived
at the fairy’s castle, and was received with
the same affection as before. And the
next morning this fairy likewise gave her
a letter to another sister, together with a
chestnut ; but at the same time cautioning
her as before,

After travelling on for some time, Zoza
came to the castle of the fairy, who showered
on her a thousand caresses. The next
morning, at her departure, the fairy gave
her a filbert, cautioning her in like manner
never to open it, unless the greatest



6 THE PENTAMERONE

necessity obliged her. Then Zoza set out
upon her journey, and travelled so far, and
passed so many forests and rivers, that at
the end of seven years, just at the time of
day when the Sun, awakened by the crow-
ing of the cocks, has saddled his steeds to
run his accustomed stages, she arrived
almost lame at Roundfield.

There, at the entrance to the city, she
saw a marble tomb, at the foot of a foun-
tain, which was weeping tears of crystal at
seeing itself shut up in a porphyry prison.
And lifting up the pitcher, which hung over
it, she placed it in her lap, and began to
weep into it, and imitating the fountain to
make two little fountains of her eyes. And
thus she continued without ever raising her
head from the mouth of the pitcher; until,
at the end of two days, it was full within
two inches of the top. But being wearied
with so much weeping, she was unawares
overtaken by sleep, and was obliged to
rest for an hour or two under the canopy of
her eyelids.

Meanwhile a certain Slave, with the legs
of a grasshopper, came, as she was wont,
to that fountain to fill her water-cask. Now
she knew the meaning of the inscription,
which was talked of everywhere; and when
she saw Zoza weeping so incessantly, and
making two little streams from her eyes,
she was always watching and spying until



INTRODUCTION 7

the pitcher should be full enough for her to
add the last drops to fill it, and thus to
leave Zoza cheated of her hopes. Now
therefore, seeing Zoza asleep, she seized the
opportunity, and dexterously removing the
pitcher from under Zoza, and placing her
own eyes over it, she filled it in four seconds.
But hardly was it full, when the Prince
arose from the white marble shrine, as if
awakened from a deep sleep, and embraced
that mass of black flesh; and carrying her
straightway to his palace, feasts and mar-
vellous illuminations were made, and he
took her for his wife.

When Zoza awoke, and saw the pitcher
gone, and her hopes with it, and the shrine
open, her heart grew so heavy that she was
on the point of unpacking the bales of her
soul at the custom-house of Death. But at
last, seeing that there was no help for her
misfortune, and that she could blame only
her own eyes, which had watched so ill, she
went her way, step by step, into the city.
And when she heard of the feasts which the
Prince had made, and the dainty creature
he had taken to wife, she instantly conceived
how all this mischief had come to pass; and
said to herself, sighing, ‘Alas, two dark
things have brought me to the ground—
sleep and a black slave.’ Then, in order to
try all means possible to avert death, against
whom every living being defends itself with



8 THE PENTAMERONE

all in its power, she took a handsome house
facing the palace of the Prince ; from whence,
although she could not see the idol of her
heart, she viewed at least the walls of the
temple wherein the treasure she sighed for
was enclosed,

But Taddeo, who was constantly flying
like a bat around that black night of a Slave,
chanced to perceive Zoza, and he became
an eagle, to gaze fixedly at her person, the
casket of the graces of Nature, and the ze
plus ultra of the bounds of Beauty. When
the Slave perceived this, she was beside
herself with rage; and threatened her
husband, that if he did not instantly leave
the window, her child should not be born
alive.

Taddeo, who was anxiously expecting the
birth of the child, trembled like a reed at
offending his wife, and tore himself away,
like a soul from the body, from the sight of
Zoza ; who, seeing this little balm for the
sickness of her hopes taken from her, knew
not what to do in her extreme need. But
recollecting the gifts which the fairies had
given her, she opened the walnut, and out
of it hopped a little dwarf, like a doll, the
most graceful toy that ever was seen in the
world. Then, seating himself upon the
window, the dwarf began to sing with such
a trill, and gurgling, that he surpassed all
the most famous singers.



INTRODUCTION 9

The Slave, when she saw and heard this,
was so enraptured, that, calling Taddeo, she
said, ‘Bring me the little fellow who is singing
yonder, or the child shall not be born alive.’
So the Prince, who allowed the ugly woman
to rule him, sent instantly to Zoza, to ask
if she would sell the little dwarf. Zoza
answered that she was not a merchant, but
that he was welcome to it as a gift. So
Taddeo accepted the offer; for he was
anxious to keep his wife in good humour,
Four days after this Zoza opened the chest-
nut, when out came a hen with twelve little
chickens, all of pure gold. And being placed
on the same window, the Slave saw them,
and took a vast fancy to them; then calling
Taddeo, she showed him the beautiful sight,
and said, ‘Get me the hen and chickens,
or depend upon it the child shall not be
born alive.’ So Taddeo, who let himself
be caught in the net, and become the sport
of the ugly creature, sent again to Zoza,
offering her any price she might ask for the
beautiful hen. But Zoza gave the same
answer as before, that he might have it as
a gift, but that as for selling, it was only a
loss of time. Taddeo therefore, who could
do no otherwise, made necessity kick at
discretion ; and taking the beautiful present,
he was obliged to confess himself outdone
by the liberality of woman.

But after four days more Zoza opened



10 THE PENTAMERONE

the hazel-nut, and forth came a doll, which
spun gold,—a sight indeed to amaze one.
And as soon as it was placed at the
same window, the Slave saw it, and calling
to Taddeo, said, ‘Bring me the doll, or I
promise you the child shall not be born
alive’ Taddeo, who let his proud hussy
of a wife toss him about like a shuttle, and
lead him by the nose, had nevertheless not
the heart to send to Zoza for the doll, but
resolved to go himself, recollecting the
saying, ‘No messenger is better than your-
self’; and, ‘If a man wants a thing, let him -
go for it,—if he does not want it, let him
send’; and, ‘Let him who would eat a fish
take it by the tail.’ So he went and be-
sought Zoza to pardon his impertinence, on
account of the caprices of his wife; and
Zoza, who was in ecstasies at beholding the
cause of her sorrow, put a constraint upon
herself, so as to let him entreat her the
longer, and to keep in her sight the object
of her love, who was stolen from her by an
ugly slave. At length she gave him the
doll, as she had done the other things ; but
before placing it in his hands she prayed
the little doll to put a desire into the heart
of the Slave to hear stories told her. And
when Taddeo saw the doll in his hand,
without his paying a single carlino, he was
so filled with amazement at such courtesy,
that he offered his kingdom and his life in



INTRODUCTION Ir

exchange for the gift. Then, returning to
the palace, he gave the doll to his wife, who
had no sooner placed it in her bosom, to
play with it, than it seemed to be Love in
the form of Ascanius in Dido’s bosom, who
shot a dart into her breast; for instantly
such a longing seized her to hear stories
told, that, being unable to resist, she called
her husband, and said, ‘Bid some story-
tellers come and tell me stories, or I pro-
mise you the child shall not be born alive.’
Taddeo ordered a proclamation instantly
to be made, that all the women of the land
should come on an appointed day. And on
that day, at the hour when the star of Venus
appears, who awakes the Dawn, to strew the
road along which the Sun has to pass, the
ladies were all assembled at the appointed
place. “But Taddeo, not wishing to detain
such a rabble for the mere amusement of his
wife, and being moreover suffocated by the
crowd, chose ten only of the best of the city,
who appeared to him most capable and
eloquent. These were, Bushy-haired Zeza,
bandy-legged Cecca, wen-necked Meneca,
long-nosed Tolla, humpbacked Popa, bearded
Antonella, dumpy Ciulla, blear-eyed Paola,
bald- pated Ciommetella, and square-shoul-
dered Jacova. These he wrote down on a
sheet of paper, and then, dismissing the
others, he arose with the Slave from under
the canopy, and they went gently gently to



12 THE PENTAMERONE

the garden of the palace, where the leafy
branches were so closely interlaced, that the
Sun could not separate them with all the
industry of his rays. And seating them-
selves under a pavilion, formed by a trellis
of vines, in the middle of which ran a great
fountain, Taddeo thus began :

‘There is nothing in the world more
glorious, my gentle dames, than to listen to
the deeds of others; nor was it without
reason that the great philosopher placed
the highest happiness of man in listening
to pretty stories; since, in hearing pleas-
ing things told, griefs vanish, troublesome
thoughts are put to flight, and life is length-
ened. And for this reason you see the
artisans leave the workshops, the merchants
their counting-houses, the lawyers their
causes, the shopkeepers their business, and
all repair with open mouth to the barbers’
shops and the groups of chatterers, to listen
to stories, fictions, and gazettes in the air.
I cannot therefore but pardon my wife, who
has gotten this strange fancy into her head
of hearing stories told; and so, if you will
please to satisfy the whim of my princess,
and comply with my wishes, you will, during
these four or five days until the birth takes
place, each of you relate daily one of those
tales which old women are wont to tell for the
amusement of the little ones. And you will
come regularly to this spot, where, after a



INTRODUCTION 13

good repast, you shall begin to tell stories,
so as to pass life pleasantly, and sorrow to
him that dies!’

At these words, all present bowed assent
to the commands of Taddeo, And the tables
being meanwhile set out, and the feast spread,
they sat down to eat; and when they had
done eating, the Prince made a sign that the
story-telling should begin.









PERUONTO

GOOD deed is never lost: he
who sows courtesy reaps benefit,
and he who plants kindness
gathers love. Pleasure be-

stowed upon a grateful mind was never

sterile, but generates gratitude, and begets
reward, Instances of this occur continually
in the actions of men, and you will see an ex-
ample of it in the story which I will tell you.



-A good woman at Casoria, named
Ceccarella, had a son called Peruonto, who
was the most hideous figure, the greatest
fool and the most doltish idiot that Nature
had ever created, So that the heart of his
unhappy mother was blacker than a dish-
clout, and a thousand times a day did she
bestow a hearty curse on all who had a
hand in bringing into the world such a
blockhead, who was not worth a dog’s mess.



PERUONTO Is

For the poor woman might scream at him
till she burst her throat, and yet the moon-
calf would not stir to do the slightest hand’s
turn for her.

At last, after a thousand dinnings at his
brain, and a thousand splittings of his head,
and a thousand ‘I tell you’ and ‘I told
you,’ bawling to-day and yelling to-morrow,
she got him to go to the wood for a faggot,
saying, ‘Come now, it is time for us to get
a morsel to eat; so run off for some sticks,
and don’t forget yourself on the way, but
come back as quick as you can, and we will
boil ourselves some cabbage, to keep the
life in us.’

Away went Peruonto, the blockhead, and
he went just like one that was going to the
gallows: away he went, and he moved as if
treading on eggs, with the gait of a jackdaw,
and counting his steps, going fair and softly,
at a snail’s, gallop, and making all sorts of
zigzags and circumbendibuses on_ his way
to the wood. And when he reached the
middle of a plain, through which a river
ran, growling and murmuring at the want of
manners in the stones that were stopping
his way, he met three youths, who had
made themselves a bed of the grass, and
a pillow of a flint stone, and were lying dead
asleep under the blaze of the Sun, who was
shooting his rays down point blank. When
Peruonto saw these poor creatures, who



16 THE PENTAMERONE

were made a fountain of water in the midst
of a furnace of fire, he felt pity for them, and
cutting some branches of an oak he made
a handsome arbour over them. Meanwhile
the youths, who were the sons of a fairy,
awoke, and seeing the kindness and courtesy
of Peruonto, they gave him a charm, that
everything he asked for should be done.
Peruonto, having performed this good
action, went his ways towards the wood,
where he made up such an enormous
faggot that it would have required an
engine to drag it; and seeing that it was all
nonsense for him to think of carrying it on
his back, he got astride on it, and cried,
‘Oh what a lucky fellow I should be if this
faggot would carry me riding a-horseback !?
And the word was hardly out of his mouth,
when the faggot began to trot and to gallop
like a good horse; and when it came in
front of the king’s palace, it pranced and
capered and curveted in a way that would
amaze you. The ladies, who were standing
at one of the windows, on seeing such a
wonderful sight, ran to call Vastolla, the
daughter of the king, who, going to the
window and observing the caracoles of a
faggot and the bounds of a bundle of wood,
burst out a-laughing—a thing which, owing
to a natural melancholy, she never re-
membered to have done before. Peruonto
raised his head, and seeing that it was at







PERUONTO 17

him they were laughing, exclaimed, ‘O
Vastolla, may you never know peace till
you have married me whom now you de-
ride,’ and so saying, he struck his heels into
the flanks of his faggot, and in a dashing
faggoty gallop he was at home before many
minutes, with such a train of little boys.at
his heels, bawling and shouting after him,
that if his mother had not been quick to shut
the door, they would have killed him with
rotten fruit and vegetables.

Vastolla from that day began to be tor-
mented with the thought of marrying Peru-
onto, and when the King proposed that she
should wed the son of the Emperor of
Trebisonde, she replied that she would marry
no one else but that countryman whom she
had seen passing one day before her palace
astride on a faggot of wood. The father of
Vastolla, angered by this refusal, called to-
gether his councillors, and said he was
determined to punish the Princess; but the
councillors decreed that, before he took such
severe measures, it would be well to know
who was the countryman of whom the
Princess was enamoured. The King was
satisfied with this counsel, and wrote out a
decree ordering a great banquet to be pre-
pared, and inviting every nobleman and
every man of rank to come into the city,
proposing that when they had done feasting,
he should place them all ina row and let

Cc



18 THE PENTAMERONE

them pass before Vastolla, hoping that she
would select from among them the man
who had taken possession of her heart.
They came, but of not one of them would
Vastolla take any notice, so the King was
angered, and stamped with his feet upon the
ground and swore he would punish his
daughter.

But the councillors said to him, ‘ Softly,
softly, your Majesty! quiet your wrath. Let
us make another banquet to-morrow, not for
people of condition, but for the lower sort ;
maybe, as a woman always attaches herself
to the worst, we shall find among the cutlers,
and bead-makers, and comb-sellers, the root
of your angér, which we have not discovered
among the cavaliers.’

This reasoning jumped with the humour
of the King, and he ordered a second banquet
to be prepared ; to which, on proclamation
being made, came all the riffraff and tag-
rag-and-bobtail of the city, such as rogues,
scavengers, tinkers, pedlars, penny-boys,
sweeps, beggars, and such-like rabble, who
were all in high glee; and taking their seats,
like noblemen, at a great long table, they
began to feast and gobble away.

Now when Ceccarella heard this pro-
clamation, she began to urge Peruonto to go
there too, until at last she got him to set
out for the feast. And scarcely had he
arrived there and begun to eat with the



PERUONTO 19

others, than the King’s daughter, not think-
ing of what she did, exclatmed, ‘That is
he!’

When the king heard this he tore his
beard, seeing that the prize in this lottery
‘had fallen to anugly boor. Heaving a deep
sigh, he said,-‘ What can that jade of a
daughter of mine have seen to make her
take a fancy to this sea-ogre? Ah, vile,
false creature, what metamorphosis is this?
But why do we delay? let her suffer the
punishment she deserves: let her undergo
the penalty that shall be decreed by you;
and take her from my presence, for I cannot
endure the sight of her.’

Then the councillors consulted’ together,
and they resolved that she and the male-
factor should be shut up in a cask, and
thrown into the sea; so that, without the
King’s dipping his hands in his own blood,
they might put a full stop to the sentence of
their lives. No sooner was the judgment
pronounced, than the cask was brought, and
the couple were put into it; but before they
coopered it up, some of Vastolla’s ladies,
crying and sobbing as if their hearts would
break, put into it also a little basket of
raisins and .dried figs, that she might have
wherewithal to live on for some little time.
And when the cask was closed up, it was
carried and flung into the open sea, along
which it went floating as the wind drove it.



20 THE PENTAMERONE

Meanwhile Vastolla, weeping and making
two rivers of her eyes, said to Peruonto,
‘What a sad misfortune is this of ours,
to have the cradle of Bacchus for our
coffin! Oh, if I but knew who has played
me this trick, to have me caged in this
dungeon! Alas, alas! to find myself in
this plight without knowing how. Tell me,
tell me, O cruel man, what incantation was
it you made, and what wand did you
employ, to bring me within the circle of
this cask?’ Peruonto, who had been for
some time lending her an indifferent ear, at’
last said, ‘If you want me to tell you, you
must give me some figs and raisins.’ So
Vastolla, to draw the secret out of him,
gave him a handful of both ; and as soon as
he had his gullet full, he told her accurately
all that had befallen him with the three
youths, and then with the faggot, and then
with herself at the window ; which when the
poor lady heard, she took heart, and said to
Peruonto, ‘ Brother of mine, shall we then
let our lives run out ina cask? Why don’t
you cause this tub to be changed into a fine
ship, and run into some good harbour to
escape this danger?’ And _ Peruonto
replied :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

So Vastolla, to make him open his throat,



PERUONTO ar

instantly filled his throat with the figs and
raisins. And lo! as soon as Peruonto had
said what she desired, the cask was turned
into a ship, with all the rigging necessary
for sailing, and with all the sailors required
for working the vessel. There you might
see one pulling at a sheet, another mending
the rigging, one taking the helm, another
setting the sails, another mounting to the
round-top, one crying ‘Larboard!’ and
another ‘Starboard!’ one sounding a
trumpet, another firing the guns, one doing
one thing and one another ; so that Vastolla
was swimming in a sea of delight.

It being now the hour when the Moon
begins to play at see-saw with the Sun,
Vastolla said to Peruonto: ‘My fine lad,
now make this ship be changed into a
beautiful palace, for we shall then be more
secure: you know the saying, Praise the
sea, but keep to the land” And Peruonto
replied :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

So Vastolla instantly repeated the opera-
tion ; and Peruonto, swallowing them down,
asked what was her pleasure; and immedi-
ately the ship came to land, and was
changed into a beautiful palace, fitted up
in a most complete manner, and so full of
furniture, and curtains, and hangings, that



22 THE PENTAMERONE

there was nothing left to desire. So that
Vastolla, who a little before would have
given her life for a farthing, would not now
change places with the greatest lady in the
world, seeing herself served and treated like
a queen. Then, to put the seal to all her
good fortune, she besought Peruonto to
obtain grace to become handsome and
polished in his manners, that they might
live happy together. And Peruonto replied
as before :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

Then Vastolla quickly removed the
stoppage of his speech; and scarcely had
he spoken the word, when he was changed
from an owl into a nightingale, from an ogre
into a Narcissus, from a scarecrow into a
dapper little doll. Vastolla, seeing such a
transformation, clasped him in her arms,
and was almost beside herself with joy.

Meantime the King, who from the day
that he had pronounced this cruel sentence
knew no peace, was one day for amusement
brought out to hunt by his courtiers. Night
overtook them, and seeing a light in the
window of that palace, he sent a servant to
inquire if they would entertain him ; and he
was answered, that he might not merely
break a glass but even smash a jug there.
So the King went to the palace; and up



PERUONTO 23

the staircase, and through the chambers,
without seeing a living being. Surprised
and astonished, he stood like one that was
enchanted ; then sat down to rest himself
at a table. To his amazement he saw in-
visibly spread on it a Flanders tablecloth,
with dishes full of roast meats, and viands
of various kinds; so that he feasted in truth
like a king: and all the while he sat at
‘table, a concert of lutes and tambourines
never ceased,—such delicious music that it
went to the very tips of his fingers and toes.
When he had done eating, a bed suddenly
appeared, all made of gold; and having his
boots taken off, he went to rest, and all his
courtiers did the same, after having feasted
heartily at a hundred tables, which were laid
out in the other rooms.

When morning came, and the King was
about to depart, he wished to know who
were his hosts. Then Vastolla made her
appearance with her husband, and casting
herself at his feet, she asked his pardon, and
related to him her whole story. The King,
seeing that he had found a son-in-law who
was a fay, embraced first one and then the
other, and carried them with him to the city.
Then he made a great feast, that lasted for
many days, on account of this good luck,
solemnly confessing to his whole court that

Man proposes,
But God disposes.



24 THE PENTAMERONE

When Meneca had ended her story, which
was considered beautiful from the number of
curious adventures, which kept the attention
of the hearers awake to the very end, Tolla,
at the command of the Prince, began the
following story.







VARDIELLO



F Nature had given to animals the
necessity of clothing themselves,
and of buying their food, the
race of quadrupeds would in-
evitably be destroyed. Therefore it is that
they find their food without trouble,—with-
out gardener to gather it, purchaser to buy
it, cook to prepare it, or carver to cut it up;
whilst their skin defends them from the
rain and snow, without the merchant giving
them cloth, the tailor making the dress, or
the errand-boy begging for a drink-penny.
To man, however, who has _ intelligence,
Nature did not care to grant these in-
dulgences, since he is able to procure for
himself what he wants. This is the reason
that we commonly see clever men poor,
and blockheads rich; as you may gather
from the story which I am going to tell
you.






26 THE PENTAMERONE

Grannonia of Aprano was a woman of
great sense and judgment, but she had a son
named Vardiello, who was the greatest booby
and simpleton in the whole country round
about. Nevertheless, as a mother’s eyes
are bewitched and see what does not exist,
she doted upon him so much, that she was
for ever caressing and fondling him as if he
were the handsomest creature in the world,

Now Grannonia kept a brood-hen, that
was sitting upon a nest of eggs, in which
she placed all her hope, expecting to have
a fine brood of chickens, and to make a
good profit off them. And having one day
to go out on some business, she called her
son, and said to him, ‘My pretty son of
your own mother, listen to what I say;
keep your eye upon the hen, and if she
should get up to scratch and pick, look
sharp and drive her back to the nest; for
otherwise the eggs will grow cold, and then
we shall have neither eggs nor chickens.’

‘Leave it to me,’ replied Vardiello, ‘you
are not speaking to deaf ears.’

‘One thing more,’ said his mother;
‘look ye, my blessed son, in yon cupboard
is a pot full of certain poisonous things ;
take care that ugly Sin does not tempt you
to touch them, for they would make you
stretch your legs in a trice,’

‘Heaven forbid!’ replied Vardiello ;
‘poison indeed will not tempt me; but you



VARDIELLO 3 27

have done wisely to give me the warning ;
for if I had got at it, I should certainly
have eaten it all up.’

Thereupon the mother went out, but
Vardiello stayed behind; and, in order to
lose no time, he went into the garden to
dig holes, which he covered with boughs
and earth, to catch the little thieves who
come to steal the fruit. And as he was in
the midst of his work, he saw the hen come
running out of the room; whereupon he
began to cry, ‘Hish, hish! this way, that
way!’ But the hen did not stir a foot;
and Vardiello, seeing that she had some-
thing of the donkey in her, after crying
‘Hish, hish,’ began to stamp with his feet ;
and after stamping with his feet, to throw
his cap at her, and after the cap a cudgel,
which hit her just upon the pate, and made
her quickly stretch her legs.

When Vardiello saw this sad accident,
he bethought himself how to remedy the
evil; and making a virtue of necessity, in
order to prevent the eggs growing cold, he
set himself down upon the nest; but in
doing so, he gave the eggs an unlucky
blow, and quickly made an omelet of them,
In despair at what he had done, he was on
the point of knocking his head against the
wall: at last, however, as all grief turns
to hunger, feeling his stomach begin to
grumble, he resolved to eat up the hen.



28 _. THE PENTAMERONE

So he plucked her, and sticking her upon
a spit, he made a great fire, and set to
work to roast her. And when she was
cooked, Vardiello, to do everything in due
order, spread a clean cloth upon an old
chest; and then, taking a flagon, he went
down into the cellar to draw some wine.
But just as he was in the midst of drawing
the wine, he heard a noise, a disturbance, an
uproar in the house, which seemed like the
clattering of horses’ hoofs. Whereat starting
up in alarm, and turning his eyes, he saw
a big tom-cat, which had run off with the
hen, spit and all; and another cat chasing
after him, mewing, and crying out for a part.

Vardiello, in order to set this mishap to
rights, darted upon the cat like an unchained
lion, and in his haste he left the tap of the
barrel running. And after chasing the cat
through every hole and corner of the house,
he recovered the hen, but the cask had
meanwhile all run out; and when Vardiello
returned, and saw the wine running about,
he let the cask of his soul empty itself
through the tap-holes of his eyes. But at
last judgment came to his aid, and he hit
upon a plan to remedy the mischief, and
prevent his mother’s finding out what had
happened: so taking a sack of flour, filled
full to the mouth, he sprinkled it over the
wine on the floor.

But when he meanwhile reckoned up on



nO

ve, Cmukighonlt, She









VARDIELLO 29

his fingers all the disasters he had met
with, and thought to himself that, from the
number of fooleries he had committed, he
must have lost the game in the good graces
of Grannonia, he resolved in his heart not
to let his mother see him again alive. So
thrusting his hand into the jar of pickled
walnuts, which his mother had said con-
tained poison, he never stopped eating
until he came to the bottom; and when he
had right well filled his stomach, he went
and hid himself in the oven,

In the meanwhile his mother returned,
and stood knocking for a long time at the
door; but at last, seeing that no one came,
she gave it a kick; and going in, she called
her son at the top of her voice. But as
nobody answered, she imagined that some
mischief must have happened, and with
increased lamentation she went on crying
louder and louder, ‘Vardiello! Vardiello!
are you deaf, that you don’t hear? have
you the cramp, that you don’t run? have
you the pip, that you don’t answer? Where
are you, you gallows-faced rogue? where
are you hidden, you naughty fellow ?’

Vardiello, on hearing all this hubbub and
abuse, cried out at last with a piteous voice,
‘Here Lam! here I am in the oven; but
you will never see me again, mother !’

‘Why so?’ said the poor mother.

‘Because I am poisoned,’ replied the son.



30 THE PENTAMERONE

‘Alas! alas!’ cried Grannonia, ‘how
came you to do that ? what cause have you
had to commit this homicide? and who has
given you the poison?’ Then Vardiello
told her, one after another, all the pretty
things he had done; on which account he
wished to die, and not to remain any longer
a laughing-stock in the world.

The poor woman, on hearing all this, was
miserable and wretched, and she had enough
to do and to say to drive this melancholy
whimsey out of Vardiello’s head. And being
infatuated and dotingly fond of him, she gave
him some nice sweetmeats, and so put the
affair of the pickled walnuts out of his head,
and convinced him that they were not poison,
but good and comforting to the stomach.
And having thus pacified him with cheering
words, and showered on him a thousand ca-
resses, she drew him out of the oven. Then
giving him a fine piece of cloth, she bade
him go and sell it, but cautioned him not
to do business with folks of too many words.

‘Tut, tut!’ said Vardiello; ‘let me alone,
—I know what I’m about, never fear.’ So
saying he took the cloth, and went his way
through the city of Naples, crying, ‘Cloth!
cloth!’ But whenever any one asked him,
‘What cloth have you there?’ he replied,
‘You are no customer for me— you are
a man of too many words.’ And when
another said to him, ‘How do you sell your



VARDIELLO 31

cloth?’ he called him a chatterbox, who
deafened him with his noise. At length he
chanced to espy, in the courtyard of a house
which was deserted, a plaster statue; and
being tired out, and wearied with going about
and about, he sat himself down upon a bench.
But not seeing any one astir in the house,
which looked like a sacked village, he was
lost in amazement, and said to the statue,
‘Tell me, comrade, does no one live in this
house?’ Vardiello waited a while ; but as
the statue gave no answer, he thought this
surely was aman of few words. So he said,
‘Friend, will you buy my cloth? I'll sell it
you cheap.’ And seeing that the statue still
remained dumb, he exclaimed, ‘Faith then
P’ve found my man at last! there, take the
cloth, examine it, and give me what you will;
to-morrow I'll return for the money.’

So saying, Vardiello left the cloth on the
spot where he had been sitting, and the first
mother’s son who passed that way found the
prize and carried it off.

When Vardiello returned home without
the cloth, and told his mother all that had
happened, she well-nigh swooned away, and
said to him, ‘When will you put that head-
piece of yours in order? See now what
tricks you have played me—only think! but
I am myself to blame for being too tender-
hearted, instead of having given you a good
beating at first; and now I perceive that a



32 THE PENTAMERONE

pitiful doctor only makes the wound in-
curable. But you'll go on with your pranks,
until at last we come to a serious falling out,
and then there will be a long reckoning, my
lad !?

‘Softly, mother,’ replied Vardiello ;
‘matters are not so bad as they seem: do
you want more than crown-pieces bran new
from the mint ? do you think me a fool, and
that I don’t know what I am about? To-
morrow is not yet here—wait a while, and
you shall see whether I know how to fit a
handle to a shovel.’

The next morning, as soon as the shades
of Night, pursued by the constables of the
Sun, had fled the country, Vardiello repaired
to the courtyard where the statue stood, and
said, ‘Good-day, friend! can you give me
those few pence you owe me? come, quick,
pay me for the cloth!’ But when he saw
that the statue remained speechless, he took
up a stone, and hurled it at its breast with
such force that it burst a vein, which proved
indeed the cure to his own malady; for
some pieces of the statue falling off, he
discovered a pot full of golden crown-pieces.
Then taking it in both his hands, off he ran
home, head over heels, as fast as he could
scamper, crying out, ‘ Mother, mother! see
here, what a lot of red lupins I’ve got ! how
many, how many !’

His mother, seeing the crown-pieces, and



VARDIELLO 33

knowing very well that Vardiello would
soon make the matter public, told him to
stand at the door, until the man with milk
and new-made cheese came past, as she
wanted to buy a pennyworth of milk. So
Vardiello, who was a great glutton, went
quickly and seated himself at the door;
and his mother showered down from the
window above raisins and dried figs for
more than half an hour. Whereupon
Vardiello, picking them up as fast as he
could, cried aloud, ‘ Mother, mother! bring
out some baskets, give me some bowls!
here, quick with the tubs and buckets! for
if it goes on to rain thus we shall be rich
in a trice’ And when he had eaten his fill
Vardiello went up to sleep.

It happened one day that two country-
men fell out, and went to law about a
gold crown-piece which they had found on
the ground ; and Vardiello passing by said,
‘What jackasses you are to quarrel about
a red lupin like this! for my part I don’t
value it at a pin’s head, for I’ve found a
whole potful of them.’

When the judge heard this he opened
wide his eyes and ears, and examined
Vardiello closely, asking him how, when,
and where he had found the crowns. And
Vardiello replied, ‘I found them in a
palace, inside a dumb man, when it rained
raisins and dried figs.’ At this the judge

D



34 THE PENTAMERONE

stared with amazement ; but instantly under-
stood that he had to deal with a booby, so
he sent him off without further ado and
without suspecting by what cunning the
mother had caused him to make this absurd
reply.

And so the treasure remained in the
hands of Grannonia of Aprano.

The Prince and the Slave laughed till
they were ready to burst at Vardiello’s
stupidity, and praised the cleverness of his
mother, who had the wit to foresee and
provide against his folly. But when all the
others had turned the key on their chatter-
ing, Popa, being requested to tell a story,
began as follows,











APS
eer

Pe AES
) Renee











THE FLEA

ESOLUTIONS taken without
thought bring disasters without
remedy. He who behaves like
a fool repents like a wise man;

as happened to the King of High-Hill, who,

through unexampled folly, commited an act
of madness, putting in jeopardy both his
daughter and his honour.



Once upon a time the King of High-
Hill, being bitten by a flea, caught him by
a wonderful feat of dexterity ; and seeing
how handsome and stately he was, he could
not in conscience pass sentence on him
upon the bed of his nail. So he put him
into a bottle, and feeding him every day
with the blood of his own arm, the little
beast grew at such a rate, that at the end of
seven months it was necessary to shift his
quarters, for he was grown bigger than a



36 THE PENTAMERONE

sheep. When the king saw this, he had
him flayed, and the skin dressed. Then he
issued a proclamation, that whoever could
tell to what animal this skin had belonged
should have his daughter to wife,

As soon as this decree was made known,
the people all flocked in crowds, and they
came from the ends of the world to be
present at the scrutiny, and to try their
luck. One said that it belonged to an ape,
another to a lynx, a third to a crocodile,
and in short some gave it to one animal,
and some to another; but they were all a
hundred miles from the truth, and not one
hit the nail on the head. At last there
came to this anatomical trial an ogre, who
was the most frightfully ugly being in the
world, the very sight of whom would make
the boldest man tremble and quake with
fear. But no sooner had he come, and
turned the skin round and smelt it, than he
instantly guessed the truth, saying, ‘This
skin belongs to the arch-rascal of the
fleas !?

Now the king saw that the ogre had hit
the apple; but, not to break his word, he
ordered his daughter Porziella to be called,
Porziella had a face like milk and blood,
and was such a miracle of beauty that you
could devour her with your eyes, she was
so lovely, And the king said to her, ‘My
daughter, thou knowest the proclamation I



THE FLEA 37

have issued, and thou knowest who I am ;
in short, I cannot go back from my promise.
My word is given; I must keep it, though
my heart should break. Who could ever
have imagined that this prize would have
fallen to an ogre? But since not a leaf
shakes without the will of Heaven, we must
believe that this marriage has been made
first there above, and then here below.
Have patience then, and if thou art a good
and dutiful girl do not oppose thy father, for
my heart tells me that thou wilt be happy,
since treasures are often found inside a
rough earthen jar.’

When Porziella heard this sad resolution,
her eyes grew dim, her face turned yellow,
her lips fell, her legs trembled, and she was
on the point of letting fly the falcon of her
soul after the quail of gricf. At last, burst-
ing into tears, she said to her father, ‘What
crime have I committed that I should be
punished thus? How have I acted ill to-
ward you, that I should be given up to
this monster? O wretched Porziella, behold
you are running like a weasel into the toad’s
throat of your own accord! like an unfortu-
nate sheep you are the prey of a ravenous
wolf! Is this, O father, the affection you
bear your own blood? is this the love you
show to her whom you used to call the joy
of your soul? do you thus tear from your
heart her who is a part. of your blood ?



38 THE PENTAMERONE

do you drive from your sight her who is
the apple of your eye? O father, O cruel
father! you surely are not born of human
flesh; the sea-orks gave you blood, the
wild-cats suckled you. But why do I talk
of beasts of the land and sea? for every
animal loves its young; you alone loathe
and hate your own offspring, you alone
hold your daughter in abhorrence. Oh,
better had it been if my mother had
strangled me at my birth, if my cradle had
been my deathbed, my swaddling-clothes a
halter, and the whistle they tied round my
neck a millstone; since I have lived to see
this evil day, to see myself caressed by the
hand of a harpy, embraced by two bear’s
paws, and kissed by two boar’s tusks.’
Porziella was going on to say more, when
the king in a furious rage exclaimed, ‘ Stay
your anger, fair and softly, for appearances
deceive ! stop, stop; hold your tongue, you
ill-mannered chatterbox! what I do is well
done. Is it for a girl to teach her father
forsooth ? have done, I say, for if I lay
these hands upon you, I’ll not leave a whole
bone in your skin, and will make you bite
the dust. Prithee how long has a child, with
the milk still upon her lips, dared to oppose
my will? Quick then, I say! take his
hand, and set off with him home this very
instant ; for I will not have that saucy,
impudent face a minute longer in my sight.’



THE FLEA 39

Poor Porziella, seeing herself thus caught
in the net, with the face of a person con-
demned to death, with the eye of one
possessed, with the mouth of one who has
taken an emetic, with the heart of a person
whose head is lying between the axe and
the block, took the hand of the ogre, who
dragged her off, without any one accom-
panying them, to a wood, where the trees
made a palace for the meadow, to prevent
its being discovered by the sun, and the
brooks murmured at having knocked against
the stones in the dark, whilst the wild beasts
wandered where they liked without paying
toll, and went safely through the thicket,
whither no man ever came unless he had lost
his way. Upon this spot, which was as
black as an unswept chimney, and hideous
as the face of hell, stood the ogre’s house,
ornamented and hung all round with the
bones of men whom he had devoured.
Think but for a moment, good Christians,
on the trembling, the quivering, the horror
and. affright which the poor girl endured !
depend upon it there did not remain a drop
of blood in her body.

But all this was nothing at all in com-
parison with what was to come. The ogre
went out to hunt, and returned home laden
with the quarters of men whom he had
killed, saying, ‘Now, wife, you cannot com-
plain that I don’t take good care of you;



40 THE PENTAMERONE

here’s a fine store of eatables for you; take
and make merry, and love me well, for the
sky will fall before I let you want for food.’

Poor Porziella was sick at this horrible
sight, and turned her face away. But when
the ogre saw this, he cried, ‘Ha! this is
throwing sweatmeats before swine: no
matter, however; only have patience till
to-morrow morning; for I have been in-
vited to a wild-boar hunt, and will bring
you home a couple of boars, and we’ll make
a grand feast with our kinsfolk, and celebrate
our wedding.’ So saying, away he went
into the forest.

Now as Porziella stood weeping at the
window, it chanced that an old woman
passed by, who, being famished by hunger,
begged some refreshment of her. ‘Ah, my
good woman!’ said Porziella, ‘Heaven
knows I am in the power of a devil, who
brings me home nothing but quarters and
pieces of men he has killed ; indeed I know
not how it is that I have the stomach even
to look upon such odious things. I pass
the most miserable life that ever a Christian
soul led; and yet I am the daughter of a
king, and have been reared on dainties,
and passed my life in plenty.? And so
saying, she began to cry.

The old woman’s heart was softened at
this sight, and she said to Porziella, ‘Be of
good heart, my pretty girl; do not spoil



THE FLEA 41

your beauty with crying, for you have fallen
in with luck; I can help you. Listen now.
I have seven sons, who, you see, are seven
oaks, seven giants, Mase, Nardo, Cola,
Micco, Petrullo, Ascaddeo, and Ceccone,—
who have more virtues than rosemary,
especially Mase ; for every time he lays his
ear to the ground, he hears all that is
passing within thirty miles around: Nardo,
every time he spits, makes a great sea of
soap-suds: every time that Cola throws a
bit of iron on the ground, he makes a field
of sharp razors: Micco, every time he flings
down a little stick, makes a tangled wood
spring up: Petrullo, whenever he throws
on the ground a drop of water, makes a
terrific river : Ascaddeo, every time he flings
a stone, causes a strong tower to spring up:
and Ceccone shoots so straight with a cross-
bow, that he can hit a hen’s eye a mile off.
Now, with the help of my sons, who are all
courteous and friendly, and who will all
take compassion on your condition, I will
contrive to free you from the claws of the
ogre ; for such a delicate morsel is not food
for the huge throat of this monster.’

‘No time is better than now,’ replied
Porziella ; ‘for that evil shadow of a hus-
_band of mine is gone out, and will not
return this evening, and we shall have time
to slip off and run away,’

‘It cannot be this evening,’ replied the



42 THE PENTAMERONE

old woman, ‘for I live a long way off; but
I promise you that to-morrow morning I
and my sons will all come together and
help you out of your trouble,’

So saying the old woman departed, and
Porziella went to rest with a light heart,
and slept soundly all night. But as soon
as the birds began to cry, ‘Long live the
Sun!’ lo and behold there was the old
woman with her seven sons; and placing
Porziella in the midst of them, they pro-
ceeded towards the city. But they had not
gone above: half a mile when Mase put his
ear to the ground, and cried, ‘ Hallo, have
a care! here’s the fox! The ogre is come
home, and not finding his wife, he is hasten-
ing after us with his cap under his arm.’

No sooner did Nardo hear this, than he
spat upon the ground, and made a sea of
soap; and when the ogre came, and saw
all the suds, he ran home, and fetching a
sack of bran, he strewed it about, and
worked away, treading it down with his
feet, until at last he got over this obstacle,
though with great difficulty.

But Mase put his ear once more to the
ground, and exclaimed, ‘Look sharp, com-
rade! here he comes!’ Thereupon Cola
flung the piece of iron on the ground, and
instantly a field of razors sprung up. When
the ogre saw the path stopped, he ran
home again, and clad himself in iron from







THE FLEA 43

head to foot, and then returned, and got
over this peril.

Then Mase, again putting his ear to the
ground, cried, ‘Up, up, to arms! to arms!
for see here is the ogre coming at such a
rate that he is actually flying.’ But Micco
was ready with his little stick, and in an
instant he caused a terrible wood to rise
up, so thick that it was quite impenetrable.
When the ogre came to this difficult pass,
he laid hold of a Carrara knife that he wore
at his side, and began to fell the poplars
and oaks right and left, to tumble down the
pine-trees and cornel-trees ; insomuch that
with four or five strokes he laid the whole
forest on the ground, and got clear out of
the maze.

Presently Mase, who kept his ears on
the alert like a hare, again raised his voice
and cried, ‘Now we must be off, for the
ogre has put on wings, and see here he is
at our heels!’ As soon as Petrullo heard
this, he took a sip of water from a little
fountain that was spurting out of a stone
basin, squirted it.on the ground, and in the
twinkling of an eye a large river rose up on
the spot. When the ogre saw this new
obstacle, and that he could not make holes
as fast as they found bungs to stop them,
he stripped himself stark naked, and swam
across to the other side of the river with
his clothes upon his head.





44 THE PENTAMERONE

Mase, who put his ear to every chink, heard
the ogre coming, and exclaimed, ‘Alas!
matters go ill with us now; I already hear
the clatter of the ogre’s heels: Heaven help
us! So let us be upon our guard, and pre-
pare to meet this storm, or else we are done
for,’

‘ Never fear,’ said Ascaddeo, ‘1 will soon
settle this ugly ragamuffin.’ So saying
he flung a pebble on the ground, and in-
Stantly up rose a tower, in which they all
took refuge without delay and barred the
door. But when the ogre came up, and
saw that they had betaken themselves to a
place of safety, he ran home, got a vine-
dresser’s ladder, and hied with it on his
shoulder back to the tower.

Now Mase, who kept his ears hanging
down, heard at a distance the approach of
the ogre, and cried, ‘We are now at the
butt-end of the candle of hope! Ceccone is
our last resource, for the ogre is coming
back in a terrible fury. Alas, how my
heart beats, for I foresee an evil day !?

‘You coward !’ answered Ceccone ; ‘trust
to me, and I will hit him with a ball.’

As Ceccone was speaking, the ogre came,
planted his ladder, and began to climb up ;
but Ceccone, taking aim at him, shot out
one of his eyes, and laid him at full length
on the ground, like a pear dropped from the
tree: then he went out of the tower, and cut



THE FLEA 45

off the ogre’s head with the big knife he
carried about him, just as if it had been
new-made cheese, Thereupon they took
the head with great joy to the king, who re-
joiced at recovering his daughter, for he had
repented a hundred times having given her
to an ogre. And not many days after, the
king procured a handsome husband for
Porziella, and he heaped riches on the seven
sons and their mother, who had delivered
his daughter from such a wretched life.
Nor did he omit to call himself a thousand
times to blame for his conduct to Porziella,
and having out of mere caprice exposed
her to such peril, without thinking what an
error he commits who goes looking for wolf’s
eggs.

The auditors looked like statues, as they
sat listening to the story of the Flea, and
they declared one and all that King Stupid
was an ass, to put in peril the welfare of his
own flesh and blood, and the inheritance of
his kingdom, for just nothing at all. When
they had all shut their mouths again, Anto-
nella opened hers and began the following
story.

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THE ENCHANTED DOE

REAT is doubtless the power of
friendship, which makes us bear
toils and perils willingly to serve
a friend. We value our wealth

as a trifle, honour as nothing at all, life as a

straw, when we can give them for a friend’s

sake; fables teach us this, history is full of
instances of it, and I will give you an
example which my grandmother Semmonella

—miay she be in glory !—used to relate to

me. So open your ears and shut your

mouths, and hear what I shall tell you.



There was once a certain king named
Giannone, who, desiring greatly to have
children, had prayers continually made to
the gods that they would grant his wish:
and in order to incline them the more to
give him this gratification, he was so charit-
able to beggars and pilgrims that he shared



THE ENCHANTED DOR 47

with them all he possessed. But seeing at
last that matters were protracted, and there
was no end to putting his hand into his
pocket, he bolted his door fast, and shot with
a cross-bow at whoever came near.

Now it happened that at this time a long-
bearded Capuchin was passing that way,
and not knowing that the king had turned
over a new leaf, or perhaps knowing it and
wishing to make him change his mind again,
he went to Giannone and begged for enter-
tainment in his house, But, with a fierce
look and a terrible growl, the king said to
him, ‘If you have no other candle than this,
you may go to bed in the dark. The
time is gone by; I am no longer a fool.’
And when the old man asked what was the
cause of this change, the king replied, ‘From
my desire to have children, I have spent and
have lent to all who came and all who went,
and have squandered away all my wealth.
At last, seeing that the beard was gone, I
stopped and laid aside the razor,’

‘If that be all,’ replied the old man, ‘you
may set your mind at rest, for I promise that
your wish shall be forthwith fulfilled, on pain
of losing my ears.’

‘Be it so, said the king, ‘and I pledge
my word that I will give you one half of my
kingdom.’ And the man answered, ‘ Listen
now to me,—if you wish to hit the mark,
you have only to get the heart of a sea-



48 THE PENTAMERONE

dragon, and have it dressed by a young
maiden. And as soon as the heart is
dressed, give it to the queen to eat, and
you'll see that what I say will speedily come
to pass.’

‘If that be the case,’ replied the king,
‘I must this very moment get the dragon’s
heart.’

So he sent a hundred fishermen out, and
they got ready all kinds of fishing-tackle,
drag-nets, casting-nets, seine-nets, bow-nets,
and fishing-lines; and they tacked and
turned, and cruised in all directions, until at
last they caught a dragon; then they took
out its heart and brought it to the king, who
gave it toa handsome young lady to dress.

When the heart was dressed, and the queen
had tasted it, in a few days she and the young
lady both had a son, so like the one to the
other that nobody could tell which was which.
And the boys grew up together in such love
for one another that they could not be parted
for a moment; and their attachment was so
great that the queen began to be jealous at
seeing her son testify more affection for the
son of one of her servants than he did for
herself, and she knew not in what way to
remove this thorn from her eyes.

Now one day the prince wished to go
a-hunting with his companion; so he had a
fire lighted in the fireplace in his chamber,
and began to melt lead to make balls; and



THE ENCHANTED DOE 49

being in want of I know not what, he went
himself to look for it. Meanwhile the queen
came in to see what her son was about, and
finding nobody there but Canneloro, the son
of the maiden, she thought to put him out
of the world. So stooping down she flung
the hot bullet-mould at his face, which hit
him over the brow and gave him an ugly
wound, She was just going to repeat the
blow, when her son Fonzo came in; so pre-
tending that she was only come to see how
he was, after giving him a few trifling caresses
she went away.

Canneloro, pulling his hat down on his
forehead, said nothing of his wound to
Fonzo, but stood quite quiet, though he was
burning with the pain. And as soon as
they had done making balls, he requested
leave of the prince to go out, Fonzo, all in
amazement at this new resolution, asked
him the reason; but he replied, ‘Inquire
no more, my dear Fonzo ; let it suffice that
I am obliged to go away, and Heaven knows
that in parting with you, who are my heart,
the soul is ready to leave my bosom, but
since it cannot be otherwise, farewell, and
keep me in remembrance !’

Then, after embracing one another and
shedding many tears, Canneloro went to
his own room, where taking a suit of
armour and a magic sword, he armed him-
self from top to toe; and having taken a



50 THE PENTAMERONE

horse out of the stable, he was just putting
his foot into the stirrup when Fonzo came
weeping and said, that since he was
resolved to abandon him, he should at least
leave him some token of his love, to dimin-
ish his anguish for his absence. There-
upon Canneloro laid hold on his dagger
and stuck it into the ground, and instantly
a fine fountain rose up. Then said he to
the prince, ‘This is the best memorial I
can leave you; for by the flowing of this
fountain you will know the course of my
life; if you see it run clear, know that my
life will likewise be clear and tranquil ; if
you see it turbid, think that I am passing
through troubles; and if you find it dry
(which Heaven forbid!) depend on it that
the oil of my lamp is all consumed, and I
have paid the toll that belongs to Nature.’

So saying he took his sword, and sticking
it into the ground, he made a plant of
myrtle spring up, saying to the prince,
‘As long as you see this myrtle green,
know that I am green as a leek ; if you see
it wither, think that my fortunes are not the
best in the world; but if it becomes quite
dried up, you may say a requiem for your
Canneloro.’

So saying, after embracing one another
again, Canneloro set out on his travels ;
and journeying on and on, after various
adventures which would be too long to



THE ENCHANTED DOE 5r

recount,—such as quarrels with vetturini,
disputes with landlords, murderous attacks
by toll-gatherers, perils of bad roads,
encounters with robbers,—he at length
arrived at Long-Trellis, just at the time when
they were holding a most splendid tourna-
ment, the hand of the king’s daughter being
promised to the victor. Here Canneloro
presented himself, and bore him so bravely
that he overthrew all the knights who were
come from divers parts to gain a name for
themselves. Whereupon Fenicia, the king’s
daughter, was given to him to wife, and a
great feast was made.

When Canneloro had been there some
months in peace and quiet, an unhappy
fancy came into his head for going to the
chase. Then he told it to the king, who
said to him, ‘Take care of your legs, my
son-in-law ; do not be blinded by the evil
one ; be wise and open your eyes, sir! for in
these woods there is the devil’s own ogre,
who changes his form every day, one time
appearing like a wolf, at another like a lion,
now like a stag, now like an ass, now like
one thing and now like another; and by a
thousand stratagems he decoys those who
are so unfortunate as to meet him, into a
cave, where he devours them. So, my son,
do not put your safety in peril, or you will
leave your rags there.’

Canneloro, who did not know what fear



52 THE PENTAMERONE

was, paid no heed to the advice of his
father-in-law ; and as soon as the Sun with
the broom of his rays had cleared away the
soot of the Night, he set out for the chase;
and on his way he came to a wood, where,
beneath the awning of the leaves, the
Shades had assembled to maintain their
sway, and to make a conspiracy against the
Sun. The ogre, seeing him coming, turned
himself into a handsome doe, which as soon
as Canneloro perceived he began to give
chase to her; then the doe doubled and
turned, and led him about hither and thither
at such a rate, that at last she brought him
into the very heart of the wood, where she
made such a tremendous snowstorm arise
that it looked as if the sky was going
to fall. Canneloro, finding himself in front
of the ogre’s cave, went into it to seek
shelter ; and being benumbed with the cold,
he took some sticks which he found within
it, and pulling his steel out of his pocket he
kindled a large fire. As he was standing.
by it to dry his clothes, the doe came to the
mouth of the cave and said, ‘Sir Knight,
pray give me leave to warm myself a little
while, for I am shivering with the cold,’
Canneloro, who was of a kind disposition,
said to her, ‘Draw near, and welcome.’
‘I would gladly,’ replied the doe, ‘but
that I am afraid you would kill me.’
‘ Fear nothing,’ answered Canneloro ; ‘come,



THE ENCHANTED DOE 53

trust to my word.’ ‘If you wish me to
enter,’ rejoined the doe, ‘tie up those dogs,
that they may not hurt me, and tie up your
horse that he may not kick me.’

So Canneloro tied up his dogs and
fettered his horse, and the doe said, ‘I am
now half assured, but unless you bind fast
your sword, by the soul of my grandsire I
will not go in!’ Then Canneloro, who
wished to become friends with the doe,
bound his sword, as a countryman does his
when he carries it in the city, for fear of the
constables. As soon as the ogre saw
Canneloro defenceless, he took his own form,
and laying hold on him, flung him intoa pit
that was at the bottom of the cave, and
covered it up with a stone, to keep him to eat.

But Fonzo, who morning and evening
visited the myrtle and the fountain, to learn
news of the fate of Canneloro, finding the
one withered and the other troubled, in-
stantly thought that his friend was passing
through some misfortunes; and being de-
sirous of giving him succour, he mounted
his horse without asking leave of his father
or mother, and arming himself well, and tak-
ing two enchanted dogs, he went rambling
through the world; and he roamed and
rambled here and there and everywhere,
until at last he came to Long-Trellis, which
he found all in mourning for the supposed
death of Canneloro. And scarcely was he



54 THE PENTAMERONE

come to the court, when every one, thinking
it was Canneloro from the likeness he bore
him, hastened to tell Fenicia the good news,
who ran tumbling down the stairs, and em-
bracing Fonzo exclaimed, ‘My husband!
my heart! where have you been all this -
time ??

Fonzo immediately perceived that Canne-
loro had come to this country, and had left
it again; so he resolved to examine the
matter adroitly, to learn from the princess’s
discourse where he might be found; and
hearing her say that he had put himself in
such great danger by that accursed hunting,
especially if that cruel ogre should meet
him, he at once concluded that his friend
must be there.

The next morning, as soon as the Sun
had gone forth to give the gilded pills to the
Sky, he jumped out of bed, and neither the
prayers of Fenicia nor the commands of the
king could keep him back, but he would go
to the chase. So mounting his horse, he
went with the enchanted dogs to the wood,
where the same thing befell him that had
befallen Canneloro; and entering the cave,
he saw Canneloro’s arms and dogs and
horse fast bound, by which he became cer-
tain that his friend had there fallen into a
snare. Then the doe told him in like man-
ner to tie his arms, dogs, and horse ; but he
instantly set them upon her, and they tore



THE ENCHANTED DOE 55

her to pieces. And as he was looking
about for some other traces of his friend, he
heard his voice down in the pit; so lifting
up the stone he drew out Canneloro, with
all the others whom the ogre had buried
alive to fatten. Then embracing each other
with great joy, the two friends went home,
where Fenicia, seeing them so much alike,
did not know which to choose for her hus-
band ; but when Canneloro took off his cap,
she saw the wound, and recognised and em-
braced him. And after staying there a
month, taking his amusement, Fonzo wished
to return to his own country, and to go back
to his nest; and Canneloro wrote by him to
his mother, bidding her come and partake
of his greatness, which she did, and from
that time forward he never would hear
either of dogs or of hunting, recollecting the

saying,

Unhappy is he who corrects himself at his own cost.















PARSLEY

O great is my desire to keep the
Princess amused, that the whole
of the past night, when all were
sound asleep and nobody stirred

hand or foot, I have done nothing but turn
over the old papers of my brain, and ran-
sack all the closets of my memory, choosing
from among the stories which that good
soul my uncle’s grandmother (whom Heaven
take to glory !) used to tell, such as seemed
most fitting to relate to you; and unless I
have put on my spectacles upside down, I
fancy they will give you pleasure ; or, should
they not serve, as armed squadrons, to drive
away tedium from your mind, they will at
least be as trumpets to incite my companions
here to go forth to the field, with greater
power than my poor strength possesses, to
supply by the abundance of their wit the
deficiencies of my discourse.





PARSLEY 57

There was once upon a time a woman
named Pascadozzia. As she was standing
one day at a window, which looked into the
garden of an ogress, she saw a beautiful bed
of parsley, for which she took such a long-
ing that she was on the point of fainting
away ; and being unable to resist her desire,
she watched until the ogress went out, and
then plucked a handful of it. But when the
ogress came home, and was going to cook
her pottage, she found that some one had
been at the parsley, and said, ‘Ill luck to
me but I’ll catch this long-fingered rogue,
and make him repent it, and teach him to
his cost that every one should eat off his
own platter, and not meddle with other
folks’ cups’

The poor woman went again and again
down into the garden, until one morning the
ogress met her, and in a furious rage ex-
claimed, ‘Have I caught you at last, you
thief, you rogue? Prithee do you pay the
rent of the garden, that you come in this
impudent way and steal my plants? By my
faith, but I’ll make you do penance !’

Poor Pascadozzia, in a terrible fright, be-
gan to make excuses, saying that neither
from gluttony nor the craving of hunger had
she been tempted by the devil to commit
this fault, but fear she had lest the child
should be born with a crop of parsley on its
face; and she added that the ogress ought



58 THE PENTAMERONE

rather to thank her, for not having given
her sore eyes.

‘Words are but wind,’ answered the
ogress ; ‘I am not to be caught with such
prattle ; you have closed the balance-sheet
of life, unless you promise to give me the
child you bring forth, girl or boy, whichever
it may be.’

Poor Pascadozzia, in order to escape the
peril in which she found herself, swore with
one hand upon another to keep the promise :
so the ogress ‘let her go free. But when
her time was come, Pascadozzia gave birth
to a little girl, so beautiful that she was a
joy to look upon, who, from having a fine
sprig of parsley on her bosom, was named
Parsley. And the little girl grew from day
to day, until when she was seven years old
her mother sent her to school; and every
time she went along the street and met the
ogress, the old woman said to her, ‘Tell
your mother to remember her promise.’
And she went on repeating this message
so often, that the poor mother, having no
longer patience to listen to the same tale,
said one day to Parsley, ‘If you meet the
old woman as usual, and she reminds you
of the hateful promise, answer her, “ Take
it ! 2?

When Parsley, who dreamt of no ill, met
the ogress again, and heard her repeat the
same words, she answered innocently as







PARSLEY 59

her mother had told her; whereupon the
ogress, seizing her by her hair, carried her
off to a wood, which the Sun never entered.
Then she put the poor girl into a tower,
which she caused to arise by her art, and
which had neither gate nor ladder, but only
a little window, through which she ascended
and descended by means of Parsley’s hair,
which was very long, as the sailor is used
to run up and down the mast of a ship.
Now it happened one day, when the
ogress had left the tower, that Parsley put
her head out of the little window, and let
loose her tresses in the sun; and the son
of a prince passing by saw these two golden
banners, which invited all souls to enlist
under the standard of Love; and beholding
with amazement in the midst of those
gleaming waves a siren’s face, that en-
chanted all hearts, he fell desperately in
love with such wonderful beauty ; and send-
ing her a memorial of sighs, she decreed to
receive him into favour. Matters went on
so well with the prince, that there was
soon a nodding of heads and kissing of
hands, thanks and offerings, hopes and
promises, soft words and compliments.
And when this had continued for several
days, Parsley and the prince became so
intimate that they made an appointment to
meet, and agreed that it should be at night,
and that Parsley should give the ogress



60 THE PENTAMERONE

some poppy-juice, and draw up the prince
with her tresses. So when the appointed
hour came, the prince went to the tower,
where Parsley, letting fall her hair at a
given signal, he seized it with both his
hands, and cried, ‘Draw up!’ And when
he was drawn up, he crept through the
little window into the chamber.

The next morning early, the prince de-
scended by the same golden ladder, to go
his way home. And having repeated these
visits many times, a gossip of the ogress,
who was for ever prying into things that
did not concern her, and poking her nose
into every corner, got to find out the secret,
and told the ogress to be upon the look-out,
for that Parsley was courted by a youth,
The ogress thanked the gossip for the
information, and said she would take good
care to stop up the road ; and as to Parsley,
it was impossible for her to escape, as she
had laid a spell upon her, so that, unless she
had in her hand the three gallnuts which
were in a rafter in the kitchen, it would
be labour lost to attempt to get away.

Whilst they were talking thus together,
Parsley, who stood with her ears wide open,
and had some suspicion of the gossip, over-
heard all that passed. And when Night
had spread out her black garments, and the
prince had come as usual, she made him
climb on to the rafters and find the gall-



PARSLEY 61

nuts, knowing well what effect they would
have, as she had been enchanted by the
ogress. Then, having made a rope-ladder,
they both descended to the ground, took
to their heels, and scampered off towards
the city. But the gossip happening to see
them come out, set up a loud halloo, and
began to shout and make such a noise that
the ogress awoke; and seeing that Parsley
had fled, she descended by the same ladder,
which was fastened to the window, and set
off running after the lovers, who, when they
saw her coming at their heels faster than
a horse let loose, gave themselves up for
lost. But Parsley, recollecting the gallnuts,
quickly threw one on the ground, and lo!
instantly a Corsican bulldog started up,—a
terrible beast !—which with open jaws and
barking loud flew at the ogress as if to
swallow her at a mouthful. But the old
woman, who was more cunning and spiteful
than the devil, put her hand into her pocket,
and pulling out a piece of bread, gave it to
the dog, which made him hang his tail and
allay his fury. Then she turned to run
after the fugitives again ; but Parsley, seeing
her approach, threw the second gallnut on
the ground, and lo! a fierce lion arose,
who, lashing the earth with his tail, and
shaking his mane, and opening wide his
Jaws a yard apart, was just preparing to
make a slaughter of the ogress ; when,



62 THE PENTAMERONE

turning quickly back, she stripped the skin
off an ass that was grazing in the middle
_of a meadow, and ran at the lion, who,
fancying it a real jackass, was so frightened
that he bounded away as fast as he could.

The ogress, having leaped over this
second ditch, turned again to pursue the
poor lovers, who, hearing the clatter of her
heels and seeing the cloud of dust that
rose up to the sky, conjectured that she
was coming again, But the old woman,
who was every moment in dread lest the
lion should pursue her, had not taken off
the ass’s skin; and when Parsley now threw
down the third gallnut, there sprang up a
wolf, who, without giving the ogress time
to play any new trick, gobbled her up just
as she was, in the shape of a jackass. So
the lovers, being now freed from danger,
went their way leisurely and quietly to the
kingdom of the prince, where, with his
father’s free consent, he took Parsley to
wife; and thus, after all these storms of
fate, they experienced the truth, that

One hour in port, the sailor freed from fears
Forgets the tempests of a hundred years.

Zeza’s story was listened to with such
delight to the end, that, had it even con-
tinued for an hour longer, the time would
have appeared only a moment. But it now
being Cecca’s turn, she began as follows.





THE THREE SISTERS

T is a great truth, if we make the
saying good, that from the same
wood are formed the statues of
idols and the rafters of the

gallows, kings’ thrones and cobblers’ stalls ;

and another strange thing is, that from the
same rags are made the paper on which the
wisdom of sages is recorded, and the crown
which is placed on the head of a fool,—
a thing that would puzzle the cleverest
astrologer in the world. The same too
may be said of a mother, who brings forth
one good daughter and another bad, one
an idle hussy, another a good housewife ;
one fair, another ugly ; one spiteful, another
kind; one unfortunate, another born to
good luck,—who, all being of one family,
ought to be of one nature, But leaving this
subject to those who know more about it,
I will merely give you an example of what





64 THE PENTAMERONE

I have said, in the story of three daughters
of one and the same mother, wherein you
will see the difference of manners, which
brought the wicked daughters into a ditch,
and the good daughter to the top of the
wheel of fortune,

There was one time a woman who had
three daughters, two of whom were so
unlucky that nothing ever succeeded with
them; all their projects went wrong, all
their hopes were turned to chaff. But the
youngest, who was named Nella, was born
to good luck, and I verily believe that at
her birth all things conspired to bestow on
her the best and choicest gifts in their
power; the Sky gave her the perfection of
its light, Venus a matchless beauty of form,
Love the first dart of his power, Nature the
flower of manners. She never set about
any work, that it did not go off to a nicety ;
she never took anything in hand, that it
did not succeed to a hair; she never stood
up to dance, that she did not sit down with
applause. On which account she was
envied by her jealous sisters, and yet not
so much as she was loved and wished well
to by all others; and greatly as her sisters
desired to put her underground, still much
more did other folks carry her on the palms
of their hands,

Now there was in that country an en-



THE THREE SISTERS 65

chanted prince, who sailed along the sea
of her beauty, and flung out the hook of
amorous servitude to this beautiful goldfish,
until at length he caught her by the gills
of affection and made her his own. And
in order that they might enjoy one another’s
company without exciting the suspicion of
the mother, who was a wicked woman, the
prince made a crystal passage, which led
from the royal palace directly into Nella’s
apartment, although it was eight miles
distant; and giving her a certain powder,
he said, ‘Every time you wish to feed me,
like a sparrow, with a sight of your charm-
ing beauty, throw a little of this powder
into the fire, and instantly I will come
through the passage as quick as a bird,
running along a crystal road to gaze upon
this face of silver.’

Having arranged it thus, not a night
passed that the prince did not go in and out,
backwards and forwards, along the crystal
passage ; until at last the sisters, who were
spying the actions of Nella, found out the
secret, and laid a plan to put a stop to the
sport. And in order to cut the thread at
once, they went and broke the passage here
and there; so that when the unhappy girl
threw the powder into the fire, to give the
signal to her lover, the prince, who used al-
ways to come running in furious haste, hurt
himself in such a manner against the broken

F



66 THE PENTAMERONE

crystal that he was truly a pitiable sight to
see, And being unable to pass farther on,
he turned back, all cut and slashed. Then
he laid himself in his bed, and sent for all
the doctors in the town; but as the crystal
was enchanted, the wounds were mortal,
and no human remedy availed. When the
king saw this, despairing of his son’s condi-
tion, he sent out a proclamation, that whoever
would cure the wounds of the prince,—if a
woman, she should have him for her husband,
— if a man, he should have half his kingdom.

Now when Nella, who was pining away
for the loss of the prince, heard this, she
dyed her face, and disguised herself, and
unknown to her sisters she left home, to go
and see him before his death. But as by
this time the Sun’s gilded balls, with which
he plays in the fields of Heaven, were run-
ning towards the west, night overtook her in
a wood, close to the house of an ogre, where,
in order to get out of the way of danger,
she climbed up into a tree. Meanwhile the
ogre and his wife were sitting at table, with
the windows open, in order to enjoy the
fresh air while they ate; and as soon as
they had emptied their cups, and put out
the lamps, they began to chat of one thing
and another; so that Nella, who was as
near to them as the mouth to the nose,
heard every word they spoke.

Among other things, the ogress said to



BSE Geass



ee



THE THREE SISTERS 67

her husband, ‘ My pretty Hairy-hide, tell me,
what news? what do they say abroad in
the world?’ And he answered, ‘Trust me
there’s not a hand’s-breadth clean ; every-
thing is going topsy-turvy and awry.’
‘But what is it?’ replied his wife. ‘Why,
I could tell pretty stories of all the confu-
sion that is going on,’ said the ogre; ‘for
one hears things that are enough to drive
one mad, such as buffoons rewarded with
gifts, rogues esteemed, cowards honoured,
robbers and assassins protected, and honest
men little thought of and less prized. But
as these things are enough to make one
burst with vexation, I will merely tell you
what has befallen the king’s son. He had
made a crystal path, along which he used to
go to visit a pretty lass ; but by some means
or other, I know not how, all the road has
been broken; and as he was going along
the passage as usual he wounded him-
self in such a manner, that before he can
stop the leak the whole conduit of his life
will run out. The king has indeed issued
a proclamation, with great promises to who-
ever cures his son; but it is all labour lost,
and the best thing he can do is quickly to get
ready mourning and prepare the funeral.’
When Nella heard the cause of the
prince’s illness, she sobbed and wept bitterly,
and said to herself, ‘Who is the wicked soul
that has broken the passage along which



68 THE -PENTAMERONE

my painted bird used to pass?’ But as the
ogress now went on speaking, Nella was as
silent as a mouse and listened.

‘And is it possible,’ said the ogress, ‘that
the world is lost to this poor prince, and
that no remedy can be found for his
malady? Bid physic then creep into the
oven—bid the doctors put a halter round
their necks and return the money to their
pupils, since they cannot find any effectual
recipe to restore health to the prince.’

‘Hark ye, Granny,’ replied the ogre, ‘the
doctors are not called upon to find remedies
that may pass the bounds of nature. This
is no common colic that an oil-bath might
remove; it is not a boil to be cured with
fig-poultices, nor a fever that will yield to
medicine and diet ; much less are these or-
dinary wounds which require pledgets of
lint and oil of hypericon; for the charm
that was on the broken glass produces the
same effect as onion-juice does on the iron
heads of arrows, which makes the wound
incurable. There is one thing only that
could save his life ; but don’t ask me to tell
it you, for it is a thing of importance.’ ‘Do
tell me, dear old Long-tusk!’ cried the
ogress; ‘tell me, if you would not see me
die.’ ‘Well then,’ said the ogre, ‘1 will tell
you, provided you promise me not to confide
it to any living soul; for it would be the
ruin of our house and the destruction of our



THE THREE SISTERS 69

lives” ‘Fear nothing, my dear sweet little
husband,’ replied the ogress ; ‘for you shall
sooner see pigs with horns, apes with tails,
moles with eyes, than a single word shall
pass my lips.’ And so saying she put one
hand upon the other and swore to it. ‘You
must know then,’ said the ogre, ‘that there
is nothing under the sky nor above the
ground that can save the prince from the
snares of death but our fat: if his wounds
are anointed with this, his soul will be
arrested which is just on the point of leaving
the dwelling of his body.’

Nella, who overheard all that passed, gave
time to Time, to let them finish their chat ;
and then getting down from the tree, and
taking heart, she knocked at the ogre’s door,
crying, ‘Ah! my good ogrish masters, I
pray you for charity, alms, some sign of com-
passion ! have alittle pity on a poor, miserable,
wretched creature, who is banished by fate
far from her own country and deprived of all
human aid, who has been overtaken by
night in this wood and is dying of cold and
hunger.’ And crying thus, she went on
knocking and knocking at the door.

Upon hearing this deafening noise, the
ogress was going to throw her half a loaf
and send her away ; but the ogre, who was
more greedy of Christian flesh than the
squirrel is of nuts, the bear of honey, the cat
of fish, the sheep of salt, or the ass of bran,



7O THE PENTAMERONE

said to his wife, ‘ Let the poor creature come
in; for if she sleeps in the fields, who knows
but she may be eaten up by some wolf.’ In
short he talked and talked so much that his
wife at length opened the door for Nella;
whilst, with all his pretended charity, he was
all the time reckoning on making four mouth-
fuls of her. But the glutton counts one way
and the host another; for the ogre and his
wife having drunk till they were fairly tipsy
and lain down to sleep, Nella took a knife
from a cupboard and made a hash of them
in a trice; then she put all the fat into a
phial, and went straight to the court, where
presenting herself before the king she offered
to cure the prince. At this the king was
overjoyed, and led her to the chamber of
his son; and no sooner had she anointed
him well with the fat than the wounds closed
in a moment, just as if she had thrown water
on a fire; and he became as sound as a fish.

When the king saw this, he said to his
son, ‘This good woman deserves the reward
promised by the proclamation,—that you
should take her to wife” But the prince
replied, ‘It is hopeless, for I have no store-
room full of hearts in my body to share
among so many; my heart is already
disposed of, and another woman is the
mistress of it.’ Nella, hearing this, replied,
‘You should no longer think of her who
has been the cause of all your misfortune.’



THE THREE SISTERS 71

‘My misfortune has been brought on me by
her sisters,’ answered the prince, ‘and they
shall repent it’ ‘Then do you really love
her?’ said Nella: and the prince replied,
‘More than my own life’ ‘Embrace me
then,’ said Nella, ‘for I am the fire of your
heart.’ But the prince, seeing the dark hie
of her face, answered, ‘I should sooner take
you for the coal than the fire ; so keep off—
don’t blacken me.’ Whereupon Nella, per-
ceiving that he did not know her, called for
a basin of clean water and washed her face :
and as soon as the cloud of soot was removed,
the sun shone forth; and the prince re-
cognising her, pressed her to his heart, and
took her for his wife. Then he had her
sisters thrown into an oven, that like leeches
they might discharge in the ashes their
blood, that was corrupted by envy, thus
proving the truth of the old saying,

No evil ever went without punishment.

This story went to the hearts of all who
heard it, and they praised the prince a
thousand times for his conduct to Nella’s
sisters, while they lauded to the stars the
deep love of the maiden, who had with such
pains cured the prince’s wounds. But
Taddeo, making a sign for all to be silent,
now commanded. Meneca to do her part, and
she consequently paid the debt in the :
following manner.

















VIOLET

NVY is a wind which blows with
such violence that it throws down
the props of the reputation of
good men, and levels with the
ground the crops of good fortune. But very
often, as a punishment from Heaven, when
this envious blast seems as if it would cast
a person flat on the ground, it aids him
instead to attain the happiness he is expect-
ing sooner even than he hoped ; as you will
hear in the story which I shall now tell you,




There was once upon a time a good kind
of man named Cola Aniello, who had three
daughters, Rose, Pink, and Violet; the last
of whom was so beautiful that her very
look was a syrup of love, which relieved
the hearts of beholders of all uneasiness.
Ciullone, the king’s son, was burning with
love of her, and every time he passed by



VIOLET 73

the little cottage where these three sisters
sat at work, he took off his cap and said,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ and she
replied, ‘Good day, king’s son! I know more
than you.’ At these words her sisters
grumbled and murmured, saying, ‘You are
an ill-bred creature, and will make the prince
inafinerage!’ Butas Violet paid no heed
to what they said, they made a spiteful
complaint of her to their father, telling him
that she was too bold and forward, and that
she answered the prince without any respect,
as if she were just as good as he, and that
some day or other she would get into trouble,
and suffer the just punishment of her
offence. So Cola Aniello, who was a prudent
man, in order to prevent any mischief,
sent Violet to stay with an aunt named
Cuccepannella, to be set to work.

Now the prince, when he passed by the
house as usual, no longer seeing the object
of his love, was for some days like a night-
ingale that does not find her young ones in
the nest, and goes from leaf to leaf wailing
and lamenting her loss ; but he put his ear
so often to the chink, that at last he dis-
covered where Violet lived. Then he went
to the aunt, and said to her, ‘Madam, you
know who I am, and what power I have ‘
so, between ourselves, do me a favour, and
then ask me for whatever you wish. ‘If
I can do anything to serve you,’ replied the



74 THE PENTAMERONE

old woman, ‘I am entirely at your command.’
‘I ask nothing of you,’ said the prince, ‘but
to let me give Violet a kiss.’ ‘If that’s all,’
answered the old woman, ‘go and hide
yourself in the room downstairs in the
garden, and I will find some pretence or
another for sending Violet to you.’

As soon as the prince heard this, he stole
into the room without loss of time, and the
old woman, pretending that she wanted to
cut a piece of cloth, said to her niece,
Violet, if you love me, go down and fetch
me the yard-measure.’ So Violet went, as
her aunt bade her; but when she came to
the room, she perceived the ambush, and
taking the yard-measure she slipped out of
the room as nimbly as a cat, leaving the
prince bursting with vexation.

When the old woman saw Violet come
running so fast, she suspected that the trick
had not succeeded ; so presently after she
said to the girl, ‘Go downstairs, niece, and
fetch me the ball of Brescian thread that is
on the top shelf in the cupboard.’ So
Violet ran, and taking the thread slipped
like an eel out of the hands of the prince.
But after a little while the old woman said
again, ‘Violet, my dear, if you do not go
downstairs and fetch me the scissors, I am
totally undone.’ Then Violet went down
again, but she sprang as vigorously as a
dog out of the trap; and when she came



VIOLET 75

upstairs, she took the scissors and cut off
one of her aunt’s ears, saying, ‘Take that,
madam, as a reward for your pains—every
deed deserves its meed; and if I don’t cut
off your nose, it is only that you may smell
the bad odour of your reputation.’ So say-
ing she went away home with a hop, skip,
and jump, leaving her aunt eased.of her ear,
and the prince full of Let-me-alone.

Not long afterwards the prince again
passed by the house of Violet’s father, and
seeing her at the window where she was
used to stand, he began to his old tune,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ whereupon
she answered as quickly as a good parish-
clerk, ‘Good day, king’s son! I know more
than you.’ But Violet’s sisters could no
longer bear this behaviour, and they plotted
together how to get rid of her. Now one of
the windows looked into the garden of an
ogre ; so they proposed to drive the poor girl
away through this; and letting fall from it
a skein of thread, with which they were
working a door-curtain for the queen, they
cried, ‘Alas, alas! we are ruined and un-
done, and shall not be able to finish the
work in time, if Violet, who is the smallest
and lightest of us, does not let herself down
by a cord and pick up the thread that has
fallen.’

Violet could not bear to see her sisters
grieving thus, and instantly offered to go



76 THE PENTAMERONE

down ; so tying a cord to her, they lowered
her into the garden ; but no sooner did she
reach the ground, than they let go the rope.
It happened that just at that time the ogre
caine out to take a look at his garden, and
having caught cold from the dampness of
the ground, he gave such a tremendous
sneeze, with such a noise and explosion,
that Violet screamed out with terror, ‘Oh,
mother, help me!’ Thereupon the ogre
turned round, and seeing the beautiful
maiden behind him, he received her with
the greatest Kindness and affection ; and
treating her as his own daughter, he gave
her in charge of three fairies, bidding them
take care of her, and rear her up on
cherries.

The prince, no longer seeing Violet, and
hearing no news of her, good or bad, fell
into such grief, that his eyes became swollen,
his face grew pale as ashes, his lips livid,
and he neither ate a morsel to get flesh on
his body, nor slept a wink to get any rest
to his mind. But trying all possible means,
and offering large rewards, he went about
spying and inquiring everywhere, until at
last he discovered where Violet was. Then
he sent for the ogre, and told him that,
finding himself ill (as he might see was the
case), he begged of him permission to spend
a single day and night in his garden,
adding that a small chamber would suffice



VIOLET 77

for him to repose in. Now, as the ogre
was a subject of the prince’s father, he could
not refuse him this trifling pleasure ; so he
offered him all the rooms in his house,
if one was not enough, and his very life
itself. The prince thanked him, and chose
a room which by good luck was near to
Violet’s ; and as soon as night came, the
prince, finding that Violet had left her door
open, as it was summer-time and the place
was safe, stole softly into the room, and
taking Violet’s arm gave her two pinches.
Thereupon she awoke, and exclaimed, «O
father, father, what a quantity of fleas !?
Then she went to another bed, and the
prince did the same again, and Violet cried
out in the same way; then she changed
first the mattress, and afterwards the sheet,
and so the sport went on the whole night
long, until the dawn.

As soon as it was day, the prince passing
by that house, and seeing the maiden at
the door, said, as he was wont to do,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ and when
Violet replied, ‘Good day, king’s son! I
know more than you,’ the prince answered,
*O father, father, what a quantity of fleas !?

The instant Violet felt this shot, she
guessed at once that the prince had been
the cause of her annoyance in the past
night; so off she ran and told it to the
fairies. ‘If it be he,’ said the fairies,



78 THE PENTAMERONE

‘we will soon give him tit for tat and as
good in return; and if this dog has bitten
you, we will contrive to get a hair from
him: he has given you one, and-we will
give him back one and a half, Only get
the ogre to make you a pair of slippers
covered with little bells, and leave the rest
to us: we will take care to pay him in good
coin,’

Violet, who was eager to be revenged,
instantly got the ogre to make the slippers
for her ; and waiting until night had fallen,
they went all four together to the house of
the prince, where the fairies and Violet hid
themselves in the chamber. And as soon
as ever the prince had closed his eyes, the
fairies made a great noise and racket, and
Violet began to stamp with her feet at such
a rate that, what with the clatter of her
heels and the jingling of the bells, the prince
awoke in great terror and cried out, *O
mother, mother, help me!’ And_ after
repeating this two or three times, they
slipped away home.

The next morning the prince, having
taken some citron-juice and other cordials
to relieve his fear, went to take a walk in
the garden ; for he could not live a moment
without the sight of Violet, And seeing her
standing at the door, he said, ‘Good day,
good day, Violet!’ and Violet answered,
‘Good day, king’s son! I know more than



Full Text



win

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os
fas)



CHILD p
ey.



LIBRARY










THE

PENTAMERONE

OR

THE STORY OF STORIES

BY

GIAMBATTISTA BASILE

TRANSLATED FROM THE NEAPOLITAN BY

JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR

NEW EDITION REVISED AND EDITED
BY HELEN ZIMMERN

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK

NEW YORK

CASSELL PUBLISHING COMPANY
104 & 106 FOURTH AVENUE
1893








PREFACE

N the seventeenth century there ,



lived and wrote at Naples
a man named Gian Battista
Basile, concerning whom little
that is certain is known except that he
travelled much throughout the length and
breadth of Italy, and that his sister was a
celebrated singer in her day, to whom
Milton was introduced when at Rome, and
whose daughter’s charms the great poet
has celebrated in three of his Latin epigrams,
and in an Italian canzone. Basile was
himself a poet. From his pen there exists
a great epic poem, whose hero is Charles V.,
and a collection of sonnets and songs,
vi THE PENTAMERONE

The dust lies thick on these volumes,
written in the extravagant and affected style
of his century; none reads them, and none
would remember them had not Basile also
a more solid claim to fame, in the fact that
he was also the author, or more probably
the compiler-author, of the Pentamerone,
though doubtless in his day it was little
thought either by himself or his readers
that this, the work of his declining years,
would constitute his only claim to remem-
brance. The Pentamerone is a collection
of fifty fairy tales written in the N eapolitan
dialect, which have become since their
appearance the veritable storehouse, the
inexhaustible mine from which all other
authors of fairy tales have drawn their
stories, notably the Frenchman, Charles
Perrault, as well as Madame d’Aulnoy.
The work was planned after the method of
Boccaccio’s Decamerone, and hence its title,
since it consists not of a hundred but of
fifty stories. They are supposed to be told
by ten persons in the course of five days,
each day ending with a play or a song. As
PREFACE vil

in the Decamerone, these are written in
verse while the rest of the tales are told in
prose,

There is perhaps no more difficult dialect
in all Italy than the Neapolitan, which
contains a large admixture of Spanish,
Greek, and Arabic words, so that even
Italians born can neither read it nor under-
stand it when spoken, Translators of
Basile’s work into the current speech of
Italy therefore soon appeared, but the gross
licentious language, the impropriety inter-
mingled with but too many of the tales,
rendered them unfit for youthful readers,
notwithstanding that Basile had placed as a
second title on his frontispiece the words,
Amusement for the Little Ones. A German
eighteenth-century savant of the name of
Fernow first drew general European atten-
tion to the work, which was afterwards trans-
lated by another German, Felix Liebrecht,
to which book the learned student of Folk-
lore, Dr, Jacob Grimm, affixed a weighty
preface.

At the very same moment that Liebrecht
vill THE PENTAMERONE

was thus engaged in making these tales
accessible to readers outside Italy, an
Englishman was occupied in the same
task. He was no less a person than J. E.
Taylor, a member of that great literary
family to whom English readers are in-
debted for their first introduction to the
treasure-house of German literature in the
days when the knowledge of the German
tongue was rare indeed among Englishmen,
and they were wholly dependent on trans-
lations for an acquaintance with foreign
authors. Mr. Taylor, deterred by the
grossness of the language and contents,
which made some of the stories quite in-
admissible for English readers, translated
thirty of the fifty, and even so he saw
himself obliged to omit many objectionable
portions, since the book was intended for
the general reader, and not like Liebrecht’s
for students only. But even so Mr. Taylor’s
volume as it stands is unadapted for young
readers of the present day, and I have
therefore been obliged to revise many pages,

omitting offensive words and expressions
PREFACE ix

and adapting the stories to juvenile ears.
Wherever such an adaptation has been
_ made I have followed the version prepared

for Italian children by G. L. Ferri, which is
considered as a classic in its own country,
and is the version always put into children’s
hands. In all other respects I have left
Mr. Taylor’s language untouched, The
original designs made for the volume by
George Cruikshank have been here re-
produced. They felicitously render the
grotesque, wildly fanciful character of the
tales. Much ingenious research has been
brought to bear on the point as to whether
Basile was the author or merely the collector
of these stories, and learned criticism has
waxed hot and furious. This is not of
a character likely to appeal to juvenile
readers who ask to be amused and nothing
more. Suffice it for them to say that
Basile probably found the germs of many
of these tales extant in the folk-lore, the
oral traditions of his native province, and
that many of them he may have heard

during his visit to Crete, from which island
X THE PENTAMERONE

Boccaccio is said to have derived the
material for many of his stories. That they
present analogies with other popular tales
of fiction is evident, but even so they have
a flavour all their own. Owing to the
eminently Meridional and Neapolitan char-
acter Basile has impressed upon them, by his
language and his imagery, they partake of
Neapolitan raciness, sportive drollery, and
Southern wealth of invention, modes of

thought, and turns of speech.

HELEN ZIMMERN.
Pee *
es Cet B
= (PRE XOX.

SS

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
PERUONTO.
VARDIELLO

THE FLEA.

THE ENCHANTED Dor
PARSLEY . .
THE THREE SISTERS
VIOLET ‘
GAGLIUSO .

THE SERPENT

Tur SHE-BEAR

Ture Dovre

Tur Boosy



PAGE

102
112

128
xli THE PENTAMERONE
PAGE

Tue STONE IN THE CocK’s HEAD . 138
THE Two CAKES. : F . 147
THE SEVEN DovEs : d ae 157
THE GOLDEN ROOT ‘ 3 . 176
NENNILLO AND NENNELLA : . 190
THE THREE CITRONS . : . 199

CONCLUSION f : . » 216
PARR CID) Cera Nee









LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

MINECCO ANIELLO BEFORE Kinc NIBBLER

Frontispiece
PERUONTO é . Facing page 16
VARDIELLO . : ; = 28
PORZIELLA AND THE OGRE. i 42
PARSLEY : : : ts 58
Tur THREE SISTERS £ 5 66
THE SHE-BEAR : ; ae 108
THE Boosy . i ; 7 136
THE GEESE SINGING TO THE
Kinc or Cuarunzo ; at 152
MARZIELLA FEEDING THE GEESE 33 154
THE SEVEN Doves . AR 170
THE GOLDEN Root . : 7 186

NENNILLO AND NENNELLA , ‘ 196





INTRODUCTION

T is an old saying, that he who
seeks what he should not, finds
what he would not; and every
one has heard of the ape, who,
in trying to pull on the boots, was caught
by the foot. And it happened in like
manner to a wretched slave, who, though
she never had shoes to. her feet, wanted to
wear a crown on her head. But as the
straight road is the best, and, sooner or
later a day comes which settles all accounts,
at last, having by evil means usurped what
belonged to another, she fell to the ground ;
and the higher she had mounted, the greater
was her fall, as you will presently see.

Once upon a time, the king of Woody
Valley had a daughter named Zoza, who,
like another Zoroaster or Heraclitus, was
never seen to laugh. The unhappy father,
who had no other comfort in life but this
B



2 THE PENTAMERONE

only daughter, left nothing untried to drive
away her melancholy. Accordingly he
sent for folks who walk on stilts, for fellows
who jump through hoops, for boxers, for
jugglers who perform sleight-of-hand tricks,
for men as strong as Hercules, for dancing
dogs, for leaping clowns, for the jackass
that drinks out of a tumbler,—and in short
he tried “first one thing and then another
to make her laugh. But all was time lost,
for nothing brought a smile upon her lips,

So at length the poor father, to make a
last trial, and not knowing what else to do,
ordered a large fountain of oil to be made
in front of the palace gates; thinking to
himself, that when the oil ran down the
street, along which the people passed to
and fro like a troop of ants, they would be
obliged, in order not to soil their clothes,
to skip like grasshoppers, leap like goats,
and run like hares; while one would go
picking and choosing his way, and another
go creeping along close to the wall. In
short, he hoped that something might come
to pass that would make his daughter
laugh.

So the fountain was made; and as Zoza
was one day standing at the window, grave
and demure, and looking as sour as vinegar,
there came by chance an old woman, who,
soaking up the oil with a sponge, began to
fill a little pitcher which she had brought
INTRODUCTION 3

with her. And as she was labouring hard
at this ingenious device, a pert young page
of the court, passing by, threw a stone so
exactly to a hair, that it hit the pitcher and
broke it in pieces, Whereupon the old
woman turned to the page full of wrath,
and exclaimed, ‘Ah! you impertinent young
dog, you mule, you spindle-legs, ill luck to
you! may you be hung -with a rope’s-end,
and your blood be not spilt—may a thou-
sand ills befall you, and something more to
boot, you thief, you knave !’

The lad, who had little beard and less
discretion, hearing this string of abuse,
repaid the old woman in the same coin,
saying, ‘Have you done, you devil’s grand-
mother, you old hag!’

When the old woman heard these com-
pliments, she flew into such a rage that she
acted like a madwoman, cutting capers in
the air and grinning like an ape. At this
strange spectacle, Zoza burst into such a
fit of laughter that she well-nigh fainted
away. But when the old woman saw her-
self played this trick, she flew into a passion,
and turning a fierce look on Zoza, she ex-
claimed,’ ‘May you never have the least
little bit of a husband, unless you take the
Prince of Roundfield.’

Upon hearing this, Zoza ordered the old
woman to be called, and desired to know
whether in her words she had laid on her a
4 THE PENTAMERONE

curse, or had only meant to insult her. And
the old woman answered, ‘ Know then, that
the prince whom I spoke of is a most hand-
some creature, and is named Taddeo, who,
by the wicked spell of a fairy, having given
the last touch to the picture of life, has
been placed in a tomb outside the walls of
the city; and there is an inscription upon
a stone, saying, that whatever woman shall
in three days fill with her tears a pitcher
which hangs there upon a hook, will bring
the prince to life again, and shall take him
for a husband. But as it is impossible for
two human eyes to weep so much as to fill
a pitcher that would hold half a barrel, un-
less it were those of Egeria, who, as I’ve
heard say, was turned into a fountain of
tears at Rome, I have wished you this
wish, in return for your scoffing and jeering
at me; and I pray Heaven that it may
come to pass, to avenge the wrong you
have done me,’ So saying she scudded
down the stairs, for fear of a beating.

Zoza pondered over the words of the
old woman, and after ruminating and turn-
ing over a hundred thoughts in her mind,
until her head was like a mill full of doubts,
she was at last struck by a dart of the
passion which blinds the judgment and puts
a spell upon the reason of man; and taking
with her a handful of dollars from her
father’s coffers, she left the palace, and
INTRODUCTION 5

walked on and on, until she arrived at the
castle of a fairy, to whom she unburdened
her heart. The fairy, out of pity for such
a fair young girl, who had two spurs to
make her fall—little help, and plenty of
love for an unknown object—gave her a
letter of recommendation to a sister of hers,
who was also a fairy. And this second
fairy received her likewise with great kind-
ness; and on the following morning, when
Night commands the birds to proclaim,
that whoever has seen a flock of black
shadows gone astray shall be well rewarded,
she gave her a beautiful walnut, saying,
‘Take this, my dear daughter, and keep it
carefully ; but never open it except in time
of the greatest need.’ And so saying, she
in like manner gave her a letter commend-
ing her to another sister.

After journeying a long way, Zoza arrived
at the fairy’s castle, and was received with
the same affection as before. And the
next morning this fairy likewise gave her
a letter to another sister, together with a
chestnut ; but at the same time cautioning
her as before,

After travelling on for some time, Zoza
came to the castle of the fairy, who showered
on her a thousand caresses. The next
morning, at her departure, the fairy gave
her a filbert, cautioning her in like manner
never to open it, unless the greatest
6 THE PENTAMERONE

necessity obliged her. Then Zoza set out
upon her journey, and travelled so far, and
passed so many forests and rivers, that at
the end of seven years, just at the time of
day when the Sun, awakened by the crow-
ing of the cocks, has saddled his steeds to
run his accustomed stages, she arrived
almost lame at Roundfield.

There, at the entrance to the city, she
saw a marble tomb, at the foot of a foun-
tain, which was weeping tears of crystal at
seeing itself shut up in a porphyry prison.
And lifting up the pitcher, which hung over
it, she placed it in her lap, and began to
weep into it, and imitating the fountain to
make two little fountains of her eyes. And
thus she continued without ever raising her
head from the mouth of the pitcher; until,
at the end of two days, it was full within
two inches of the top. But being wearied
with so much weeping, she was unawares
overtaken by sleep, and was obliged to
rest for an hour or two under the canopy of
her eyelids.

Meanwhile a certain Slave, with the legs
of a grasshopper, came, as she was wont,
to that fountain to fill her water-cask. Now
she knew the meaning of the inscription,
which was talked of everywhere; and when
she saw Zoza weeping so incessantly, and
making two little streams from her eyes,
she was always watching and spying until
INTRODUCTION 7

the pitcher should be full enough for her to
add the last drops to fill it, and thus to
leave Zoza cheated of her hopes. Now
therefore, seeing Zoza asleep, she seized the
opportunity, and dexterously removing the
pitcher from under Zoza, and placing her
own eyes over it, she filled it in four seconds.
But hardly was it full, when the Prince
arose from the white marble shrine, as if
awakened from a deep sleep, and embraced
that mass of black flesh; and carrying her
straightway to his palace, feasts and mar-
vellous illuminations were made, and he
took her for his wife.

When Zoza awoke, and saw the pitcher
gone, and her hopes with it, and the shrine
open, her heart grew so heavy that she was
on the point of unpacking the bales of her
soul at the custom-house of Death. But at
last, seeing that there was no help for her
misfortune, and that she could blame only
her own eyes, which had watched so ill, she
went her way, step by step, into the city.
And when she heard of the feasts which the
Prince had made, and the dainty creature
he had taken to wife, she instantly conceived
how all this mischief had come to pass; and
said to herself, sighing, ‘Alas, two dark
things have brought me to the ground—
sleep and a black slave.’ Then, in order to
try all means possible to avert death, against
whom every living being defends itself with
8 THE PENTAMERONE

all in its power, she took a handsome house
facing the palace of the Prince ; from whence,
although she could not see the idol of her
heart, she viewed at least the walls of the
temple wherein the treasure she sighed for
was enclosed,

But Taddeo, who was constantly flying
like a bat around that black night of a Slave,
chanced to perceive Zoza, and he became
an eagle, to gaze fixedly at her person, the
casket of the graces of Nature, and the ze
plus ultra of the bounds of Beauty. When
the Slave perceived this, she was beside
herself with rage; and threatened her
husband, that if he did not instantly leave
the window, her child should not be born
alive.

Taddeo, who was anxiously expecting the
birth of the child, trembled like a reed at
offending his wife, and tore himself away,
like a soul from the body, from the sight of
Zoza ; who, seeing this little balm for the
sickness of her hopes taken from her, knew
not what to do in her extreme need. But
recollecting the gifts which the fairies had
given her, she opened the walnut, and out
of it hopped a little dwarf, like a doll, the
most graceful toy that ever was seen in the
world. Then, seating himself upon the
window, the dwarf began to sing with such
a trill, and gurgling, that he surpassed all
the most famous singers.
INTRODUCTION 9

The Slave, when she saw and heard this,
was so enraptured, that, calling Taddeo, she
said, ‘Bring me the little fellow who is singing
yonder, or the child shall not be born alive.’
So the Prince, who allowed the ugly woman
to rule him, sent instantly to Zoza, to ask
if she would sell the little dwarf. Zoza
answered that she was not a merchant, but
that he was welcome to it as a gift. So
Taddeo accepted the offer; for he was
anxious to keep his wife in good humour,
Four days after this Zoza opened the chest-
nut, when out came a hen with twelve little
chickens, all of pure gold. And being placed
on the same window, the Slave saw them,
and took a vast fancy to them; then calling
Taddeo, she showed him the beautiful sight,
and said, ‘Get me the hen and chickens,
or depend upon it the child shall not be
born alive.’ So Taddeo, who let himself
be caught in the net, and become the sport
of the ugly creature, sent again to Zoza,
offering her any price she might ask for the
beautiful hen. But Zoza gave the same
answer as before, that he might have it as
a gift, but that as for selling, it was only a
loss of time. Taddeo therefore, who could
do no otherwise, made necessity kick at
discretion ; and taking the beautiful present,
he was obliged to confess himself outdone
by the liberality of woman.

But after four days more Zoza opened
10 THE PENTAMERONE

the hazel-nut, and forth came a doll, which
spun gold,—a sight indeed to amaze one.
And as soon as it was placed at the
same window, the Slave saw it, and calling
to Taddeo, said, ‘Bring me the doll, or I
promise you the child shall not be born
alive’ Taddeo, who let his proud hussy
of a wife toss him about like a shuttle, and
lead him by the nose, had nevertheless not
the heart to send to Zoza for the doll, but
resolved to go himself, recollecting the
saying, ‘No messenger is better than your-
self’; and, ‘If a man wants a thing, let him -
go for it,—if he does not want it, let him
send’; and, ‘Let him who would eat a fish
take it by the tail.’ So he went and be-
sought Zoza to pardon his impertinence, on
account of the caprices of his wife; and
Zoza, who was in ecstasies at beholding the
cause of her sorrow, put a constraint upon
herself, so as to let him entreat her the
longer, and to keep in her sight the object
of her love, who was stolen from her by an
ugly slave. At length she gave him the
doll, as she had done the other things ; but
before placing it in his hands she prayed
the little doll to put a desire into the heart
of the Slave to hear stories told her. And
when Taddeo saw the doll in his hand,
without his paying a single carlino, he was
so filled with amazement at such courtesy,
that he offered his kingdom and his life in
INTRODUCTION Ir

exchange for the gift. Then, returning to
the palace, he gave the doll to his wife, who
had no sooner placed it in her bosom, to
play with it, than it seemed to be Love in
the form of Ascanius in Dido’s bosom, who
shot a dart into her breast; for instantly
such a longing seized her to hear stories
told, that, being unable to resist, she called
her husband, and said, ‘Bid some story-
tellers come and tell me stories, or I pro-
mise you the child shall not be born alive.’
Taddeo ordered a proclamation instantly
to be made, that all the women of the land
should come on an appointed day. And on
that day, at the hour when the star of Venus
appears, who awakes the Dawn, to strew the
road along which the Sun has to pass, the
ladies were all assembled at the appointed
place. “But Taddeo, not wishing to detain
such a rabble for the mere amusement of his
wife, and being moreover suffocated by the
crowd, chose ten only of the best of the city,
who appeared to him most capable and
eloquent. These were, Bushy-haired Zeza,
bandy-legged Cecca, wen-necked Meneca,
long-nosed Tolla, humpbacked Popa, bearded
Antonella, dumpy Ciulla, blear-eyed Paola,
bald- pated Ciommetella, and square-shoul-
dered Jacova. These he wrote down on a
sheet of paper, and then, dismissing the
others, he arose with the Slave from under
the canopy, and they went gently gently to
12 THE PENTAMERONE

the garden of the palace, where the leafy
branches were so closely interlaced, that the
Sun could not separate them with all the
industry of his rays. And seating them-
selves under a pavilion, formed by a trellis
of vines, in the middle of which ran a great
fountain, Taddeo thus began :

‘There is nothing in the world more
glorious, my gentle dames, than to listen to
the deeds of others; nor was it without
reason that the great philosopher placed
the highest happiness of man in listening
to pretty stories; since, in hearing pleas-
ing things told, griefs vanish, troublesome
thoughts are put to flight, and life is length-
ened. And for this reason you see the
artisans leave the workshops, the merchants
their counting-houses, the lawyers their
causes, the shopkeepers their business, and
all repair with open mouth to the barbers’
shops and the groups of chatterers, to listen
to stories, fictions, and gazettes in the air.
I cannot therefore but pardon my wife, who
has gotten this strange fancy into her head
of hearing stories told; and so, if you will
please to satisfy the whim of my princess,
and comply with my wishes, you will, during
these four or five days until the birth takes
place, each of you relate daily one of those
tales which old women are wont to tell for the
amusement of the little ones. And you will
come regularly to this spot, where, after a
INTRODUCTION 13

good repast, you shall begin to tell stories,
so as to pass life pleasantly, and sorrow to
him that dies!’

At these words, all present bowed assent
to the commands of Taddeo, And the tables
being meanwhile set out, and the feast spread,
they sat down to eat; and when they had
done eating, the Prince made a sign that the
story-telling should begin.






PERUONTO

GOOD deed is never lost: he
who sows courtesy reaps benefit,
and he who plants kindness
gathers love. Pleasure be-

stowed upon a grateful mind was never

sterile, but generates gratitude, and begets
reward, Instances of this occur continually
in the actions of men, and you will see an ex-
ample of it in the story which I will tell you.



-A good woman at Casoria, named
Ceccarella, had a son called Peruonto, who
was the most hideous figure, the greatest
fool and the most doltish idiot that Nature
had ever created, So that the heart of his
unhappy mother was blacker than a dish-
clout, and a thousand times a day did she
bestow a hearty curse on all who had a
hand in bringing into the world such a
blockhead, who was not worth a dog’s mess.
PERUONTO Is

For the poor woman might scream at him
till she burst her throat, and yet the moon-
calf would not stir to do the slightest hand’s
turn for her.

At last, after a thousand dinnings at his
brain, and a thousand splittings of his head,
and a thousand ‘I tell you’ and ‘I told
you,’ bawling to-day and yelling to-morrow,
she got him to go to the wood for a faggot,
saying, ‘Come now, it is time for us to get
a morsel to eat; so run off for some sticks,
and don’t forget yourself on the way, but
come back as quick as you can, and we will
boil ourselves some cabbage, to keep the
life in us.’

Away went Peruonto, the blockhead, and
he went just like one that was going to the
gallows: away he went, and he moved as if
treading on eggs, with the gait of a jackdaw,
and counting his steps, going fair and softly,
at a snail’s, gallop, and making all sorts of
zigzags and circumbendibuses on_ his way
to the wood. And when he reached the
middle of a plain, through which a river
ran, growling and murmuring at the want of
manners in the stones that were stopping
his way, he met three youths, who had
made themselves a bed of the grass, and
a pillow of a flint stone, and were lying dead
asleep under the blaze of the Sun, who was
shooting his rays down point blank. When
Peruonto saw these poor creatures, who
16 THE PENTAMERONE

were made a fountain of water in the midst
of a furnace of fire, he felt pity for them, and
cutting some branches of an oak he made
a handsome arbour over them. Meanwhile
the youths, who were the sons of a fairy,
awoke, and seeing the kindness and courtesy
of Peruonto, they gave him a charm, that
everything he asked for should be done.
Peruonto, having performed this good
action, went his ways towards the wood,
where he made up such an enormous
faggot that it would have required an
engine to drag it; and seeing that it was all
nonsense for him to think of carrying it on
his back, he got astride on it, and cried,
‘Oh what a lucky fellow I should be if this
faggot would carry me riding a-horseback !?
And the word was hardly out of his mouth,
when the faggot began to trot and to gallop
like a good horse; and when it came in
front of the king’s palace, it pranced and
capered and curveted in a way that would
amaze you. The ladies, who were standing
at one of the windows, on seeing such a
wonderful sight, ran to call Vastolla, the
daughter of the king, who, going to the
window and observing the caracoles of a
faggot and the bounds of a bundle of wood,
burst out a-laughing—a thing which, owing
to a natural melancholy, she never re-
membered to have done before. Peruonto
raised his head, and seeing that it was at

PERUONTO 17

him they were laughing, exclaimed, ‘O
Vastolla, may you never know peace till
you have married me whom now you de-
ride,’ and so saying, he struck his heels into
the flanks of his faggot, and in a dashing
faggoty gallop he was at home before many
minutes, with such a train of little boys.at
his heels, bawling and shouting after him,
that if his mother had not been quick to shut
the door, they would have killed him with
rotten fruit and vegetables.

Vastolla from that day began to be tor-
mented with the thought of marrying Peru-
onto, and when the King proposed that she
should wed the son of the Emperor of
Trebisonde, she replied that she would marry
no one else but that countryman whom she
had seen passing one day before her palace
astride on a faggot of wood. The father of
Vastolla, angered by this refusal, called to-
gether his councillors, and said he was
determined to punish the Princess; but the
councillors decreed that, before he took such
severe measures, it would be well to know
who was the countryman of whom the
Princess was enamoured. The King was
satisfied with this counsel, and wrote out a
decree ordering a great banquet to be pre-
pared, and inviting every nobleman and
every man of rank to come into the city,
proposing that when they had done feasting,
he should place them all ina row and let

Cc
18 THE PENTAMERONE

them pass before Vastolla, hoping that she
would select from among them the man
who had taken possession of her heart.
They came, but of not one of them would
Vastolla take any notice, so the King was
angered, and stamped with his feet upon the
ground and swore he would punish his
daughter.

But the councillors said to him, ‘ Softly,
softly, your Majesty! quiet your wrath. Let
us make another banquet to-morrow, not for
people of condition, but for the lower sort ;
maybe, as a woman always attaches herself
to the worst, we shall find among the cutlers,
and bead-makers, and comb-sellers, the root
of your angér, which we have not discovered
among the cavaliers.’

This reasoning jumped with the humour
of the King, and he ordered a second banquet
to be prepared ; to which, on proclamation
being made, came all the riffraff and tag-
rag-and-bobtail of the city, such as rogues,
scavengers, tinkers, pedlars, penny-boys,
sweeps, beggars, and such-like rabble, who
were all in high glee; and taking their seats,
like noblemen, at a great long table, they
began to feast and gobble away.

Now when Ceccarella heard this pro-
clamation, she began to urge Peruonto to go
there too, until at last she got him to set
out for the feast. And scarcely had he
arrived there and begun to eat with the
PERUONTO 19

others, than the King’s daughter, not think-
ing of what she did, exclatmed, ‘That is
he!’

When the king heard this he tore his
beard, seeing that the prize in this lottery
‘had fallen to anugly boor. Heaving a deep
sigh, he said,-‘ What can that jade of a
daughter of mine have seen to make her
take a fancy to this sea-ogre? Ah, vile,
false creature, what metamorphosis is this?
But why do we delay? let her suffer the
punishment she deserves: let her undergo
the penalty that shall be decreed by you;
and take her from my presence, for I cannot
endure the sight of her.’

Then the councillors consulted’ together,
and they resolved that she and the male-
factor should be shut up in a cask, and
thrown into the sea; so that, without the
King’s dipping his hands in his own blood,
they might put a full stop to the sentence of
their lives. No sooner was the judgment
pronounced, than the cask was brought, and
the couple were put into it; but before they
coopered it up, some of Vastolla’s ladies,
crying and sobbing as if their hearts would
break, put into it also a little basket of
raisins and .dried figs, that she might have
wherewithal to live on for some little time.
And when the cask was closed up, it was
carried and flung into the open sea, along
which it went floating as the wind drove it.
20 THE PENTAMERONE

Meanwhile Vastolla, weeping and making
two rivers of her eyes, said to Peruonto,
‘What a sad misfortune is this of ours,
to have the cradle of Bacchus for our
coffin! Oh, if I but knew who has played
me this trick, to have me caged in this
dungeon! Alas, alas! to find myself in
this plight without knowing how. Tell me,
tell me, O cruel man, what incantation was
it you made, and what wand did you
employ, to bring me within the circle of
this cask?’ Peruonto, who had been for
some time lending her an indifferent ear, at’
last said, ‘If you want me to tell you, you
must give me some figs and raisins.’ So
Vastolla, to draw the secret out of him,
gave him a handful of both ; and as soon as
he had his gullet full, he told her accurately
all that had befallen him with the three
youths, and then with the faggot, and then
with herself at the window ; which when the
poor lady heard, she took heart, and said to
Peruonto, ‘ Brother of mine, shall we then
let our lives run out ina cask? Why don’t
you cause this tub to be changed into a fine
ship, and run into some good harbour to
escape this danger?’ And _ Peruonto
replied :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

So Vastolla, to make him open his throat,
PERUONTO ar

instantly filled his throat with the figs and
raisins. And lo! as soon as Peruonto had
said what she desired, the cask was turned
into a ship, with all the rigging necessary
for sailing, and with all the sailors required
for working the vessel. There you might
see one pulling at a sheet, another mending
the rigging, one taking the helm, another
setting the sails, another mounting to the
round-top, one crying ‘Larboard!’ and
another ‘Starboard!’ one sounding a
trumpet, another firing the guns, one doing
one thing and one another ; so that Vastolla
was swimming in a sea of delight.

It being now the hour when the Moon
begins to play at see-saw with the Sun,
Vastolla said to Peruonto: ‘My fine lad,
now make this ship be changed into a
beautiful palace, for we shall then be more
secure: you know the saying, Praise the
sea, but keep to the land” And Peruonto
replied :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

So Vastolla instantly repeated the opera-
tion ; and Peruonto, swallowing them down,
asked what was her pleasure; and immedi-
ately the ship came to land, and was
changed into a beautiful palace, fitted up
in a most complete manner, and so full of
furniture, and curtains, and hangings, that
22 THE PENTAMERONE

there was nothing left to desire. So that
Vastolla, who a little before would have
given her life for a farthing, would not now
change places with the greatest lady in the
world, seeing herself served and treated like
a queen. Then, to put the seal to all her
good fortune, she besought Peruonto to
obtain grace to become handsome and
polished in his manners, that they might
live happy together. And Peruonto replied
as before :

If you would have me say the spell,
With figs and raisins stuff me well.

Then Vastolla quickly removed the
stoppage of his speech; and scarcely had
he spoken the word, when he was changed
from an owl into a nightingale, from an ogre
into a Narcissus, from a scarecrow into a
dapper little doll. Vastolla, seeing such a
transformation, clasped him in her arms,
and was almost beside herself with joy.

Meantime the King, who from the day
that he had pronounced this cruel sentence
knew no peace, was one day for amusement
brought out to hunt by his courtiers. Night
overtook them, and seeing a light in the
window of that palace, he sent a servant to
inquire if they would entertain him ; and he
was answered, that he might not merely
break a glass but even smash a jug there.
So the King went to the palace; and up
PERUONTO 23

the staircase, and through the chambers,
without seeing a living being. Surprised
and astonished, he stood like one that was
enchanted ; then sat down to rest himself
at a table. To his amazement he saw in-
visibly spread on it a Flanders tablecloth,
with dishes full of roast meats, and viands
of various kinds; so that he feasted in truth
like a king: and all the while he sat at
‘table, a concert of lutes and tambourines
never ceased,—such delicious music that it
went to the very tips of his fingers and toes.
When he had done eating, a bed suddenly
appeared, all made of gold; and having his
boots taken off, he went to rest, and all his
courtiers did the same, after having feasted
heartily at a hundred tables, which were laid
out in the other rooms.

When morning came, and the King was
about to depart, he wished to know who
were his hosts. Then Vastolla made her
appearance with her husband, and casting
herself at his feet, she asked his pardon, and
related to him her whole story. The King,
seeing that he had found a son-in-law who
was a fay, embraced first one and then the
other, and carried them with him to the city.
Then he made a great feast, that lasted for
many days, on account of this good luck,
solemnly confessing to his whole court that

Man proposes,
But God disposes.
24 THE PENTAMERONE

When Meneca had ended her story, which
was considered beautiful from the number of
curious adventures, which kept the attention
of the hearers awake to the very end, Tolla,
at the command of the Prince, began the
following story.




VARDIELLO



F Nature had given to animals the
necessity of clothing themselves,
and of buying their food, the
race of quadrupeds would in-
evitably be destroyed. Therefore it is that
they find their food without trouble,—with-
out gardener to gather it, purchaser to buy
it, cook to prepare it, or carver to cut it up;
whilst their skin defends them from the
rain and snow, without the merchant giving
them cloth, the tailor making the dress, or
the errand-boy begging for a drink-penny.
To man, however, who has _ intelligence,
Nature did not care to grant these in-
dulgences, since he is able to procure for
himself what he wants. This is the reason
that we commonly see clever men poor,
and blockheads rich; as you may gather
from the story which I am going to tell
you.



26 THE PENTAMERONE

Grannonia of Aprano was a woman of
great sense and judgment, but she had a son
named Vardiello, who was the greatest booby
and simpleton in the whole country round
about. Nevertheless, as a mother’s eyes
are bewitched and see what does not exist,
she doted upon him so much, that she was
for ever caressing and fondling him as if he
were the handsomest creature in the world,

Now Grannonia kept a brood-hen, that
was sitting upon a nest of eggs, in which
she placed all her hope, expecting to have
a fine brood of chickens, and to make a
good profit off them. And having one day
to go out on some business, she called her
son, and said to him, ‘My pretty son of
your own mother, listen to what I say;
keep your eye upon the hen, and if she
should get up to scratch and pick, look
sharp and drive her back to the nest; for
otherwise the eggs will grow cold, and then
we shall have neither eggs nor chickens.’

‘Leave it to me,’ replied Vardiello, ‘you
are not speaking to deaf ears.’

‘One thing more,’ said his mother;
‘look ye, my blessed son, in yon cupboard
is a pot full of certain poisonous things ;
take care that ugly Sin does not tempt you
to touch them, for they would make you
stretch your legs in a trice,’

‘Heaven forbid!’ replied Vardiello ;
‘poison indeed will not tempt me; but you
VARDIELLO 3 27

have done wisely to give me the warning ;
for if I had got at it, I should certainly
have eaten it all up.’

Thereupon the mother went out, but
Vardiello stayed behind; and, in order to
lose no time, he went into the garden to
dig holes, which he covered with boughs
and earth, to catch the little thieves who
come to steal the fruit. And as he was in
the midst of his work, he saw the hen come
running out of the room; whereupon he
began to cry, ‘Hish, hish! this way, that
way!’ But the hen did not stir a foot;
and Vardiello, seeing that she had some-
thing of the donkey in her, after crying
‘Hish, hish,’ began to stamp with his feet ;
and after stamping with his feet, to throw
his cap at her, and after the cap a cudgel,
which hit her just upon the pate, and made
her quickly stretch her legs.

When Vardiello saw this sad accident,
he bethought himself how to remedy the
evil; and making a virtue of necessity, in
order to prevent the eggs growing cold, he
set himself down upon the nest; but in
doing so, he gave the eggs an unlucky
blow, and quickly made an omelet of them,
In despair at what he had done, he was on
the point of knocking his head against the
wall: at last, however, as all grief turns
to hunger, feeling his stomach begin to
grumble, he resolved to eat up the hen.
28 _. THE PENTAMERONE

So he plucked her, and sticking her upon
a spit, he made a great fire, and set to
work to roast her. And when she was
cooked, Vardiello, to do everything in due
order, spread a clean cloth upon an old
chest; and then, taking a flagon, he went
down into the cellar to draw some wine.
But just as he was in the midst of drawing
the wine, he heard a noise, a disturbance, an
uproar in the house, which seemed like the
clattering of horses’ hoofs. Whereat starting
up in alarm, and turning his eyes, he saw
a big tom-cat, which had run off with the
hen, spit and all; and another cat chasing
after him, mewing, and crying out for a part.

Vardiello, in order to set this mishap to
rights, darted upon the cat like an unchained
lion, and in his haste he left the tap of the
barrel running. And after chasing the cat
through every hole and corner of the house,
he recovered the hen, but the cask had
meanwhile all run out; and when Vardiello
returned, and saw the wine running about,
he let the cask of his soul empty itself
through the tap-holes of his eyes. But at
last judgment came to his aid, and he hit
upon a plan to remedy the mischief, and
prevent his mother’s finding out what had
happened: so taking a sack of flour, filled
full to the mouth, he sprinkled it over the
wine on the floor.

But when he meanwhile reckoned up on
nO

ve, Cmukighonlt, She






VARDIELLO 29

his fingers all the disasters he had met
with, and thought to himself that, from the
number of fooleries he had committed, he
must have lost the game in the good graces
of Grannonia, he resolved in his heart not
to let his mother see him again alive. So
thrusting his hand into the jar of pickled
walnuts, which his mother had said con-
tained poison, he never stopped eating
until he came to the bottom; and when he
had right well filled his stomach, he went
and hid himself in the oven,

In the meanwhile his mother returned,
and stood knocking for a long time at the
door; but at last, seeing that no one came,
she gave it a kick; and going in, she called
her son at the top of her voice. But as
nobody answered, she imagined that some
mischief must have happened, and with
increased lamentation she went on crying
louder and louder, ‘Vardiello! Vardiello!
are you deaf, that you don’t hear? have
you the cramp, that you don’t run? have
you the pip, that you don’t answer? Where
are you, you gallows-faced rogue? where
are you hidden, you naughty fellow ?’

Vardiello, on hearing all this hubbub and
abuse, cried out at last with a piteous voice,
‘Here Lam! here I am in the oven; but
you will never see me again, mother !’

‘Why so?’ said the poor mother.

‘Because I am poisoned,’ replied the son.
30 THE PENTAMERONE

‘Alas! alas!’ cried Grannonia, ‘how
came you to do that ? what cause have you
had to commit this homicide? and who has
given you the poison?’ Then Vardiello
told her, one after another, all the pretty
things he had done; on which account he
wished to die, and not to remain any longer
a laughing-stock in the world.

The poor woman, on hearing all this, was
miserable and wretched, and she had enough
to do and to say to drive this melancholy
whimsey out of Vardiello’s head. And being
infatuated and dotingly fond of him, she gave
him some nice sweetmeats, and so put the
affair of the pickled walnuts out of his head,
and convinced him that they were not poison,
but good and comforting to the stomach.
And having thus pacified him with cheering
words, and showered on him a thousand ca-
resses, she drew him out of the oven. Then
giving him a fine piece of cloth, she bade
him go and sell it, but cautioned him not
to do business with folks of too many words.

‘Tut, tut!’ said Vardiello; ‘let me alone,
—I know what I’m about, never fear.’ So
saying he took the cloth, and went his way
through the city of Naples, crying, ‘Cloth!
cloth!’ But whenever any one asked him,
‘What cloth have you there?’ he replied,
‘You are no customer for me— you are
a man of too many words.’ And when
another said to him, ‘How do you sell your
VARDIELLO 31

cloth?’ he called him a chatterbox, who
deafened him with his noise. At length he
chanced to espy, in the courtyard of a house
which was deserted, a plaster statue; and
being tired out, and wearied with going about
and about, he sat himself down upon a bench.
But not seeing any one astir in the house,
which looked like a sacked village, he was
lost in amazement, and said to the statue,
‘Tell me, comrade, does no one live in this
house?’ Vardiello waited a while ; but as
the statue gave no answer, he thought this
surely was aman of few words. So he said,
‘Friend, will you buy my cloth? I'll sell it
you cheap.’ And seeing that the statue still
remained dumb, he exclaimed, ‘Faith then
P’ve found my man at last! there, take the
cloth, examine it, and give me what you will;
to-morrow I'll return for the money.’

So saying, Vardiello left the cloth on the
spot where he had been sitting, and the first
mother’s son who passed that way found the
prize and carried it off.

When Vardiello returned home without
the cloth, and told his mother all that had
happened, she well-nigh swooned away, and
said to him, ‘When will you put that head-
piece of yours in order? See now what
tricks you have played me—only think! but
I am myself to blame for being too tender-
hearted, instead of having given you a good
beating at first; and now I perceive that a
32 THE PENTAMERONE

pitiful doctor only makes the wound in-
curable. But you'll go on with your pranks,
until at last we come to a serious falling out,
and then there will be a long reckoning, my
lad !?

‘Softly, mother,’ replied Vardiello ;
‘matters are not so bad as they seem: do
you want more than crown-pieces bran new
from the mint ? do you think me a fool, and
that I don’t know what I am about? To-
morrow is not yet here—wait a while, and
you shall see whether I know how to fit a
handle to a shovel.’

The next morning, as soon as the shades
of Night, pursued by the constables of the
Sun, had fled the country, Vardiello repaired
to the courtyard where the statue stood, and
said, ‘Good-day, friend! can you give me
those few pence you owe me? come, quick,
pay me for the cloth!’ But when he saw
that the statue remained speechless, he took
up a stone, and hurled it at its breast with
such force that it burst a vein, which proved
indeed the cure to his own malady; for
some pieces of the statue falling off, he
discovered a pot full of golden crown-pieces.
Then taking it in both his hands, off he ran
home, head over heels, as fast as he could
scamper, crying out, ‘ Mother, mother! see
here, what a lot of red lupins I’ve got ! how
many, how many !’

His mother, seeing the crown-pieces, and
VARDIELLO 33

knowing very well that Vardiello would
soon make the matter public, told him to
stand at the door, until the man with milk
and new-made cheese came past, as she
wanted to buy a pennyworth of milk. So
Vardiello, who was a great glutton, went
quickly and seated himself at the door;
and his mother showered down from the
window above raisins and dried figs for
more than half an hour. Whereupon
Vardiello, picking them up as fast as he
could, cried aloud, ‘ Mother, mother! bring
out some baskets, give me some bowls!
here, quick with the tubs and buckets! for
if it goes on to rain thus we shall be rich
in a trice’ And when he had eaten his fill
Vardiello went up to sleep.

It happened one day that two country-
men fell out, and went to law about a
gold crown-piece which they had found on
the ground ; and Vardiello passing by said,
‘What jackasses you are to quarrel about
a red lupin like this! for my part I don’t
value it at a pin’s head, for I’ve found a
whole potful of them.’

When the judge heard this he opened
wide his eyes and ears, and examined
Vardiello closely, asking him how, when,
and where he had found the crowns. And
Vardiello replied, ‘I found them in a
palace, inside a dumb man, when it rained
raisins and dried figs.’ At this the judge

D
34 THE PENTAMERONE

stared with amazement ; but instantly under-
stood that he had to deal with a booby, so
he sent him off without further ado and
without suspecting by what cunning the
mother had caused him to make this absurd
reply.

And so the treasure remained in the
hands of Grannonia of Aprano.

The Prince and the Slave laughed till
they were ready to burst at Vardiello’s
stupidity, and praised the cleverness of his
mother, who had the wit to foresee and
provide against his folly. But when all the
others had turned the key on their chatter-
ing, Popa, being requested to tell a story,
began as follows,








APS
eer

Pe AES
) Renee











THE FLEA

ESOLUTIONS taken without
thought bring disasters without
remedy. He who behaves like
a fool repents like a wise man;

as happened to the King of High-Hill, who,

through unexampled folly, commited an act
of madness, putting in jeopardy both his
daughter and his honour.



Once upon a time the King of High-
Hill, being bitten by a flea, caught him by
a wonderful feat of dexterity ; and seeing
how handsome and stately he was, he could
not in conscience pass sentence on him
upon the bed of his nail. So he put him
into a bottle, and feeding him every day
with the blood of his own arm, the little
beast grew at such a rate, that at the end of
seven months it was necessary to shift his
quarters, for he was grown bigger than a
36 THE PENTAMERONE

sheep. When the king saw this, he had
him flayed, and the skin dressed. Then he
issued a proclamation, that whoever could
tell to what animal this skin had belonged
should have his daughter to wife,

As soon as this decree was made known,
the people all flocked in crowds, and they
came from the ends of the world to be
present at the scrutiny, and to try their
luck. One said that it belonged to an ape,
another to a lynx, a third to a crocodile,
and in short some gave it to one animal,
and some to another; but they were all a
hundred miles from the truth, and not one
hit the nail on the head. At last there
came to this anatomical trial an ogre, who
was the most frightfully ugly being in the
world, the very sight of whom would make
the boldest man tremble and quake with
fear. But no sooner had he come, and
turned the skin round and smelt it, than he
instantly guessed the truth, saying, ‘This
skin belongs to the arch-rascal of the
fleas !?

Now the king saw that the ogre had hit
the apple; but, not to break his word, he
ordered his daughter Porziella to be called,
Porziella had a face like milk and blood,
and was such a miracle of beauty that you
could devour her with your eyes, she was
so lovely, And the king said to her, ‘My
daughter, thou knowest the proclamation I
THE FLEA 37

have issued, and thou knowest who I am ;
in short, I cannot go back from my promise.
My word is given; I must keep it, though
my heart should break. Who could ever
have imagined that this prize would have
fallen to an ogre? But since not a leaf
shakes without the will of Heaven, we must
believe that this marriage has been made
first there above, and then here below.
Have patience then, and if thou art a good
and dutiful girl do not oppose thy father, for
my heart tells me that thou wilt be happy,
since treasures are often found inside a
rough earthen jar.’

When Porziella heard this sad resolution,
her eyes grew dim, her face turned yellow,
her lips fell, her legs trembled, and she was
on the point of letting fly the falcon of her
soul after the quail of gricf. At last, burst-
ing into tears, she said to her father, ‘What
crime have I committed that I should be
punished thus? How have I acted ill to-
ward you, that I should be given up to
this monster? O wretched Porziella, behold
you are running like a weasel into the toad’s
throat of your own accord! like an unfortu-
nate sheep you are the prey of a ravenous
wolf! Is this, O father, the affection you
bear your own blood? is this the love you
show to her whom you used to call the joy
of your soul? do you thus tear from your
heart her who is a part. of your blood ?
38 THE PENTAMERONE

do you drive from your sight her who is
the apple of your eye? O father, O cruel
father! you surely are not born of human
flesh; the sea-orks gave you blood, the
wild-cats suckled you. But why do I talk
of beasts of the land and sea? for every
animal loves its young; you alone loathe
and hate your own offspring, you alone
hold your daughter in abhorrence. Oh,
better had it been if my mother had
strangled me at my birth, if my cradle had
been my deathbed, my swaddling-clothes a
halter, and the whistle they tied round my
neck a millstone; since I have lived to see
this evil day, to see myself caressed by the
hand of a harpy, embraced by two bear’s
paws, and kissed by two boar’s tusks.’
Porziella was going on to say more, when
the king in a furious rage exclaimed, ‘ Stay
your anger, fair and softly, for appearances
deceive ! stop, stop; hold your tongue, you
ill-mannered chatterbox! what I do is well
done. Is it for a girl to teach her father
forsooth ? have done, I say, for if I lay
these hands upon you, I’ll not leave a whole
bone in your skin, and will make you bite
the dust. Prithee how long has a child, with
the milk still upon her lips, dared to oppose
my will? Quick then, I say! take his
hand, and set off with him home this very
instant ; for I will not have that saucy,
impudent face a minute longer in my sight.’
THE FLEA 39

Poor Porziella, seeing herself thus caught
in the net, with the face of a person con-
demned to death, with the eye of one
possessed, with the mouth of one who has
taken an emetic, with the heart of a person
whose head is lying between the axe and
the block, took the hand of the ogre, who
dragged her off, without any one accom-
panying them, to a wood, where the trees
made a palace for the meadow, to prevent
its being discovered by the sun, and the
brooks murmured at having knocked against
the stones in the dark, whilst the wild beasts
wandered where they liked without paying
toll, and went safely through the thicket,
whither no man ever came unless he had lost
his way. Upon this spot, which was as
black as an unswept chimney, and hideous
as the face of hell, stood the ogre’s house,
ornamented and hung all round with the
bones of men whom he had devoured.
Think but for a moment, good Christians,
on the trembling, the quivering, the horror
and. affright which the poor girl endured !
depend upon it there did not remain a drop
of blood in her body.

But all this was nothing at all in com-
parison with what was to come. The ogre
went out to hunt, and returned home laden
with the quarters of men whom he had
killed, saying, ‘Now, wife, you cannot com-
plain that I don’t take good care of you;
40 THE PENTAMERONE

here’s a fine store of eatables for you; take
and make merry, and love me well, for the
sky will fall before I let you want for food.’

Poor Porziella was sick at this horrible
sight, and turned her face away. But when
the ogre saw this, he cried, ‘Ha! this is
throwing sweatmeats before swine: no
matter, however; only have patience till
to-morrow morning; for I have been in-
vited to a wild-boar hunt, and will bring
you home a couple of boars, and we’ll make
a grand feast with our kinsfolk, and celebrate
our wedding.’ So saying, away he went
into the forest.

Now as Porziella stood weeping at the
window, it chanced that an old woman
passed by, who, being famished by hunger,
begged some refreshment of her. ‘Ah, my
good woman!’ said Porziella, ‘Heaven
knows I am in the power of a devil, who
brings me home nothing but quarters and
pieces of men he has killed ; indeed I know
not how it is that I have the stomach even
to look upon such odious things. I pass
the most miserable life that ever a Christian
soul led; and yet I am the daughter of a
king, and have been reared on dainties,
and passed my life in plenty.? And so
saying, she began to cry.

The old woman’s heart was softened at
this sight, and she said to Porziella, ‘Be of
good heart, my pretty girl; do not spoil
THE FLEA 41

your beauty with crying, for you have fallen
in with luck; I can help you. Listen now.
I have seven sons, who, you see, are seven
oaks, seven giants, Mase, Nardo, Cola,
Micco, Petrullo, Ascaddeo, and Ceccone,—
who have more virtues than rosemary,
especially Mase ; for every time he lays his
ear to the ground, he hears all that is
passing within thirty miles around: Nardo,
every time he spits, makes a great sea of
soap-suds: every time that Cola throws a
bit of iron on the ground, he makes a field
of sharp razors: Micco, every time he flings
down a little stick, makes a tangled wood
spring up: Petrullo, whenever he throws
on the ground a drop of water, makes a
terrific river : Ascaddeo, every time he flings
a stone, causes a strong tower to spring up:
and Ceccone shoots so straight with a cross-
bow, that he can hit a hen’s eye a mile off.
Now, with the help of my sons, who are all
courteous and friendly, and who will all
take compassion on your condition, I will
contrive to free you from the claws of the
ogre ; for such a delicate morsel is not food
for the huge throat of this monster.’

‘No time is better than now,’ replied
Porziella ; ‘for that evil shadow of a hus-
_band of mine is gone out, and will not
return this evening, and we shall have time
to slip off and run away,’

‘It cannot be this evening,’ replied the
42 THE PENTAMERONE

old woman, ‘for I live a long way off; but
I promise you that to-morrow morning I
and my sons will all come together and
help you out of your trouble,’

So saying the old woman departed, and
Porziella went to rest with a light heart,
and slept soundly all night. But as soon
as the birds began to cry, ‘Long live the
Sun!’ lo and behold there was the old
woman with her seven sons; and placing
Porziella in the midst of them, they pro-
ceeded towards the city. But they had not
gone above: half a mile when Mase put his
ear to the ground, and cried, ‘ Hallo, have
a care! here’s the fox! The ogre is come
home, and not finding his wife, he is hasten-
ing after us with his cap under his arm.’

No sooner did Nardo hear this, than he
spat upon the ground, and made a sea of
soap; and when the ogre came, and saw
all the suds, he ran home, and fetching a
sack of bran, he strewed it about, and
worked away, treading it down with his
feet, until at last he got over this obstacle,
though with great difficulty.

But Mase put his ear once more to the
ground, and exclaimed, ‘Look sharp, com-
rade! here he comes!’ Thereupon Cola
flung the piece of iron on the ground, and
instantly a field of razors sprung up. When
the ogre saw the path stopped, he ran
home again, and clad himself in iron from

THE FLEA 43

head to foot, and then returned, and got
over this peril.

Then Mase, again putting his ear to the
ground, cried, ‘Up, up, to arms! to arms!
for see here is the ogre coming at such a
rate that he is actually flying.’ But Micco
was ready with his little stick, and in an
instant he caused a terrible wood to rise
up, so thick that it was quite impenetrable.
When the ogre came to this difficult pass,
he laid hold of a Carrara knife that he wore
at his side, and began to fell the poplars
and oaks right and left, to tumble down the
pine-trees and cornel-trees ; insomuch that
with four or five strokes he laid the whole
forest on the ground, and got clear out of
the maze.

Presently Mase, who kept his ears on
the alert like a hare, again raised his voice
and cried, ‘Now we must be off, for the
ogre has put on wings, and see here he is
at our heels!’ As soon as Petrullo heard
this, he took a sip of water from a little
fountain that was spurting out of a stone
basin, squirted it.on the ground, and in the
twinkling of an eye a large river rose up on
the spot. When the ogre saw this new
obstacle, and that he could not make holes
as fast as they found bungs to stop them,
he stripped himself stark naked, and swam
across to the other side of the river with
his clothes upon his head.


44 THE PENTAMERONE

Mase, who put his ear to every chink, heard
the ogre coming, and exclaimed, ‘Alas!
matters go ill with us now; I already hear
the clatter of the ogre’s heels: Heaven help
us! So let us be upon our guard, and pre-
pare to meet this storm, or else we are done
for,’

‘ Never fear,’ said Ascaddeo, ‘1 will soon
settle this ugly ragamuffin.’ So saying
he flung a pebble on the ground, and in-
Stantly up rose a tower, in which they all
took refuge without delay and barred the
door. But when the ogre came up, and
saw that they had betaken themselves to a
place of safety, he ran home, got a vine-
dresser’s ladder, and hied with it on his
shoulder back to the tower.

Now Mase, who kept his ears hanging
down, heard at a distance the approach of
the ogre, and cried, ‘We are now at the
butt-end of the candle of hope! Ceccone is
our last resource, for the ogre is coming
back in a terrible fury. Alas, how my
heart beats, for I foresee an evil day !?

‘You coward !’ answered Ceccone ; ‘trust
to me, and I will hit him with a ball.’

As Ceccone was speaking, the ogre came,
planted his ladder, and began to climb up ;
but Ceccone, taking aim at him, shot out
one of his eyes, and laid him at full length
on the ground, like a pear dropped from the
tree: then he went out of the tower, and cut
THE FLEA 45

off the ogre’s head with the big knife he
carried about him, just as if it had been
new-made cheese, Thereupon they took
the head with great joy to the king, who re-
joiced at recovering his daughter, for he had
repented a hundred times having given her
to an ogre. And not many days after, the
king procured a handsome husband for
Porziella, and he heaped riches on the seven
sons and their mother, who had delivered
his daughter from such a wretched life.
Nor did he omit to call himself a thousand
times to blame for his conduct to Porziella,
and having out of mere caprice exposed
her to such peril, without thinking what an
error he commits who goes looking for wolf’s
eggs.

The auditors looked like statues, as they
sat listening to the story of the Flea, and
they declared one and all that King Stupid
was an ass, to put in peril the welfare of his
own flesh and blood, and the inheritance of
his kingdom, for just nothing at all. When
they had all shut their mouths again, Anto-
nella opened hers and began the following
story.

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THE ENCHANTED DOE

REAT is doubtless the power of
friendship, which makes us bear
toils and perils willingly to serve
a friend. We value our wealth

as a trifle, honour as nothing at all, life as a

straw, when we can give them for a friend’s

sake; fables teach us this, history is full of
instances of it, and I will give you an
example which my grandmother Semmonella

—miay she be in glory !—used to relate to

me. So open your ears and shut your

mouths, and hear what I shall tell you.



There was once a certain king named
Giannone, who, desiring greatly to have
children, had prayers continually made to
the gods that they would grant his wish:
and in order to incline them the more to
give him this gratification, he was so charit-
able to beggars and pilgrims that he shared
THE ENCHANTED DOR 47

with them all he possessed. But seeing at
last that matters were protracted, and there
was no end to putting his hand into his
pocket, he bolted his door fast, and shot with
a cross-bow at whoever came near.

Now it happened that at this time a long-
bearded Capuchin was passing that way,
and not knowing that the king had turned
over a new leaf, or perhaps knowing it and
wishing to make him change his mind again,
he went to Giannone and begged for enter-
tainment in his house, But, with a fierce
look and a terrible growl, the king said to
him, ‘If you have no other candle than this,
you may go to bed in the dark. The
time is gone by; I am no longer a fool.’
And when the old man asked what was the
cause of this change, the king replied, ‘From
my desire to have children, I have spent and
have lent to all who came and all who went,
and have squandered away all my wealth.
At last, seeing that the beard was gone, I
stopped and laid aside the razor,’

‘If that be all,’ replied the old man, ‘you
may set your mind at rest, for I promise that
your wish shall be forthwith fulfilled, on pain
of losing my ears.’

‘Be it so, said the king, ‘and I pledge
my word that I will give you one half of my
kingdom.’ And the man answered, ‘ Listen
now to me,—if you wish to hit the mark,
you have only to get the heart of a sea-
48 THE PENTAMERONE

dragon, and have it dressed by a young
maiden. And as soon as the heart is
dressed, give it to the queen to eat, and
you'll see that what I say will speedily come
to pass.’

‘If that be the case,’ replied the king,
‘I must this very moment get the dragon’s
heart.’

So he sent a hundred fishermen out, and
they got ready all kinds of fishing-tackle,
drag-nets, casting-nets, seine-nets, bow-nets,
and fishing-lines; and they tacked and
turned, and cruised in all directions, until at
last they caught a dragon; then they took
out its heart and brought it to the king, who
gave it toa handsome young lady to dress.

When the heart was dressed, and the queen
had tasted it, in a few days she and the young
lady both had a son, so like the one to the
other that nobody could tell which was which.
And the boys grew up together in such love
for one another that they could not be parted
for a moment; and their attachment was so
great that the queen began to be jealous at
seeing her son testify more affection for the
son of one of her servants than he did for
herself, and she knew not in what way to
remove this thorn from her eyes.

Now one day the prince wished to go
a-hunting with his companion; so he had a
fire lighted in the fireplace in his chamber,
and began to melt lead to make balls; and
THE ENCHANTED DOE 49

being in want of I know not what, he went
himself to look for it. Meanwhile the queen
came in to see what her son was about, and
finding nobody there but Canneloro, the son
of the maiden, she thought to put him out
of the world. So stooping down she flung
the hot bullet-mould at his face, which hit
him over the brow and gave him an ugly
wound, She was just going to repeat the
blow, when her son Fonzo came in; so pre-
tending that she was only come to see how
he was, after giving him a few trifling caresses
she went away.

Canneloro, pulling his hat down on his
forehead, said nothing of his wound to
Fonzo, but stood quite quiet, though he was
burning with the pain. And as soon as
they had done making balls, he requested
leave of the prince to go out, Fonzo, all in
amazement at this new resolution, asked
him the reason; but he replied, ‘Inquire
no more, my dear Fonzo ; let it suffice that
I am obliged to go away, and Heaven knows
that in parting with you, who are my heart,
the soul is ready to leave my bosom, but
since it cannot be otherwise, farewell, and
keep me in remembrance !’

Then, after embracing one another and
shedding many tears, Canneloro went to
his own room, where taking a suit of
armour and a magic sword, he armed him-
self from top to toe; and having taken a
50 THE PENTAMERONE

horse out of the stable, he was just putting
his foot into the stirrup when Fonzo came
weeping and said, that since he was
resolved to abandon him, he should at least
leave him some token of his love, to dimin-
ish his anguish for his absence. There-
upon Canneloro laid hold on his dagger
and stuck it into the ground, and instantly
a fine fountain rose up. Then said he to
the prince, ‘This is the best memorial I
can leave you; for by the flowing of this
fountain you will know the course of my
life; if you see it run clear, know that my
life will likewise be clear and tranquil ; if
you see it turbid, think that I am passing
through troubles; and if you find it dry
(which Heaven forbid!) depend on it that
the oil of my lamp is all consumed, and I
have paid the toll that belongs to Nature.’

So saying he took his sword, and sticking
it into the ground, he made a plant of
myrtle spring up, saying to the prince,
‘As long as you see this myrtle green,
know that I am green as a leek ; if you see
it wither, think that my fortunes are not the
best in the world; but if it becomes quite
dried up, you may say a requiem for your
Canneloro.’

So saying, after embracing one another
again, Canneloro set out on his travels ;
and journeying on and on, after various
adventures which would be too long to
THE ENCHANTED DOE 5r

recount,—such as quarrels with vetturini,
disputes with landlords, murderous attacks
by toll-gatherers, perils of bad roads,
encounters with robbers,—he at length
arrived at Long-Trellis, just at the time when
they were holding a most splendid tourna-
ment, the hand of the king’s daughter being
promised to the victor. Here Canneloro
presented himself, and bore him so bravely
that he overthrew all the knights who were
come from divers parts to gain a name for
themselves. Whereupon Fenicia, the king’s
daughter, was given to him to wife, and a
great feast was made.

When Canneloro had been there some
months in peace and quiet, an unhappy
fancy came into his head for going to the
chase. Then he told it to the king, who
said to him, ‘Take care of your legs, my
son-in-law ; do not be blinded by the evil
one ; be wise and open your eyes, sir! for in
these woods there is the devil’s own ogre,
who changes his form every day, one time
appearing like a wolf, at another like a lion,
now like a stag, now like an ass, now like
one thing and now like another; and by a
thousand stratagems he decoys those who
are so unfortunate as to meet him, into a
cave, where he devours them. So, my son,
do not put your safety in peril, or you will
leave your rags there.’

Canneloro, who did not know what fear
52 THE PENTAMERONE

was, paid no heed to the advice of his
father-in-law ; and as soon as the Sun with
the broom of his rays had cleared away the
soot of the Night, he set out for the chase;
and on his way he came to a wood, where,
beneath the awning of the leaves, the
Shades had assembled to maintain their
sway, and to make a conspiracy against the
Sun. The ogre, seeing him coming, turned
himself into a handsome doe, which as soon
as Canneloro perceived he began to give
chase to her; then the doe doubled and
turned, and led him about hither and thither
at such a rate, that at last she brought him
into the very heart of the wood, where she
made such a tremendous snowstorm arise
that it looked as if the sky was going
to fall. Canneloro, finding himself in front
of the ogre’s cave, went into it to seek
shelter ; and being benumbed with the cold,
he took some sticks which he found within
it, and pulling his steel out of his pocket he
kindled a large fire. As he was standing.
by it to dry his clothes, the doe came to the
mouth of the cave and said, ‘Sir Knight,
pray give me leave to warm myself a little
while, for I am shivering with the cold,’
Canneloro, who was of a kind disposition,
said to her, ‘Draw near, and welcome.’
‘I would gladly,’ replied the doe, ‘but
that I am afraid you would kill me.’
‘ Fear nothing,’ answered Canneloro ; ‘come,
THE ENCHANTED DOE 53

trust to my word.’ ‘If you wish me to
enter,’ rejoined the doe, ‘tie up those dogs,
that they may not hurt me, and tie up your
horse that he may not kick me.’

So Canneloro tied up his dogs and
fettered his horse, and the doe said, ‘I am
now half assured, but unless you bind fast
your sword, by the soul of my grandsire I
will not go in!’ Then Canneloro, who
wished to become friends with the doe,
bound his sword, as a countryman does his
when he carries it in the city, for fear of the
constables. As soon as the ogre saw
Canneloro defenceless, he took his own form,
and laying hold on him, flung him intoa pit
that was at the bottom of the cave, and
covered it up with a stone, to keep him to eat.

But Fonzo, who morning and evening
visited the myrtle and the fountain, to learn
news of the fate of Canneloro, finding the
one withered and the other troubled, in-
stantly thought that his friend was passing
through some misfortunes; and being de-
sirous of giving him succour, he mounted
his horse without asking leave of his father
or mother, and arming himself well, and tak-
ing two enchanted dogs, he went rambling
through the world; and he roamed and
rambled here and there and everywhere,
until at last he came to Long-Trellis, which
he found all in mourning for the supposed
death of Canneloro. And scarcely was he
54 THE PENTAMERONE

come to the court, when every one, thinking
it was Canneloro from the likeness he bore
him, hastened to tell Fenicia the good news,
who ran tumbling down the stairs, and em-
bracing Fonzo exclaimed, ‘My husband!
my heart! where have you been all this -
time ??

Fonzo immediately perceived that Canne-
loro had come to this country, and had left
it again; so he resolved to examine the
matter adroitly, to learn from the princess’s
discourse where he might be found; and
hearing her say that he had put himself in
such great danger by that accursed hunting,
especially if that cruel ogre should meet
him, he at once concluded that his friend
must be there.

The next morning, as soon as the Sun
had gone forth to give the gilded pills to the
Sky, he jumped out of bed, and neither the
prayers of Fenicia nor the commands of the
king could keep him back, but he would go
to the chase. So mounting his horse, he
went with the enchanted dogs to the wood,
where the same thing befell him that had
befallen Canneloro; and entering the cave,
he saw Canneloro’s arms and dogs and
horse fast bound, by which he became cer-
tain that his friend had there fallen into a
snare. Then the doe told him in like man-
ner to tie his arms, dogs, and horse ; but he
instantly set them upon her, and they tore
THE ENCHANTED DOE 55

her to pieces. And as he was looking
about for some other traces of his friend, he
heard his voice down in the pit; so lifting
up the stone he drew out Canneloro, with
all the others whom the ogre had buried
alive to fatten. Then embracing each other
with great joy, the two friends went home,
where Fenicia, seeing them so much alike,
did not know which to choose for her hus-
band ; but when Canneloro took off his cap,
she saw the wound, and recognised and em-
braced him. And after staying there a
month, taking his amusement, Fonzo wished
to return to his own country, and to go back
to his nest; and Canneloro wrote by him to
his mother, bidding her come and partake
of his greatness, which she did, and from
that time forward he never would hear
either of dogs or of hunting, recollecting the

saying,

Unhappy is he who corrects himself at his own cost.












PARSLEY

O great is my desire to keep the
Princess amused, that the whole
of the past night, when all were
sound asleep and nobody stirred

hand or foot, I have done nothing but turn
over the old papers of my brain, and ran-
sack all the closets of my memory, choosing
from among the stories which that good
soul my uncle’s grandmother (whom Heaven
take to glory !) used to tell, such as seemed
most fitting to relate to you; and unless I
have put on my spectacles upside down, I
fancy they will give you pleasure ; or, should
they not serve, as armed squadrons, to drive
away tedium from your mind, they will at
least be as trumpets to incite my companions
here to go forth to the field, with greater
power than my poor strength possesses, to
supply by the abundance of their wit the
deficiencies of my discourse.


PARSLEY 57

There was once upon a time a woman
named Pascadozzia. As she was standing
one day at a window, which looked into the
garden of an ogress, she saw a beautiful bed
of parsley, for which she took such a long-
ing that she was on the point of fainting
away ; and being unable to resist her desire,
she watched until the ogress went out, and
then plucked a handful of it. But when the
ogress came home, and was going to cook
her pottage, she found that some one had
been at the parsley, and said, ‘Ill luck to
me but I’ll catch this long-fingered rogue,
and make him repent it, and teach him to
his cost that every one should eat off his
own platter, and not meddle with other
folks’ cups’

The poor woman went again and again
down into the garden, until one morning the
ogress met her, and in a furious rage ex-
claimed, ‘Have I caught you at last, you
thief, you rogue? Prithee do you pay the
rent of the garden, that you come in this
impudent way and steal my plants? By my
faith, but I’ll make you do penance !’

Poor Pascadozzia, in a terrible fright, be-
gan to make excuses, saying that neither
from gluttony nor the craving of hunger had
she been tempted by the devil to commit
this fault, but fear she had lest the child
should be born with a crop of parsley on its
face; and she added that the ogress ought
58 THE PENTAMERONE

rather to thank her, for not having given
her sore eyes.

‘Words are but wind,’ answered the
ogress ; ‘I am not to be caught with such
prattle ; you have closed the balance-sheet
of life, unless you promise to give me the
child you bring forth, girl or boy, whichever
it may be.’

Poor Pascadozzia, in order to escape the
peril in which she found herself, swore with
one hand upon another to keep the promise :
so the ogress ‘let her go free. But when
her time was come, Pascadozzia gave birth
to a little girl, so beautiful that she was a
joy to look upon, who, from having a fine
sprig of parsley on her bosom, was named
Parsley. And the little girl grew from day
to day, until when she was seven years old
her mother sent her to school; and every
time she went along the street and met the
ogress, the old woman said to her, ‘Tell
your mother to remember her promise.’
And she went on repeating this message
so often, that the poor mother, having no
longer patience to listen to the same tale,
said one day to Parsley, ‘If you meet the
old woman as usual, and she reminds you
of the hateful promise, answer her, “ Take
it ! 2?

When Parsley, who dreamt of no ill, met
the ogress again, and heard her repeat the
same words, she answered innocently as

PARSLEY 59

her mother had told her; whereupon the
ogress, seizing her by her hair, carried her
off to a wood, which the Sun never entered.
Then she put the poor girl into a tower,
which she caused to arise by her art, and
which had neither gate nor ladder, but only
a little window, through which she ascended
and descended by means of Parsley’s hair,
which was very long, as the sailor is used
to run up and down the mast of a ship.
Now it happened one day, when the
ogress had left the tower, that Parsley put
her head out of the little window, and let
loose her tresses in the sun; and the son
of a prince passing by saw these two golden
banners, which invited all souls to enlist
under the standard of Love; and beholding
with amazement in the midst of those
gleaming waves a siren’s face, that en-
chanted all hearts, he fell desperately in
love with such wonderful beauty ; and send-
ing her a memorial of sighs, she decreed to
receive him into favour. Matters went on
so well with the prince, that there was
soon a nodding of heads and kissing of
hands, thanks and offerings, hopes and
promises, soft words and compliments.
And when this had continued for several
days, Parsley and the prince became so
intimate that they made an appointment to
meet, and agreed that it should be at night,
and that Parsley should give the ogress
60 THE PENTAMERONE

some poppy-juice, and draw up the prince
with her tresses. So when the appointed
hour came, the prince went to the tower,
where Parsley, letting fall her hair at a
given signal, he seized it with both his
hands, and cried, ‘Draw up!’ And when
he was drawn up, he crept through the
little window into the chamber.

The next morning early, the prince de-
scended by the same golden ladder, to go
his way home. And having repeated these
visits many times, a gossip of the ogress,
who was for ever prying into things that
did not concern her, and poking her nose
into every corner, got to find out the secret,
and told the ogress to be upon the look-out,
for that Parsley was courted by a youth,
The ogress thanked the gossip for the
information, and said she would take good
care to stop up the road ; and as to Parsley,
it was impossible for her to escape, as she
had laid a spell upon her, so that, unless she
had in her hand the three gallnuts which
were in a rafter in the kitchen, it would
be labour lost to attempt to get away.

Whilst they were talking thus together,
Parsley, who stood with her ears wide open,
and had some suspicion of the gossip, over-
heard all that passed. And when Night
had spread out her black garments, and the
prince had come as usual, she made him
climb on to the rafters and find the gall-
PARSLEY 61

nuts, knowing well what effect they would
have, as she had been enchanted by the
ogress. Then, having made a rope-ladder,
they both descended to the ground, took
to their heels, and scampered off towards
the city. But the gossip happening to see
them come out, set up a loud halloo, and
began to shout and make such a noise that
the ogress awoke; and seeing that Parsley
had fled, she descended by the same ladder,
which was fastened to the window, and set
off running after the lovers, who, when they
saw her coming at their heels faster than
a horse let loose, gave themselves up for
lost. But Parsley, recollecting the gallnuts,
quickly threw one on the ground, and lo!
instantly a Corsican bulldog started up,—a
terrible beast !—which with open jaws and
barking loud flew at the ogress as if to
swallow her at a mouthful. But the old
woman, who was more cunning and spiteful
than the devil, put her hand into her pocket,
and pulling out a piece of bread, gave it to
the dog, which made him hang his tail and
allay his fury. Then she turned to run
after the fugitives again ; but Parsley, seeing
her approach, threw the second gallnut on
the ground, and lo! a fierce lion arose,
who, lashing the earth with his tail, and
shaking his mane, and opening wide his
Jaws a yard apart, was just preparing to
make a slaughter of the ogress ; when,
62 THE PENTAMERONE

turning quickly back, she stripped the skin
off an ass that was grazing in the middle
_of a meadow, and ran at the lion, who,
fancying it a real jackass, was so frightened
that he bounded away as fast as he could.

The ogress, having leaped over this
second ditch, turned again to pursue the
poor lovers, who, hearing the clatter of her
heels and seeing the cloud of dust that
rose up to the sky, conjectured that she
was coming again, But the old woman,
who was every moment in dread lest the
lion should pursue her, had not taken off
the ass’s skin; and when Parsley now threw
down the third gallnut, there sprang up a
wolf, who, without giving the ogress time
to play any new trick, gobbled her up just
as she was, in the shape of a jackass. So
the lovers, being now freed from danger,
went their way leisurely and quietly to the
kingdom of the prince, where, with his
father’s free consent, he took Parsley to
wife; and thus, after all these storms of
fate, they experienced the truth, that

One hour in port, the sailor freed from fears
Forgets the tempests of a hundred years.

Zeza’s story was listened to with such
delight to the end, that, had it even con-
tinued for an hour longer, the time would
have appeared only a moment. But it now
being Cecca’s turn, she began as follows.


THE THREE SISTERS

T is a great truth, if we make the
saying good, that from the same
wood are formed the statues of
idols and the rafters of the

gallows, kings’ thrones and cobblers’ stalls ;

and another strange thing is, that from the
same rags are made the paper on which the
wisdom of sages is recorded, and the crown
which is placed on the head of a fool,—
a thing that would puzzle the cleverest
astrologer in the world. The same too
may be said of a mother, who brings forth
one good daughter and another bad, one
an idle hussy, another a good housewife ;
one fair, another ugly ; one spiteful, another
kind; one unfortunate, another born to
good luck,—who, all being of one family,
ought to be of one nature, But leaving this
subject to those who know more about it,
I will merely give you an example of what


64 THE PENTAMERONE

I have said, in the story of three daughters
of one and the same mother, wherein you
will see the difference of manners, which
brought the wicked daughters into a ditch,
and the good daughter to the top of the
wheel of fortune,

There was one time a woman who had
three daughters, two of whom were so
unlucky that nothing ever succeeded with
them; all their projects went wrong, all
their hopes were turned to chaff. But the
youngest, who was named Nella, was born
to good luck, and I verily believe that at
her birth all things conspired to bestow on
her the best and choicest gifts in their
power; the Sky gave her the perfection of
its light, Venus a matchless beauty of form,
Love the first dart of his power, Nature the
flower of manners. She never set about
any work, that it did not go off to a nicety ;
she never took anything in hand, that it
did not succeed to a hair; she never stood
up to dance, that she did not sit down with
applause. On which account she was
envied by her jealous sisters, and yet not
so much as she was loved and wished well
to by all others; and greatly as her sisters
desired to put her underground, still much
more did other folks carry her on the palms
of their hands,

Now there was in that country an en-
THE THREE SISTERS 65

chanted prince, who sailed along the sea
of her beauty, and flung out the hook of
amorous servitude to this beautiful goldfish,
until at length he caught her by the gills
of affection and made her his own. And
in order that they might enjoy one another’s
company without exciting the suspicion of
the mother, who was a wicked woman, the
prince made a crystal passage, which led
from the royal palace directly into Nella’s
apartment, although it was eight miles
distant; and giving her a certain powder,
he said, ‘Every time you wish to feed me,
like a sparrow, with a sight of your charm-
ing beauty, throw a little of this powder
into the fire, and instantly I will come
through the passage as quick as a bird,
running along a crystal road to gaze upon
this face of silver.’

Having arranged it thus, not a night
passed that the prince did not go in and out,
backwards and forwards, along the crystal
passage ; until at last the sisters, who were
spying the actions of Nella, found out the
secret, and laid a plan to put a stop to the
sport. And in order to cut the thread at
once, they went and broke the passage here
and there; so that when the unhappy girl
threw the powder into the fire, to give the
signal to her lover, the prince, who used al-
ways to come running in furious haste, hurt
himself in such a manner against the broken

F
66 THE PENTAMERONE

crystal that he was truly a pitiable sight to
see, And being unable to pass farther on,
he turned back, all cut and slashed. Then
he laid himself in his bed, and sent for all
the doctors in the town; but as the crystal
was enchanted, the wounds were mortal,
and no human remedy availed. When the
king saw this, despairing of his son’s condi-
tion, he sent out a proclamation, that whoever
would cure the wounds of the prince,—if a
woman, she should have him for her husband,
— if a man, he should have half his kingdom.

Now when Nella, who was pining away
for the loss of the prince, heard this, she
dyed her face, and disguised herself, and
unknown to her sisters she left home, to go
and see him before his death. But as by
this time the Sun’s gilded balls, with which
he plays in the fields of Heaven, were run-
ning towards the west, night overtook her in
a wood, close to the house of an ogre, where,
in order to get out of the way of danger,
she climbed up into a tree. Meanwhile the
ogre and his wife were sitting at table, with
the windows open, in order to enjoy the
fresh air while they ate; and as soon as
they had emptied their cups, and put out
the lamps, they began to chat of one thing
and another; so that Nella, who was as
near to them as the mouth to the nose,
heard every word they spoke.

Among other things, the ogress said to
BSE Geass



ee
THE THREE SISTERS 67

her husband, ‘ My pretty Hairy-hide, tell me,
what news? what do they say abroad in
the world?’ And he answered, ‘Trust me
there’s not a hand’s-breadth clean ; every-
thing is going topsy-turvy and awry.’
‘But what is it?’ replied his wife. ‘Why,
I could tell pretty stories of all the confu-
sion that is going on,’ said the ogre; ‘for
one hears things that are enough to drive
one mad, such as buffoons rewarded with
gifts, rogues esteemed, cowards honoured,
robbers and assassins protected, and honest
men little thought of and less prized. But
as these things are enough to make one
burst with vexation, I will merely tell you
what has befallen the king’s son. He had
made a crystal path, along which he used to
go to visit a pretty lass ; but by some means
or other, I know not how, all the road has
been broken; and as he was going along
the passage as usual he wounded him-
self in such a manner, that before he can
stop the leak the whole conduit of his life
will run out. The king has indeed issued
a proclamation, with great promises to who-
ever cures his son; but it is all labour lost,
and the best thing he can do is quickly to get
ready mourning and prepare the funeral.’
When Nella heard the cause of the
prince’s illness, she sobbed and wept bitterly,
and said to herself, ‘Who is the wicked soul
that has broken the passage along which
68 THE -PENTAMERONE

my painted bird used to pass?’ But as the
ogress now went on speaking, Nella was as
silent as a mouse and listened.

‘And is it possible,’ said the ogress, ‘that
the world is lost to this poor prince, and
that no remedy can be found for his
malady? Bid physic then creep into the
oven—bid the doctors put a halter round
their necks and return the money to their
pupils, since they cannot find any effectual
recipe to restore health to the prince.’

‘Hark ye, Granny,’ replied the ogre, ‘the
doctors are not called upon to find remedies
that may pass the bounds of nature. This
is no common colic that an oil-bath might
remove; it is not a boil to be cured with
fig-poultices, nor a fever that will yield to
medicine and diet ; much less are these or-
dinary wounds which require pledgets of
lint and oil of hypericon; for the charm
that was on the broken glass produces the
same effect as onion-juice does on the iron
heads of arrows, which makes the wound
incurable. There is one thing only that
could save his life ; but don’t ask me to tell
it you, for it is a thing of importance.’ ‘Do
tell me, dear old Long-tusk!’ cried the
ogress; ‘tell me, if you would not see me
die.’ ‘Well then,’ said the ogre, ‘1 will tell
you, provided you promise me not to confide
it to any living soul; for it would be the
ruin of our house and the destruction of our
THE THREE SISTERS 69

lives” ‘Fear nothing, my dear sweet little
husband,’ replied the ogress ; ‘for you shall
sooner see pigs with horns, apes with tails,
moles with eyes, than a single word shall
pass my lips.’ And so saying she put one
hand upon the other and swore to it. ‘You
must know then,’ said the ogre, ‘that there
is nothing under the sky nor above the
ground that can save the prince from the
snares of death but our fat: if his wounds
are anointed with this, his soul will be
arrested which is just on the point of leaving
the dwelling of his body.’

Nella, who overheard all that passed, gave
time to Time, to let them finish their chat ;
and then getting down from the tree, and
taking heart, she knocked at the ogre’s door,
crying, ‘Ah! my good ogrish masters, I
pray you for charity, alms, some sign of com-
passion ! have alittle pity on a poor, miserable,
wretched creature, who is banished by fate
far from her own country and deprived of all
human aid, who has been overtaken by
night in this wood and is dying of cold and
hunger.’ And crying thus, she went on
knocking and knocking at the door.

Upon hearing this deafening noise, the
ogress was going to throw her half a loaf
and send her away ; but the ogre, who was
more greedy of Christian flesh than the
squirrel is of nuts, the bear of honey, the cat
of fish, the sheep of salt, or the ass of bran,
7O THE PENTAMERONE

said to his wife, ‘ Let the poor creature come
in; for if she sleeps in the fields, who knows
but she may be eaten up by some wolf.’ In
short he talked and talked so much that his
wife at length opened the door for Nella;
whilst, with all his pretended charity, he was
all the time reckoning on making four mouth-
fuls of her. But the glutton counts one way
and the host another; for the ogre and his
wife having drunk till they were fairly tipsy
and lain down to sleep, Nella took a knife
from a cupboard and made a hash of them
in a trice; then she put all the fat into a
phial, and went straight to the court, where
presenting herself before the king she offered
to cure the prince. At this the king was
overjoyed, and led her to the chamber of
his son; and no sooner had she anointed
him well with the fat than the wounds closed
in a moment, just as if she had thrown water
on a fire; and he became as sound as a fish.

When the king saw this, he said to his
son, ‘This good woman deserves the reward
promised by the proclamation,—that you
should take her to wife” But the prince
replied, ‘It is hopeless, for I have no store-
room full of hearts in my body to share
among so many; my heart is already
disposed of, and another woman is the
mistress of it.’ Nella, hearing this, replied,
‘You should no longer think of her who
has been the cause of all your misfortune.’
THE THREE SISTERS 71

‘My misfortune has been brought on me by
her sisters,’ answered the prince, ‘and they
shall repent it’ ‘Then do you really love
her?’ said Nella: and the prince replied,
‘More than my own life’ ‘Embrace me
then,’ said Nella, ‘for I am the fire of your
heart.’ But the prince, seeing the dark hie
of her face, answered, ‘I should sooner take
you for the coal than the fire ; so keep off—
don’t blacken me.’ Whereupon Nella, per-
ceiving that he did not know her, called for
a basin of clean water and washed her face :
and as soon as the cloud of soot was removed,
the sun shone forth; and the prince re-
cognising her, pressed her to his heart, and
took her for his wife. Then he had her
sisters thrown into an oven, that like leeches
they might discharge in the ashes their
blood, that was corrupted by envy, thus
proving the truth of the old saying,

No evil ever went without punishment.

This story went to the hearts of all who
heard it, and they praised the prince a
thousand times for his conduct to Nella’s
sisters, while they lauded to the stars the
deep love of the maiden, who had with such
pains cured the prince’s wounds. But
Taddeo, making a sign for all to be silent,
now commanded. Meneca to do her part, and
she consequently paid the debt in the :
following manner.














VIOLET

NVY is a wind which blows with
such violence that it throws down
the props of the reputation of
good men, and levels with the
ground the crops of good fortune. But very
often, as a punishment from Heaven, when
this envious blast seems as if it would cast
a person flat on the ground, it aids him
instead to attain the happiness he is expect-
ing sooner even than he hoped ; as you will
hear in the story which I shall now tell you,




There was once upon a time a good kind
of man named Cola Aniello, who had three
daughters, Rose, Pink, and Violet; the last
of whom was so beautiful that her very
look was a syrup of love, which relieved
the hearts of beholders of all uneasiness.
Ciullone, the king’s son, was burning with
love of her, and every time he passed by
VIOLET 73

the little cottage where these three sisters
sat at work, he took off his cap and said,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ and she
replied, ‘Good day, king’s son! I know more
than you.’ At these words her sisters
grumbled and murmured, saying, ‘You are
an ill-bred creature, and will make the prince
inafinerage!’ Butas Violet paid no heed
to what they said, they made a spiteful
complaint of her to their father, telling him
that she was too bold and forward, and that
she answered the prince without any respect,
as if she were just as good as he, and that
some day or other she would get into trouble,
and suffer the just punishment of her
offence. So Cola Aniello, who was a prudent
man, in order to prevent any mischief,
sent Violet to stay with an aunt named
Cuccepannella, to be set to work.

Now the prince, when he passed by the
house as usual, no longer seeing the object
of his love, was for some days like a night-
ingale that does not find her young ones in
the nest, and goes from leaf to leaf wailing
and lamenting her loss ; but he put his ear
so often to the chink, that at last he dis-
covered where Violet lived. Then he went
to the aunt, and said to her, ‘Madam, you
know who I am, and what power I have ‘
so, between ourselves, do me a favour, and
then ask me for whatever you wish. ‘If
I can do anything to serve you,’ replied the
74 THE PENTAMERONE

old woman, ‘I am entirely at your command.’
‘I ask nothing of you,’ said the prince, ‘but
to let me give Violet a kiss.’ ‘If that’s all,’
answered the old woman, ‘go and hide
yourself in the room downstairs in the
garden, and I will find some pretence or
another for sending Violet to you.’

As soon as the prince heard this, he stole
into the room without loss of time, and the
old woman, pretending that she wanted to
cut a piece of cloth, said to her niece,
Violet, if you love me, go down and fetch
me the yard-measure.’ So Violet went, as
her aunt bade her; but when she came to
the room, she perceived the ambush, and
taking the yard-measure she slipped out of
the room as nimbly as a cat, leaving the
prince bursting with vexation.

When the old woman saw Violet come
running so fast, she suspected that the trick
had not succeeded ; so presently after she
said to the girl, ‘Go downstairs, niece, and
fetch me the ball of Brescian thread that is
on the top shelf in the cupboard.’ So
Violet ran, and taking the thread slipped
like an eel out of the hands of the prince.
But after a little while the old woman said
again, ‘Violet, my dear, if you do not go
downstairs and fetch me the scissors, I am
totally undone.’ Then Violet went down
again, but she sprang as vigorously as a
dog out of the trap; and when she came
VIOLET 75

upstairs, she took the scissors and cut off
one of her aunt’s ears, saying, ‘Take that,
madam, as a reward for your pains—every
deed deserves its meed; and if I don’t cut
off your nose, it is only that you may smell
the bad odour of your reputation.’ So say-
ing she went away home with a hop, skip,
and jump, leaving her aunt eased.of her ear,
and the prince full of Let-me-alone.

Not long afterwards the prince again
passed by the house of Violet’s father, and
seeing her at the window where she was
used to stand, he began to his old tune,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ whereupon
she answered as quickly as a good parish-
clerk, ‘Good day, king’s son! I know more
than you.’ But Violet’s sisters could no
longer bear this behaviour, and they plotted
together how to get rid of her. Now one of
the windows looked into the garden of an
ogre ; so they proposed to drive the poor girl
away through this; and letting fall from it
a skein of thread, with which they were
working a door-curtain for the queen, they
cried, ‘Alas, alas! we are ruined and un-
done, and shall not be able to finish the
work in time, if Violet, who is the smallest
and lightest of us, does not let herself down
by a cord and pick up the thread that has
fallen.’

Violet could not bear to see her sisters
grieving thus, and instantly offered to go
76 THE PENTAMERONE

down ; so tying a cord to her, they lowered
her into the garden ; but no sooner did she
reach the ground, than they let go the rope.
It happened that just at that time the ogre
caine out to take a look at his garden, and
having caught cold from the dampness of
the ground, he gave such a tremendous
sneeze, with such a noise and explosion,
that Violet screamed out with terror, ‘Oh,
mother, help me!’ Thereupon the ogre
turned round, and seeing the beautiful
maiden behind him, he received her with
the greatest Kindness and affection ; and
treating her as his own daughter, he gave
her in charge of three fairies, bidding them
take care of her, and rear her up on
cherries.

The prince, no longer seeing Violet, and
hearing no news of her, good or bad, fell
into such grief, that his eyes became swollen,
his face grew pale as ashes, his lips livid,
and he neither ate a morsel to get flesh on
his body, nor slept a wink to get any rest
to his mind. But trying all possible means,
and offering large rewards, he went about
spying and inquiring everywhere, until at
last he discovered where Violet was. Then
he sent for the ogre, and told him that,
finding himself ill (as he might see was the
case), he begged of him permission to spend
a single day and night in his garden,
adding that a small chamber would suffice
VIOLET 77

for him to repose in. Now, as the ogre
was a subject of the prince’s father, he could
not refuse him this trifling pleasure ; so he
offered him all the rooms in his house,
if one was not enough, and his very life
itself. The prince thanked him, and chose
a room which by good luck was near to
Violet’s ; and as soon as night came, the
prince, finding that Violet had left her door
open, as it was summer-time and the place
was safe, stole softly into the room, and
taking Violet’s arm gave her two pinches.
Thereupon she awoke, and exclaimed, «O
father, father, what a quantity of fleas !?
Then she went to another bed, and the
prince did the same again, and Violet cried
out in the same way; then she changed
first the mattress, and afterwards the sheet,
and so the sport went on the whole night
long, until the dawn.

As soon as it was day, the prince passing
by that house, and seeing the maiden at
the door, said, as he was wont to do,
‘Good day, good day, Violet!’ and when
Violet replied, ‘Good day, king’s son! I
know more than you,’ the prince answered,
*O father, father, what a quantity of fleas !?

The instant Violet felt this shot, she
guessed at once that the prince had been
the cause of her annoyance in the past
night; so off she ran and told it to the
fairies. ‘If it be he,’ said the fairies,
78 THE PENTAMERONE

‘we will soon give him tit for tat and as
good in return; and if this dog has bitten
you, we will contrive to get a hair from
him: he has given you one, and-we will
give him back one and a half, Only get
the ogre to make you a pair of slippers
covered with little bells, and leave the rest
to us: we will take care to pay him in good
coin,’

Violet, who was eager to be revenged,
instantly got the ogre to make the slippers
for her ; and waiting until night had fallen,
they went all four together to the house of
the prince, where the fairies and Violet hid
themselves in the chamber. And as soon
as ever the prince had closed his eyes, the
fairies made a great noise and racket, and
Violet began to stamp with her feet at such
a rate that, what with the clatter of her
heels and the jingling of the bells, the prince
awoke in great terror and cried out, *O
mother, mother, help me!’ And_ after
repeating this two or three times, they
slipped away home.

The next morning the prince, having
taken some citron-juice and other cordials
to relieve his fear, went to take a walk in
the garden ; for he could not live a moment
without the sight of Violet, And seeing her
standing at the door, he said, ‘Good day,
good day, Violet!’ and Violet answered,
‘Good day, king’s son! I know more than
VIOLET - 79

you,” Then the prince said, «O father,
father, what a quantity of fleas!’ but Violet
replied, ‘O mother, mother, help me !?

When the prince heard this, he said to
Violet, ‘You have won—you have outwitted
me: I yield—you have conquered; and
now that I see you really know more than I
do, I will marry you without further ado.’
So he called the ogre, and asked her of him
for his wife ; but the ogre said it was not his
affair, for he had learnt that very morning
that Violet was the daugher of Cola Aniello.
So the prince ordered her father to be called,
and told him of the good fortune that was
in store for his daughter; whereupon the
marriage feast was celebrated with great
joy, and the truth of the saying was seen,
that :

A fair maiden soon gets married,

The delight was unspeakable which all felt
at the good fortune which Violet had ob-
tained by her cleverness, in spite of the
malice of her sisters, who, the enemies of
their own blood and kindred, played her so
many tricks on purpose to cause her to
come to grief. But it being now time for
Paola to pay the debt she owed, she dis-
bursed from her mouth the golden money of
her beautiful discourse, and thus cleared her
account,






GAGLIUSO

GRATITUDE, my lord, is a
nail, which, driven into the tree
of courtesy, causes it to wither ;
it is a broken channel, by which
the foundations of affection are undermined ;
and a lump of soot, which falling into the
dish of friendship destroys its scent and
savour; as is seen in daily instances, and
among others in the story which I will now
tell you.



There was one time in my dear city of
Naples an old man who was as poor as poor
could be: he was so wretched, so bare, so
light, and with not a farthing in his pocket,
that he went naked as a flea. And being
about to shake out the bags of life, he called
to him his sons, Oratiello and Pippo, and
said to them, ‘I am now called upon by the
tenor of my bill to pay the debt I owe to
GAGLIUSO 81

Nature; and believe me I should feel great
pleasure in leaving this abode of misery,
but that I leave you here behind me, a pair
of miserable fellows, without a stitch upon
your backs, without so much as a fly can
carry upon its foot ; so that were you to run
a hundred miles, not a farthing would drop
from you. My ill-fortune has indeed brought
me to such beggary that I lead the life of a
dog; for I have all along, as you well know,
gaped with hunger and gone to bed without
a candle. Nevertheless, now that I am
dying, I wish to leave you some token of
my love, So do you, Oratiello, who are my
first-born, take the sieve that hangs yonder
against the wall, with which you can earn
your bread ; and do you, little fellow, take
the cat, and remember your daddy.’ So
saying he began to whimper, and presently
after said, ‘ God be with you, for it is night !?

Oratiello had his father buried by charity,
and then took the sieve, and went riddling
here and there and everywhere to gain a
livelihood; and the more he riddled the
more he earned. And Pippo, taking the
cat, said, ‘ Only see now what a pretty legacy
my father has left me! I, who am not able
to support myself, must now provide for two,
Who ever beheld such a miserable inherit-
ance?’ But the cat, who overheard this
lamentation, said to him, ‘ You are grieving
without need, and have more luck than

’ 6
82 THE PENTAMERONE

sense ; but you little know the good fortune
in store for you, and that I am able to make
you rich if I set about it When Pippo
heard this, he thanked her pussyship, stroked
her three or four times on the back, and
commended himself warmly to her. So the
cat took compassion upon poor Gagliuso,
and every morning she betook herself either
to the shore of the Chiaja or to the Fish-
rock, and catching a goodly gray mullet, or
a fine dory, she bagged it, and carried it to
the king, and said, ‘My lord Gagliuso, your
Majesty’s most humble slave, sends you this
fish with all reverence, and says, “A small
present to a great lord.”’ Then the king
with a joyful face, as one usually shows to
those who bring a gift, answered the cat,
‘Tell this lord, whom I do not know, that I
thank him heartily’

At another time the cat would run to the
marshes or fields, and when the fowlers had
brought down a blackbird, a snipe, or a
lark, she caught it up, and presented it to
the king with the same message. She re-
peated this trick again and again, until one
morning the king said to her, ‘1 feel infinitely
obliged to this lord Gagliuso, and am desirous
of knowing him, that I may make a return
for the kindness he has shown me.’ And
the cat replied, ‘The desire of my lord
Gagliuso is to give his life and blood for
your Majesty’s crown, and to-morrow morn-
GAGLIUSO 83

ing without fail, as soon as the Sun has set
fire to the stubble of the fields of air, he will
come and pay his respects to you.’

So when the morning came the cat went
to the king, and said to him, ‘ Sire, my lord
Gagliuso sends to excuse himself for not
coming ; as last night some of his servants
robbed him and ran off, and have not left
him a single shirt to his back.’ When the
king heard this, he instantly commanded his
servants to take out of his wardrobe a
quantity of clothes and linen, and sent them
to Gagliuso; and before two hours had
passed Gagliuso went to the palace, con-
ducted by the cat, where he received a
thousand compliments from the king, who
made him sit beside him, and gave him a
banquet that would amaze you.

While they were eating Gagliuso from
time to time turned to the cat, and said to
her, ‘ My pretty puss, prithee take care that
those rags don’t slip through our fingers.’
Then the cat answered, ‘Be quiet, be quiet ;
don’t be talking of these beggarly things.’
The king wishing to know what it was, the
cat made answer that he had taken a fancy
for a small lemon, whereupon the king
instantly set out to the garden for a basket-
ful. But Gagliuso returned to the same
tune about the old clothes and shirts, and
the cat again told him to hold his tongue.
Then the king once more asked what was
84 THE PENTAMERONE

the matter, and the cat had another excuse
ready to make amends for Gagliuso’s rude-
ness.

At last when they had eaten and had
chatted for some time of one thing and
another, Gagliuso took his leave; and the
cat stayed with the king, describing the worth,
and the genius, and the judgment of Gagliuso,
and, above all, the great wealth he had in
the plains of Rome and Lombardy, which
well entitled him to marry into the family
of a crowned king. Then the king asked
what might be his fortune; and the cat
replied that no one could ever count the
movables, the immovables, and the house-
hold furniture of this immensely rich man,
who did not even know what he possessed ;
and if the king wished to be informed of it,
he had only to send people with her out of
the kingdom, and she would prove to him
that there was no wealth in the world equal
to his.

Then the king called some trusty persons,
and commanded them to inform themselves
minutely of the truth ; so they followed in
the footsteps of the cat, who, as soon as they
had passed the frontier of the kingdom, from
time to time ran on before, under the pretext
of providing refreshments for them on the
road; and whenever she met a flock of
sheep, a herd of cows, a troop of horses, or
a drove of pigs, she would say to the herds-
GAGLIUSO 85

men and-keepers, ‘Ho! have acare! there’s
a troop of robbers coming to carry off every-
thing in the country. So if you wish to
escape their fury, and to have your things
respected, say that they all belong to the lord
Gagliuso, and not a hair will be touched.’

She said the same at all the farmhouses
that she passed on the road ; so that where-
ever the king’s people came, they found the
pipe tuned; for everything they met with,
they were told, belonged to the lord Gagliuso.
So at last they were tired of asking, and
went back to the king, telling seas and
mountains of the riches of lord Gagliuso.
The king, hearing this report, promised the
cat a good drink if she should manage to
bring about the match; and the cat con-
cluded the marriage. So Gagliuso came,
and the king gave him his daughter and a
large portion,

At the end of a month of festivities
Gagliuso said he wished to take his bride to
his estates: so the king accompanied them
as far as the frontiers, and he went to
Lombardy, where, by the cat’s advice, he
purchased a quantity of lands and territories,
and became a baron.

Gagliuso, now seeing himself so extremely
rich, thanked the cat more than words can
express, saying that he owed his life and his
greatness to her good offices, and that the
ingenuity of a cat had done more for him
86 THE PENTAMERONE

than the wit of his father; therefore she
might dispose of his life and property as she
pleased ; and he gave her his word that
when she died, which he prayed might not
be for a hundred years, he would have her
embalmed and put into a golden coffin, and
set in his own chamber, that he might keep
her memory always before his eyes.

The cat listened to these lavish profes-
sions, and before three days were over she
pretended to be dead, and stretched herself
at her full length in the garden; and when
Gagliuso’s wife saw her, she cried out, ‘O
husband, what a sad misfortune! the cat is
dead!’ ‘Devil die with her!’ said Gagliuso,
‘better she than we!’ ‘What shall we do
with her?’ asked the wife. ‘Take her by the
leg, said he, ‘and fling her out of the window.’

Then the cat, who heard this fine reward
when she least expected it, began to say,
‘Is this the return you make for my taking
you from beggary? is this the thanks I get
for freeing you from rags that you might
have hung distaffs with? is this my reward
for having put good clothes on your back,
and fed you well when you were a poor,
starved, miserable, tatter-brogued raga-
muffin? But such is the fate of him who
washes an ass’s head. Go, a curse upon
all I have done for you! you are not worth
spitting upon in the face. A fine gold
coffin you had prepared for me! a fine funeral
- GAGLIUSO 87

you were going to give me! Go now, serve
labour, toil, sweat, to get this fine reward!
-Unhappy. is» he who does a good deed’ in
hopes of.a return! Well was it said by the
philosopher, ‘He who lies down an ass,
an ass he finds himself.’ But let him who
does miost expect least: smooth words and:
‘ill deeds deceive alike both wise and fools,’
So saying she’ threw her cloak about her, .
and went her way; and all that Gagtiuso
. With the utmost: humility could do to soothe
. her was of no avail: she would not return, .
but kept running on without ever turning her
head about, and saying,

Heaven protect us from a rich man grown poor,
“And d from a beggar who of wealth has got: store,

The poor cat was compassionated beyond
measure for seeing herself so ill rewarded ;
but one of those present observed, that she
might have found some consolation in not-
‘peing alone; for at the present day ingrati-.
tude has become a domestic evil; and there
are many others also who, after. they have
worked and toiled, and spent, their money,
and ruined their health, to serve this race of

_ungrateful people, and have fancied them-
selves sure of another and a better: reward

: than a golden coffin, find themselves destined
to be buried in the hospital. Meanwhile,
seeing that Popa was preparing to speak, all
present were silent, and she began as follows,






ESTES SIO SIO

RACIST AOS SILLS)

e







THE SERPENT

T always happens that he who is
over-curious in prying into the
affairs of other people strikes his
own foot with the axe; and the

King of Long Furrow is a proof of this, who,
by poking his nose into secrets, brought his
daughter into trouble, and ruined his un-
happy son-in-law, who, in attempting to
make a thrust with his head, was left with
his head broken.



There was once on a time a gardener’s
wife, who longed to have a son more than
the suitor longs for a sentence in his favour,
a sick man for cold water, or the innkeeper
for the arrival of the mail-coach.

It chanced one day that the poor man
went to the mountain to get a faggot; and
when he came home and opened it, he
found a pretty little serpent among the twigs.
THE SERPENT 89

At the sight of this, Sapatella (for that was
the name of the gardener’s wife) heaved a
deep sigh and said, ‘Alas! even the
serpents have their little serpents; but I
brought illluck with me into this world’
At these words the little serpent spoke, and
said, ‘Well then, since you cannot have
children, take me for a child, and you will
make a good bargain, for I shall love you
better than my own mother.’ Sapatella,
hearing a serpent speak thus, had like to
have fainted ; but plucking up courage she
said, ‘If it were for nothing else than for
the affection which you offer, 1 am content
to take you, and treat you as if you were
really my ownchild.’ So saying, she assigned
him a hole in a corner of the house for a
cradle, and gave him for food a share of
what she had, with the greatest affection in
the world.

The serpent increased in size from day to
day ; and when he was grown pretty big, he
said to Cola Matteo, the gardener, whom he
looked upon as his father, ‘Daddy, I want
to get married? ‘With all my heart,’ said
Cola Matteo ; ‘we must look out for another
serpent like yourself, and try to make up a
match between you.’ ‘What serpent are
you talking of ?? said the little serpent: ‘1
suppose, forsooth, we are all the same with
the vipers and adders! It is easy to see
you are nothing but an Antony, and make
go THE PENTAMERONE

a nosegay of every plant. I want the king’s
daughter; so go this very instant and ask
the king for her, and tell him it is a serpent
that demands her,’

Cola Matteo, who was a plain, straight-
forward sort of man, and knew nothing
about matters of this kind, went innocently
to the king and delivered his message, say-
ing, ‘The messenger should not be beaten
more than the sands upon the shore. Know
then that a serpent wants your daughter for
his wife, and I am come therefore to try if
we can make a match between a serpent and
a dove.’ The king, who saw at a glance
that he was a blockhead, to get rid of him
said, ‘Go and tell the serpent that I will
give him my daughter if he turns ‘all the
fruit of this orchard into gold” And so
saying, he burst out a-laughing and dismissed
him,

When Cola Matteo went home, and de-
livered the answer to the serpent, he said,
‘Go to-morrow morning and gather up all
the fruit-stones you can find in the city, and
sow them in the orchard, and you will see
pearls strung on rushes.’ Cola Matteo,
who was no conjurer, knew neither how to
comply nor refuse ; so next morning he took
a basket on his arm, and went from street
to street picking up all the stones of peaches,
plums, nectarines, apricots, and cherries that
he could find: then he went to the orchard
THE SERPENT or

of the palace, and sowed them as the serpent
had desired. In an instant the trees shot
up, and stems and:branches, leaves, flowers,
and fruit, were all of glistening gold; at the
sight of which the king was in an ecstasy of
amazement, and cried aloud with joy.

But when Cola Matteo was sent by the
serpent to the king to demand the perform-
ance of his promise, the king said, ‘Fair
and easy, I must first have something else,
if he would have my daughter; and it is
that he make all: the walls and the ground
in the orchard to be of precious stones.’

When the gardener told this to the serpent,
he made answer, ‘Go to-morrow morning
and gather up all the bits of broken crockery-
ware you can find, and throw them on the
walks, and on the wall of the orchard, for
we will not let this difficulty stand in our
way. As soon as it was morning, Cola
Matteo took a basket under his arm, and
went about collecting bits of tiles, lids and
bottoms of pipkins, pieces of plates and
dishes, handles of jugs, spouts of pitchers ;
picking up all the spoilt, broken, flawed,
cracked lamps, and all the fragments of
pottery of every sort he could find in his
way. And when he had done all that the
serpent had told him, there was to be seen
the whole orchard mantled with emeralds
and chalcedonies, and coated with rubies
and carbuncles. The king was struck all of
92 THE PENTAMERONE

a heap at the sight, and knew not what had
befallen him. But when the serpent sent
again to let him know that he was expecting
the performance of his promise, the king
answered, ‘Oh! all that has been done is
nothing, if he does not turn this palace into
gold,’ .
When Cola Matteo told the serpent this
new fancy of the king’s, the serpent said,
‘Go and get a bundle of herbs of different
kinds, and rub the bottom of the palace walls
with them: we shall see if we cannot satisfy
this whim.’ Away went Cola Matteo that
very moment, and made a great broom of
cabbages, radishes, rockets, purslain, turnips,
and carrots; and when he had rubbed the
lower part of the palace with it, instantly
you might see it shining like gold. And
when the gardener came again to demand
the princess to wife in the name of the
serpent, the king, seeing all retreat cut off,
called his daughter, and said to her: ‘My
dear Grannonia, I have endeavoured to get
rid of a suitor who asked you for his wife,
by making such conditions as seemed to me
impossible ; but seeing myself foiled, and
obliged to consent, I know not how, I pray
you, as you are a dutiful daughter, to enable
me to keep my word, and to be content with
what Heaven wills and I am obliged to do.’
‘Do as you please, papa,’ said Gran-
nonia; ‘I shall not oppose a single jot of
THE SERPENT 93

your will’ The king hearing this bade
Cola Matteo tell the serpent to come.

The serpent, on receiving the invitation,
set out for the palace mounted on a car all
of gold, and drawn by four golden elephants.
But wherever he came the people fled away
in terror, at seeing such a large and frightful
serpent making his progress through the
city: and when he arrived at the palace the
courtiers all trembled like rushes, and ran
away, and even the very scullions did not
dare to stay in the place. The king and queen
also, shivering with fear, crept into a chamber,
and Grannonia alone stood her ground ; for
though her father and her mother kept cry-
ing out, ‘Fly, fly, Grannonia! save your-
self!’ she would not stir from the spot,
saying, ‘ Why should I fly from the husband
whom you have given me?’ And when
the serpent came into the room, he took
Grannonia by the waist in his tail, and gave
her such a shower of kisses, that the king
writhed like a worm; and I warrant, if he
had been bled, not a single drop of blood
would have come. Then the serpent carried
her into another room, and fastened the
door ; and shaking off his skin on the ground,
he became a most beautiful youth, with a
head all covered with ringlets of gold, and
with eyes that would enchant you.

When the king saw the serpent going
into the room with his daughter, and shut-
94 THE PENTAMERONE

ting the door after him, he said to his wife,
‘Heaven have mercy on that good soul my
daughter! for she is dead to a certainty,
and that accursed serpent has doubtless
swallowed her down like the yolk of an
egg!’ Then he put his eye to the keyhole
to see what had become of her; but when
he saw the exceeding beauty of the youth,
and the skin of the serpent that he had left
lying on the ground, he gave the door a
kick; then in they rushed, and taking the
skin flung it into the fire and burned it.
When the youth saw this, he cried out,
‘Ah, you renegade dogs, you have done for
me!’ and instantly he turned himself into
a dove, and was going to fly away through
the window; but he struck his head against
the panes until he broke them, and cut him-
self in such a manner that there did not
remain a whole spot on his pate.
Grannonia, who thus saw herself at the
same moment happy and unhappy, joyful
and miserable, rich and poor, tore her face
and bewailed her fate, reproaching her father
and mother for this interruption of pleasure,
this poisoning of sweets, this overthrow of
good fortune ; but they excused themselves,
declaring that they had not meant to do
harm. But Grannonia went on weeping
and wailing until night; and when she saw
that all were in bed, she took her jewels,
which were in a writing-desk, and went out
THE SERPENT 95

by a back-door, intending to search every-
where till she found the treasure she had
lost.

So she went out of the city, guided by
the light of the moon, and on her way she
‘met a fox, who asked her if she wished for
company. ‘Of all things, my friend,’
answered Grannonia, ‘] should be delighted,
for I am not over-well acquainted with the
country.’ So they travelled along together
till they came to a wood, where the trees, at
play like children, were making baby-houses
for the shadows to lie in; and being now
wearied with their journey, and wishing to
repose, they retired to the covert of the
leaves, where a fountain was playing carnival
pranks with the green grass, flinging the
water on it by dishfuls; and stretching
themselves on a mattress of tender soft
grass, they paid the duty of repose which
they owed to Nature for the merchandise of
life.

They did not awake till the Sun, with his
usual fire, gave the signal to sailors and
couriers to set out on their road; and after
they awoke, they still stayed for some time
listening to the singing of the various birds,
for Grannonia showed great pleasure in
hearing the warbling and twittering they
made ; and the fox seeing this said to her,
‘You would feel twice as much pleasure if
you understood, like me, what they are
96 THE PENTAMERONE

saying.’ At these words Grannonia—for
women are by nature as curious as they are
talkative—begged the fox to tell her what
he had heard the birds saying in their own
language. So after having let her entreat
him for a long time, in order to raise her
curiosity about what he was going to relate,
he told her that the birds were talking to
one another of what had lately befallen the
king’s son, who was as beautiful as a fay,
and because he would not comply with the .
wishes of a wicked ogress, had been laid
under a spell by her magic power to pass
seven years in the form of a serpent; that
“he had nearly ended the seven years, when
he fell in love with the daughter of a king;
and being one day in a room with the
maiden, and having cast his skin on the
ground, her father and mother, out of
curiosity, rushed in and burned his skin;
whereupon as the prince was flying away in
the shape of a dove, he broke a pane in the
window to escape, and had hurt his head in
such a manner that he was given over by
the doctors.

Grannonia, who thus heard her own story
spoken of, first of all asked whose son this
prince was, and then if there was any hope
of cure for his accident. And the fox
replied, that the birds had said his father
was the king of Big Valley, and that there
was no other secret for stopping the holes
THE SERPENT 97

in his skull, to prevent his soul getting out
at them, than to anoint his wounds with the
blood of those very birds who had been
telling the story. When Grannonia heard
these words, she fell down on her knees to
the fox, entreating of him to oblige her,
by catching those birds for her, that she
might get their blood; adding, that then,
like honest comrades, they would share the
gain. ‘Fair and softly,’ said the fox, ‘let
us wait till night, and when the birds are
gone to bed, let your mammy alone, for I
will climb up the tree and weasen them one
after another.’

So they passed the whole day, talking one
time of the beauty of the young prince, then
of the mistake made by the maiden’s father,
then of the mishap that had befallen the
prince, chatting and chatting away till Day
was gone. Then the fox, as soon as he
saw all the birds fast asleep on the branches,
stole up quite softly, and, one after another,
throttled all the linnets, larks, tomtits, black-
birds, woodpeckers, thrushes, jays, fly-
catchers, little owls, goldfinches, bullfinches,
chaffinches and redbreasts that were on the
trees. And when he had killed them all,
they put the blood into a little bottle, which
the fox carried with him to refresh himself
on the road.

Grannonia was so overjoyed that she
hardly touched the ground; but the fox

H
98 THE PENTAMERONE

said to her, ‘What fine joy in a dream is
this, my daughter! you have done nothing
unless you have my blood also to mix with
that of the birds ;’ and so saying he set off
running away. Grannonia, who saw all her
hopes destroyed, had recourse to woman’s
art, cunning and flattery; and she said to
him, ‘Gossip fox, there would be some
reason for your saving your hide if I were
not under so many obligations to you, and
if there were no other foxes in the world;
but as you know how much I owe you, and
know also that there is no scarcity of the
like of you in these plains, you may rely on
my good faith. So don’t act like the cow
that kicks down the pail when she has just
filled it with milk. You have done the
chief part, and now you fail at the ‘best.
Do stop ; believe me, and come with me to
the city of this king, where you may sell me
for a slave if you will.’

The fox, who never dreamed that the
quintessence of foxery was to be met with,
found himself out-foxed by a woman. So
he agreed to travel on with Grannonia; but
they had hardly gone fifty paces, when she
lifted up the stick she carried, and gave
him with it such a neat rap that he forth-
with stretched his legs. Then cutting his
throat, she quickly took the blood and
poured it into the little bottle ; and setting
off again, she stopped not until she came to
THE SERPENT 99

Big Valley, where she went straightway to
the royal palace, and sent word to the king
that she was come to cure the prince.

Then the king ordered her to come into
his presence, and he was astonished at
seeing a girl undertake a thing which the
best doctors in his kingdom had failed to
do: however, as a trial could do no harm,
he said that he wished greatly to see the ex-
periment made. But Grannonia answered,
‘If I show you the effect that you desire,
you must promise to give him to me for a
husband.’ The king, who looked upon ‘his
son to be as good as dead, answered her,
‘If you give him to me safe and sound, I
will give him to you sound and safe ; for it
is no great matter to give a husband to her
who gives me a son.’

So they went to the chamber of the
prince, and hardly had she anointed him
with the blood, when he found himself just
as if nothing had ever ailed him. And
Grannonia, when she saw the prince stout
and hearty, bade the king keep his word;
whereupon the king turning round to his
son said, ‘My son, a moment ago you were
all but dead, and now I see you alive, and
can hardly believe it, Therefore, as I have
promised this maiden, that if she cured you
she should have you for a husband, now
that Heaven has shown you favour, enable
me to perform my promise, by all the love
100 THE PENTAMERONE

you bear me, since gratitude obliges me to
pay this debt.’

When the prince heard these words he
replied, ‘Sir, I would that I had such free-
dom of my will as to prove to you the love
I bear you; but as I have already pledged
my faith to another woman, you would not
consent that I should break my word, nor
would this maiden wish me to do such a
wrong to her whom I love; nor can I indeed
alter my mind.’

Grannonia, hearing this, felt a secret
pleasure not to be described at finding her-
self still alive in the memory of the prince;
her whole face became crimson, and she
said, ‘If 1 should induce this maiden whom
you love to resign her claims to me, would
you then consent to my wish?’ ‘ Never,’
replied the prince, ‘never will I banish from
this breast the fair image of her I love; I
shall ever remain of the same mind and will ;
and I would sooner see myself in danger of
losing my place at the table of life, than
play such a trick or make this exchange.’

Grannonia could no longer remain in the
trammels of disguise, and discovered to the
prince who she was; for the chamber being
darkened on account of the wounds in his
head, and she being disguised, he had not
known her. But the prince, now that he
recognised her, embraced her with a joy
that would amaze you, telling his father who
THE SERPENT ror

she was, and what he had done and suffered
for her. Then they sent to invite her parents,
the king and queen of Long Furrow, and
they celebrated the wedding with wonderful
festivity, making great sport of the ninny of
a fox, and concluding at the last of the last,
that

Pain doth indeed a seasoning prove
Unto the joys of constant love.

From beginning to end Popa’s story made
the women laugh outright; but where it
spoke of their cunning, which was sufficient
to outwit a fox, they were delighted. But
let us return to Antonella, who was impatient
to speak ; and presently, after mustering her
thoughts, she spoke as follows.




ARS OS" ae
PETS OLS Oo OL SOTO) tory

Soy



THE SHE-BEAR

(RULY the wise man said well,
| that a command of gall cannot
be obeyed like one of sugar.
A man must require just and
reasonable things, if he would see the scales
of obedience properly trimmed. From
orders which are improper springs resistance
which is not easily overcome ; as happened
to the King of Rough-Rock, who, by asking
what he ought not of his daughter, caused
her to run away from him, at the risk of los-
ing both honour and life.




There was once upon a time a King of
Rough-Rock, who had a wife who was the
most beautiful woman in the world, and
whom he loved dearly. Now it came about
that in the full career of her years she fell
a victim to a cruel death, leaving him a
widower with an only daughter. Before
THE SHE-BEAR 103

dying the Queen said to the King of Rough-
Rock: ‘I beg you for the sake of the tender
love that you have borne to me to be good
to our poor daughter, who will need your
love doubly, now that I am taken away; and
when the hour shall have come to marry her,
seek a husband for her in such a wise that she
shall not have to leave our royal palace, so
that she may remain mistress there where she
has been born in our realm of Rough-Rock.’

And the king promised that he would do
all that which she demanded of him.

Now when Preziosa his daughter had
grown up to the age when it would be well
to give her a husband, the King of Rough-
Rock commanded that there should be in-
vited to the palace the youths of all the great-
est families of the kingdom, so that among
them he might choose the husband of the
princess, and the future successor to the
realm. When they had all come, the King
of Rough-Rock, instead of looking to their
merits, chose among them the least attract-
ive and the ugliest of all, because he was
the most noble and the richest.

When Preziosa saw the ugly and stupid
husband whom her father destined for her,
she broke forth into a furious invective
against his avarice and his pride, and re-
minded him of the promises made to her
dying mother, who certainly would not have
wished her to be sacrificed in this way.
104 THE PENTAMERONE

When the. king had listened to her
speech, he answered, ‘ Be silent, you naughty
girl, and make up your mind at once to
enter into this marriage, otherwise I will
punish you as you deserve,’

When Preziosa heard this menace she
retired to her chamber, and bewailed her ill
fortune. And whilst she was lamenting
thus, an old woman came to her, who was
her confidante. As soon as she saw Preziosa,
who seemed to belong more to the other
world than to this, and heard the cause of
her grief, the old woman said to her, ‘ Cheer
up, my daughter ; do not despair; there is
a remedy for every evil save death, Now
listen: if your father continues to press this
matter put this bit of wood into your mouth,
and instantly you will be changed into a
she-bear; then off with you! for in his
fright he will let you depart ; and go straight
to the wood, where heaven has kept good
fortune in store for you since the day you
were born ; and whenever you wish to appear
a woman, as you are and will remain, only
take the piece of wood out of your mouth,
and you will return to your true form.’ Then
Preziosa embraced the old woman, and
giving her a good apronful of meal, and
ham and bacon, sent her away.

As soon as the Sun began to set the king
ordered the musicians to come ; and inviting
all his lords and vassals he held a great
THE SHE-BEAR 105

feast. And after dancing for five or six
hours, they all sat down to table, and ate
and drank beyond measure. Then the king
asked his courtiers whether he could not
oblige Preziosa to marry whom he wished.
But the instant Preziosa heard this, she
slipped the bit of wood into her mouth,
and took the figure of a terrible she-bear ;
at the sight of which all present were
frightened out of their wits, and ran off as
fast as they could scamper.

Meanwhile Preziosa went out, and took
her way to a wood. And there she stayed
in the pleasant companionship of the other
animals, until the son of the King of Running-
Water came to hunt in that part of the
country, who at the sight of the bear had
like to have died on the spot. But when he
saw the beast come gently up to him, wag-
ging her tail like a little dog and rubbing
her sides against him, he took courage, and
patted her, and said, ‘Good bear, good
bear ! there, there! poor beast, poor beast !’
Then he led her home, and ordered that
she should be taken good care of; and he
had her put into a garden close to the royal
palace, that he might see her from the
window whenever he wished.

One day when all the people of the house
were gone out, and the prince was left alone,
he went to the window to look out at the
bear; and there he beheld Preziosa, who
106 THE PENTAMERONE

had taken the piece of wood out of her
mouth, combing her golden tresses. At the
sight of this beauty, he had like to have lost
his senses with amazement, and tumbling
down the stairs he ran out into the garden.
But Preziosa, who was on the watch and
observed him, popped the piece of wood into
her mouth, and was instantly changed into
a bear again.

When the prince came down and looked
about in vain for Preziosa, whom he had
seen from the window above, he was so
amazed at the trick that a deep melancholy
came over him, and in four days he fell sick,
crying continually, ‘My bear, my bear!’
His mother, hearing him wailing thus, im-
agined that the bear had done him some
hurt, and gave orders that she should be
killed. But the servants, enamoured of the
tameness of the bear, who made herself
beloved by the very stones in the road, took
pity on her, and, instead of killing her, they
led her to the wood, and told the queen
that they had put an end to her.

When this came to the ears of the prince
he acted in a way to pass belief, Regard-
less of his sickness he jumped out of bed,
and was going at once to make mincemeat
of the servants. But when they told him
the truth of the affair, he jumped on horse-
back, half dead as he was, and went rambling
about and seeking everywhere, until at length
THE SHE-BEAR 107

he found the bear. Then he took her home
again, and putting her into a chamber said
to her, ‘O lovely morsel for a king who art
shut up in this skin! O candle of love, who
art enclosed within this hairy lanthorn!
wherefore all this trifling? do you wish to
see me pine and pant, and die by inches?
I am wasting away, without hope, and tor-
mented by thy beauty; and you see clearly
the proof, for I am shrunk two-thirds in size,
like wine boiled down, and am nothing but
skin and bone, for the fever is double-stitched
to my veins. So lift up the curtain of this
hairy hide, and let me gaze upon the spectacle
of thy beauty ! raise, O raise the leaves off
this basket, and let me get a sight of the
fine fruit beneath! lift up that curtain, and
let my eyes pass in to behold the pomp of
wonders! Who has shut up so smooth a
creature in a prison woven of hair ? who has
locked up so rich a treasure in a leathern
chest ? Let me behold this display of graces,
and take in payment all my love.’

But when he had said and had said this
and a great deal more, and still saw that all
his words were thrown away, he took to his
bed again, and had such a desperate fit that
the doctors prognosticated badly of his case.
Then his mother, who had no other joy in
the world, sat down by his bedside, and said
to him, ‘My son, whence comes all this
grief? what melancholy humour has seized
108 THE PENTAMERONE

you? You are young, you are loved, you
are great, you are rich,—what then is it you
want, my son? Speak—a bashful beggar
carries an empty bag. If you want a wife,
only choose, and I will bring the match
about ; do you take, and I'll pay. Do you
not see that your illness is an illness to me?
Your pulse beats with fever in your veins,
and my heart beats with illness in my brain,
for I have no other support of my old age
than you. So be cheerful now, and cheer
my heart, and do not see the whole king-
dom thrown into mourning, this house into
lamentation, and your mother forlorn and
heartbroken.’

When the prince heard these words he
said, ‘ Nothing can console me but the sight
of the bear; therefore, if you wish to see me
well again, let her be brought into this
chamber. I will have no one else to attend
me, and make my bed, and cook for me,
but she herself; and you may be sure
that this pleasure will make me well in a
trice.’

Thereupon his mother, although she
thought it ridiculous enough for the bear to
act as cook and chambermaid, and feared
that her son was not in his right mind, yet,
in order to gratify him, had the bear fetched.
And when the bear came up to the prince’s
bed, she raised her paw, and felt the patient’s
pulse, which made the queen laugh outright,

THE SHE-BEAR 109

for she thought every moment that the bear
would scratch his nose. Then the prince
said, ‘ My dear bear, will you not cook for
me, and give me my food, and wait upon
me?’ and the bear nodded her head to
show that she accepted the office. Then
his mother had some fowls brought, and a
fire lighted on the hearth in the same
chamber, and some water set to boil;
whereupon the bear laying hold on a fowl,
scalded and plucked it handily, and drew it,
and then stuck one portion of it on the spit,
and with the other part she made such a
delicious hash that the prince, who could
not relish even sugar, licked his fingers at
the taste. And when he had done eating,
the bear handed him drink with such grace
that the queen was ready to kiss her on her
forehead. Thereupon the prince arose, and
the bear quickly set about making the bed ;
and running into the garden she gathered
a clothful of roses and citron-flowers, and
strewed them over it, so that the queen said
the bear was worth her weight in gold, and
that her son had good reason to be so fond
of her.

But when the prince saw these pretty
offices, they only added fuel to the fire;
and if before he wasted by ounces, he now
melted away by pounds; and he said to
the queen, ‘My lady mother, if I do not
give this bear a kiss, the breath will leave
IIo THE PENTAMERONE

my body.’ Whereupon the queen, seeing
him fainting away, said, ‘Kiss him, kiss
him, my beautiful beast ; let me not see my
poor son die of longing.’ Then the bear
went up to the prince, and taking him by
the cheeks kissed him again and again.
Meanwhile (1 know not how it was) the
piece of wood slipped out of Preziosa’s
mouth, and she remained in the arms of the
prince, the most beautiful creature in the
world ; and pressing her to his heart he
said, ‘I have caught you, my little rogue!
you shall not escape from me again without
a good reason.’ At these words Preziosa,
adding the colour of modesty to the picture
of her natural beauty, said to him, ‘I am
indeed in your hands,—only guard my
honour, and take me where you will.’

Then the queen inquired who the
beautiful maiden was, and what had brought
her to this savage life; and Preziosa related
the whole story of her misfortunes, at which
the queen, praising her as a goad and
virtuous girl, told her son that she was
content that Preziosa should be his wife.
Then the prince, who desired nothing else
in life, forthwith pledged her his faith ; and
the mother giving them her blessing, this
happy marriage was celebrated with great
feasting and illuminations, and Preziosa ex-
perienced the truth of the saying that

One who acts well may always expect good,
THE SHE-BEAR IIT

When Antonella’s story was ended, it
was loudly applauded as beautiful and
charming, and offering a good example of
a virtuous maiden. And now Ciulla’s turn
being come, she began as follows.












THE DOVE

E who is born a prince should not
act like a beggar-boy: a man:
who is high in rank ought not
to set a bad example to those

below him, for the little jackass learns

from the big one to eat straw. It is
no wonder therefore that Heaven sends
him troubles by bushels, as happened
to a prince, who was brought into constant

trouble. for ill-treating and tormenting a

poor woman; so that he was near losing

his life miserably.



About eight miles from Naples, in the
direction of the Astruni, there was once a
wood of fig-trees and poplars, which the
sun’s darts shot at, but could never penetrate.
In this wood stood a half-ruined cottage, in
which dwelt an old woman, who was as
light of teeth as she was burdened with
THE DOVE 113

years, as high with her hump as she was
low in fortune: she had a hundred wrinkles
in her face, but a great many more in her
purse; and although her head was covered
with silver, she had not the hundred-and-
twentieth part of a carlino to revive her
spirit ; so that she went from one thatched
cottage to another begging alms to keep life
in her. But as folks nowadays much
sooner give a purse full of crowns to a
crafty spy than a farthing to a poor needy
man, she had to labour for a whole day to
get a dish of kidney-beans, and at a time
when there was such a plenty of them in
the land that few houses could contain the
heaps. But of atruth an old kettle never
lacks holes and bumps, nor a starved horse
flies, nor a fallen tree the axe. Now one
day the poor old woman, after having
washed the beans, and put them into a
pot, and placed it outside the window,
went her way to the wood to get some
sticks, in order to boil them. And as
slie was going and returning, Nardo
Aniello, the king’s son, passed by the
cottage on his way to the chase, and seeing
the pot at the window, he took a great
fancy to have a fling at it; and he made a
bet with his attendants, to see who should
fling the straightest, and hit it in the middle
with a stone. Then they began to throw at
the innocent pot, and in three or four casts
I
114 THE PENTAMERONE

the prince hit it to a hair and won the
wager,

The old woman returned just at the
moment when they had gone away; and
seeing the sad disaster, she began to act as
if she were beside herself, crying, ‘Ay,
let him stretch out his arm, and go about
boasting how he has broken this pot! the
villainous rascal, who has sown my beans
out of season! And yet, if he had no
compassion for my misery, he should have
had some regard for his own interest, and
not have cast to the ground the escutcheon
of his own house, nor trodden underfoot
things that other folks carry on their heads,
But let him go! and I pray heaven on my
bare knees, and from the bottom of my soul,
that he may fall in love with the daughter
of some ogress, who may plague and
torment him in every way. May his
mother-in-law give him such a curse that
he may see himself live on and _ bewail
himself as dead; and being spell - bound
by the beauty of the daugher and the arts
of the mother, may he never be able to
escape, but be obliged to remain, and may
she order him about with a cudgel in her
hand, and give him plenty of work and
little to eat, that he may have good cause
to sigh and lament over my beans which he
has spilt on the ground.’

The old woman’s curses took wing and
‘

THE DOVE IIS

flew up to heaven in a'trice ; so that not-
withstanding what the proverb says, ‘ For
a woman’s curse you are never the worse,’
and ‘The coat of a horse that has been
cursed always shines,’ she rated the prince
so soundly that he wellnigh jumped out of
his skin.

Scarcely had two hours passed, when the
prince, losing himself in a wood and parted
from his attendants, met a beautiful maiden,
who was going along picking up snails, and
saying with a laugh,

Snail, snail, put out your horn,

Your mother is laughing you to scorn,
For she has a little son just born.

When the prince saw appear before him
this lovely vision he knew not what had
befallen him,

Now Filadoro (for so the maiden was
named) was no wiser than other people;
and the prince, being a smart young fellow
with handsome moustachios, pierced her
heart through and through; so that they
stood looking at one another with their
eyes. After they both remained thus for a
long time, unable to utter a single word,
the prince at last addressed Filadoro
thus: ‘From what meadow has _ this
flower of beauty sprung? from what
heaven has this store of grace been
showered down? from what mine has this
116 THE PENTAMERONE

treasure of beauteous things come to light ?
O happy woods, O fortunate groves, which
this nobility inhabits.’

‘I kiss your hands, Sir Cavalier,’ said
Filadoro, ‘but I beg you not to continue
praising me in this fashion, for I am only
just a woman like any other, But such as
I am I am wholly at your command, for
your manly form has captivated my
heart.’

The prince, delighted with these words,
grew more and more attentive, and he
kissed and rekissed the white hand of
Filadoro.

But in this wretched life there is no wine
of enjoyment without dregs of vexation, and
just at this moment Filadoro’s mother
suddenly appeared, who was such an ugly
ogress that Nature seemed to have formed
her as a model of horrors; she had hair
like a besom of holly, her forehead was a
stone, her eyes were comets; in short, she
carried terror in her face, affright in her
looks, horror in her steps, and dread in her
words ; her mouth had tusks like a boar’s,
was wide as an abyss, and opened like that
of a person who has the apoplexy. From
head to foot she looked a quintessence of
ugliness ; insomuch that the prince must for
certain have carried some charm sown into
his doublet, that he did not faint away at
the sight. Then the ogress seized Nardo
THE DOVE 117

Aniello by the nape of his neck, saying,
‘Hallo! what now, you thief, you rogue!’

‘Yourself the rogue!’ replied the prince ;
‘back with you, old hag!’ And he was just
going to draw his sword, which was an old
Damascus blade, when all at once he stood
fixed, like a sheep that has seen the wolf
and can neither stir nor utter a sound; so that
the ogress led him like an ass by a halter to
her house. And when they came there she
said to him, ‘Mind now, and work like a
dog, unless you wish to die like a hog;
and for your first task, take care in the
course of to-day to have this acre of land
dug and sown as level as this room: and
recollect, that if I return in the evening
and do not find the work finished, I shall
eat you up.” Then bidding her daughter
take care of the house, she went to a
meeting of the other ogressecs in the
wood.

Nardo Aniello, seeing himself dragged
into this dilemma, began to bathe his breast
with tears, cursing his fate, which had
brought him to this pass. But Filadoro,
on the other hand, comforted him, bidding
him be of good heart, for that she would
even risk her life to assist him; and adding,
that he ought not to lament his fate, which
had led him to that house, where he was
loved so dearly by her, and that he showed
little return for her love by standing so in
118 THE PENTAMERONE

despair at what had happened. The prince
replied, ‘I am not grieved at having ex-
changed the royal palace for this hovel, the
splendid banquets for a crust of bread, the
troop of servants for field-labour, the sceptre
for a spade, nor at seeing myself, who have
terrified armies, now frightened by this
hideous scarecrow; for I should deem all
my disasters good fortune to be with you,
and to gaze upon you with these eyes,
But what pierces me to the heart is that I
have to dig till my hands are covered with
hard skin—I whose fingers were as delicate
and soft as Barbary wool; and, what is
still worse, I have to do more than two
oxen could get through in a day; and if I
do not finish the task this evening, your
mother will eat me up; yet withal I should
not grieve so much to quit this wretched
body as to be parted from so beautiful a
creature.’

So saying he heaved sighs by bushels
and shed tears by casksful. But Filadoro,
drying his eyes, said to him, ‘Fear not, my
life, that my mother will touch a hair of
your head; trust to Filadoro, and fear not ;
for you must know that I possess magical
powers, and am able to make water set
cream, and to darken the sun. Enough
and sufficient—be of good heart, for by the
evening the piece of land will be dug and
sown, without any one’s stirring a hand.’
THE DOVE T19

When Nardo Aniello heard this, he
answered, ‘If you have magic power, as
you say, O beauty of the world, why do we
not fly from this country ? for you shall live
like a queen in my father’s house.’ And
Filadoro replied, ‘A certain conjunction of
the stars prevents this; but the trouble
will soon pass, and we shall be happy.’

With these and a thousand other pleasant
discourses the day passed; and when the
ogress came back, she called to her daughter
from the road, and said, ‘ Filadoro, let
down your hair!’ for as the house had no
staircase, she always ascended by her
daughter’s tresses. As soon as Filadoro
heard her mother’s voice, she unbound her
hair and let fall her tresses: whereupon
the old woman mounted up quickly and ran
into the garden. But when she found it
all dug and sown, she was beside herself
with amazement; for it seemed to her
impossible that a delicate lad could have
accomplished such dog’s labour.

But the next morning, hardly had the
Sun risen, when the ogress went down
again, bidding Nardo Aniello take care
that in the evening she should find ready
split six stacks of wood which were in the
cellar, with every log cleft into four pieces ;
or otherwise she would cut him up like
bacon, and make a fry of him for supper.

On hearing this decree the poor prince
120 THE PENTAMERONE

had like to have died of terror; and
Filadoro, seeing him half dead and pale
as ashes, said, ‘Why, what a coward you
are to be frightened at such a trifle!’ ‘Do
you think it a trifle,’ replied Nardo Aniello,
‘to split six stacks of wood, with every log
cleft into four pieces, between this time and
the evening? Alas! I shall sooner be
cleft in halves myself, to fill the mouth of
this horrid old woman,’

‘Fear not, answered Filadoro; ‘for
without your giving yourself any trouble,
the wood shall all be split in good time;
but meanwhile cheer up if you love me,
and do not split my heart with such lamen-
tation,’

Now when the Sun had set, the old
woman returned, and bidding Filadoro let
down the usual ladder, she ascended; and
finding the wood all ready split, she began
to suspect that it was her daughter who
had given her this checkmate. And the
third day, in order to make a third trial,
she ordered the prince to clean out for her
a cistern which held a thousand casks of
water, for she wished to fill it anew;
adding, that if the task were not finished
by the evening she would make mincemeat
of him,

When the old woman went away, Nardo
Aniello began again to weep and wail;
and Filadoro, seeing that the labours in-
THE DOVE 121

creased, and that the old woman had
something of the jackass in her to burden
the poor fellow with such tasks and troubles,
said to him, ‘Be quiet, and as soon as the
moment is past that interrupts my art,
before the Sun says ‘I am off,’ we will say
good-bye to this house; sure enough this
evening my mother shall find the land
cleared, and I will go off with you, alive or
dead.’ The prince, on hearing this news,
rejoiced ; and embracing Filadoro he said,
‘Thou art the pole-star of this storm-tossed
bark, thou art the prop of my hopes.’

Now when evening drew nigh, Filadoro
having dug a hole in the garden, under
which there was a large underground
passage, they went out and took the way
to Naples. But when they arrived at the
grotto of Pozzuolo, Nardo Aniello said to
Filadoro, ‘It will never do, my dear, for
me to take you to the palace on foot and
dressed in this manner; therefore wait at
this inn, and I will soon return with horses,
carriages, servants, and clothes.’ So Filadoro
stayed behind, and the prince went his way
to the city.

Meanwhile the ogress returned home,
and as Filadoro did not answer to her usual
summons, she grew suspicious, ran into
the wood, and cutting a great long pole,
placed it against the window, and climbed
up like a cat. Then she went into the
122 THE PENTAMERONE

house, and hunted everywhere, inside and
out, high and low, but found no one: at
last she perceived the hole, and seeing
that it led into the open air, in her rage
she did not leave a hair upon her head,
cursing her daughter and the prince,
and praying that.at the first kiss Filadoro’s
lover should receive he might forget her.
But let us leave the old woman to say
her wicked paternosters, and return to the
prince, who on arriving at the palace,
where he was thought to be dead, put the
whole house in an uproar, every one running
to meet him and crying, ‘Welcome, wel-
come! here he is safe and sound! how
happy we are to see him back to this
country!’ and a thousand other words of
affection. But as he was going up the
stairs, his mother met him half-way, and
embraced and kissed him, saying, ‘ My son,
my jewel, the apple of my eye, where have
you been? how is it you have stayed away
so long, to make us all die with anxiety?’
The prince knew not what to answer, for
he did not wish to tell her his misfortunes ;
but no sooner had his mother kissed him
with her poppy lips than, owing to the
curse of the ogress, all that had passed
went from his memory. Then the queen
told her son that, to put an end to his going
to the chase and wasting his life in the
woods, she wished to have him married.
THE DOVE 123

‘Well and good,’ replied the prince; ‘I am
ready and prepared to do all that my lady
mother desires.’ ‘Spoken like a good son!’
answered the queen. So it was settled that
within four days they should lead home to
him the bride, who was a lady of distinction
just arrived in that city fram the country of
Flanders ; and thereupon a great feasting
and banquets were held.

But meanwhile Filadoro, seeing that her
husband stayed away so long, and hearing
(1 know not how) of the feast, the news of
which had spread everywhere far and wide,
waited in the evening till the servant-lad of
the inn had gone to bed; and then taking
his clothes from the head of the bed, she
left her own in their place; and disguising
herself like a man, she went to the court
of the king, where the cooks, being in want
of help as they had so much to do, took her
as kitchen-boy. And when the appointed
morning was come, the bride arrived with
the sound of flutes and trumpets. Then
the tables were set out, and they all took
their seats; and just as the dishes were
showering down, and the carver was cutting
up a large pie, which Filadoro had made
with her own hands, lo! out flew such a
beautiful dove, that the guests, in their
astonishment forgetting to eat, fell to
admiring the pretty bird, which said to the
prince in a piteous voice, ‘Have you eaten
124 THE PENTAMERONE

the brains of a cat, O prince, that you have
so forgotten the love of Filadoro? have all
the services you received from her, un- °
grateful man, gone from your memory?
is it thus you repay the benefits she has
done you—she who took you out of the
claws of the ogress, and gave you life and
her own self too? is this the return you
make to the unhappy maiden for all the
love she has shown you? Tell her to get up
and be off! bid her pick this bone until the
roast meat come. Woe to the woman that
trusts too much to the words of men, who
ever requite kindness with ingratitude,
benefits with thanklessness, and pay debts
with forgetfulness! Just when the poor
girl was imagining that she should live with
you and share your fortunes, she is left and
forsaken. But go! forget your promises,
false man! and may the curses follow you
which the unhappy maiden sends you from
the bottom of her heart! you shall learn
what it is to deceive a young maiden, to
make sport of a poor girl, to cheat an
innocent damsel, treating her with contempt
whilst she served you so faithfully. But if
Heaven has not bandaged its eyes, if the
gods have not locked up their ears, they
will witness the wrong you have done her;
and when you least expect it, the lightning
and thunder, the fever and the illness will
come to you, Enough! eat and drink,
THE DOVE 125

take your sports and frolics and triumph
with the new bride; for unhappy Filadoro,
deceived and forsaken, will leave you the
field open to make merry with your new
wife” So saying the dove flew away
quickly and vanished like the wind.

The prince, hearing the murmuring of
the dove, stood for a while stupefied: at
length he inquired whence the pie came,
and when the carver told him that a scul-
lion-boy who had been taken to assist in the
kitchen had made it, he ordered him to be
brought before him. Then Filadoro, throw-
ing herself at the feet of Nardo Aniello, and
shedding a torrent of tears, said merely,
‘What have I done to you?’ Whereupon
the prince, struck by Filadoro’s beauty, at
once recalled to mind the engagement he
had made with her, and instantly raising
her up, he seated her by his side. And
when he related to his mother the great
obligation he was under to this beautiful
maiden, and all that she had done for him,
and how it was necessary that the promise
he had given should be fulfilled, his mother,
who had no other joy in life than her son,
said to him, ‘Do as you please, so that you
offend not the honour or the good pleasure
of this lady whom I have given you to
wife.’

‘Be not troubled,’ said the lady, ‘for, to
tell the truth, I am very loath to remain in
126 THE PENTAMERONE

this country; with your kind permission, I
wish to return to my dear Flanders.’

Thereupon the prince with great joy
offered her a vessel and attendants; and
ordering Filadoro to be dressed like a
princess, when the tables were removed,
the musicians came, and they began the
ball, which lasted until evening. But as
soon as the lights were brought a great
noise of bells was heard on the stairs,
whereat the prince said to his mother,
‘This must surely be some pretty masquer-
ade, to do honour to the feast; upon my
word the Neapolitan cavaliers are vastly
polite, and when called upon they spare
neither pains nor money.’

But whilst they were discoursing thus,
there appeared in the middle of the hall an
ugly figure, who was not more than three
feet high, but as big as a tub; and stepping
up to the prince she said, ‘Know, Nardo
Aniello, that your caprices and ill deeds
brought on you all the troubles you have
gone through: I am the spirit of that old
woman whose pot you broke, so that she
died of hunger. I laid a curse upon you,
wishing that you might be seized by the
claws of an ogress, and my wish was ful-
filled: by the power of this beautiful fairy,
however, you escaped from those troubles,
but afterwards you received another curse
from the ogress, that at the first kiss given
THE DOVE 127

you, you should forget Filadoro; your
mother kissed you, and Filadoro went out
of your mind. But now I lay another curse
upon you, that, in remembrance of the
injury you did me, you may always have
before you those beans of mine which you
threw on the ground, so that the proverb
may come true, ‘‘He who sows beans gets
a crop of horns.”’ So saying she vanished
like quicksilver, and not a trace of smoke
was to be seen.

The fairy, seeing the prince grow pale at
these words, bade him take courage, saying,
‘Fear not, my husband, I will save you
from the fire’? Then she pronounced the
words, ‘Scatola and matola! thus the
charm of all power I disarm’; and instantly
the spell was at an end.

So the feast being now ended, they all
betook themselves to rest; and the prince
and Filadoro lived happy ever after, proving
the truth of the proverb that

He who stumbles and does not fall,
Is helped on his way like a rolling ball.

‘Of a truth,’ said the prince, ‘every man
ought to act according to his station,—the
nobleman as a nobleman, the lacquey as a
lacquey, and the constable as a constable; for
as the beggar-boy, wishing to act the prince,
becomes ridiculous, so the prince acting
like a beggar-boy loses his reputation.’


THE BOOBY

N ignorant man who associates
with clever people has always
been more praised than a wise
man who keeps the company of
fools ; for as much profit and fame as one
may gain from the former, so much wealth
and honour one may lose by the fault of the
latter; and as the proof of the pudding is
in the eating, you will know from the story
which I am going to tell you whether my
proposition be true.




There was once a man who was as rich
as the sea, but as there can never be any
perfect happiness in this world, he had a
son so idle and good-for-nothing that he
could not tell a carob from a cucumber. So
being unable any longer to put up with
his folly, he gave him a good handful of
crowns, and sent him to trade in the
THE BOOBY 129

Levant; for he well knew that seeing
various countries and mixing with divers
people awaken the genius, sharpen the
Judgment, and make men expert.

Moscione (for that was the name of the
son) got on horseback, and began his
journey towards Venice, the arsenal of the
wonders of the world, to embark on board
some vessel bound for Cairo; and when he
had travelled a good day’s journey, he met
with a person who was standing fixed at the
foot of a poplar, to whom he said, ‘ What is
your name, my lad? whence are you? and
what is your trade?’ And the lad replied,
‘My name is Lightning ; I am from Arrow-
land, and I can run like the wind’ ‘I
should like to see a proof of it,’ said
Moscione; and Lightning answered, ‘ Wait
a moment, and you will see whether it is
dust or flour.’

When they had stood waiting a little
while, a doe came bounding over the plain,
and Lightning, letting her pass on some
way, to give her the more law, darted after
her so rapidly and light of foot, that he
would have gone over a place covered with
flour without leaving the mark of his shoe,
and in four bounds he came up with her.
Moscione, amazed at this exploit, asked if
he would come and live with him, and
promised to pay him royally.

So Lightning consented, and they went

K
130 THE PENTAMERONE

on their way together; but they had not
journeyed many miles when they. met
another youth, to whom Moscione said,
‘What is your name, comrade? what
country are you from? and what’s your
trade?’ ‘My name, replied the lad, ‘is
Hare’s-ear; I am from Vale-Curious; and
when I put my ear to the ground I hear all
that is passing in the world without stirring
from the spot. I perceive the monopolies
and agreements of trades-people to raise the
prices of things, the ill-offices of courtiers,
the appointments of lovers, the plots of
robbers, the reports of spies, the complaints
of servants, the gossiping of old women,
and the oaths of sailors.’

‘If that be true,’ said Moscione, ‘tell me
what they are now saying at my home.’

So the lad put his ear to the ground, and
replied, ‘An old man is talking to his wife,
and saying, “ Praised be Sol in Leo! I have
got rid from my sight of that fellow
Moscione, that face of old-fashioned
crockery, that nail in my heart. By travel-
ling through the world he will at least
become a man, and no longer be such a
stupid ass, such a simpleton, such a lose-the-
day fellow, such a——”’

‘Stop, stop!’ cried Moscione ; ‘you tell
the truth, and I believe you. So come
along with me, for you have found the road
to good luck,’
THE BOOBY 131

‘Well and good!’ said the youth. So
they all went on together and travelled ten
miles farther, when they met another man,
to whom Moscione said, ‘What is your
name, my brave fellow? where were you
born ? and what can you do in the world ?’
And the man answered, ‘My name is
Shootstraight ; I am from Castle Aimwell ;
and I can shoot with a crossbow so point-
blank as to hit a crab-apple in the middle.’

‘I should like to see the proof, said
Moscione. So the lad charged his cross-
bow, took aim, and made a pea leap from
the top of a stone; whereupon Moscione
took him also like the others into his
company. And they travelled on another
day’s journey, till they came to some people
who were building a large pier in the
scorching heat of the sun. So Moscione
had compassion on them, and said, ‘My
masters, how is it you have the head to
stand in this furnace, which is fit to roast
a buffalo?’ And one of them answered,
‘Oh, we are as cool as a rose; for we have
a young man here who blows upon us from
behind in such a manner that it seems just
as if the west wind were blowing.’ ‘Let me
see him, I pray,’ cried Moscione. So the
mason called the lad, and Moscione said to
him, ‘Tell me, by the life of your father,
what is your name? what country are you
from ? and what is your profession?’ And
132 THE PENTAMERONE.

the lad replied, ‘My name is Blowblast; I
am from Windy-Land; and I can make all
the winds with my mouth. If you wish for
a zephyr, I will breathe one that will send
you into transports ; if you wish for a squall,
I will throw down houses.’

‘Seeing is believing,’ said Moscione.
Whereupon Blowblast breathed at first
quite gently, so that it seemed to be the
wind that blows towards evening ; then
turning suddenly to some trees, he sent
forth such a furious blast that it uprooted
a row of oaks.

When Moscione saw this he took him for
a companion; and travelling on as far
again, he met another lad, to whom he said,
‘ What is your name, if 1 may make so bold ?
whence are you, if one may ask? and what
is your trade, if it is a fair question?’ And
the lad answered, ‘ My name is Strongback ;
I am from Valentino, and I have such
strength that I can take a mountain on my
back, and it seems to me only a feather’

‘If that be the case,’ said Moscione, ‘ you
deserve to be king of the custom-house, and
you should be chosen for standard-bearer
on the first of May. But I should like to
see a proof of what you say.’

Then Strongback began to load himself
with masses of rock, trunks of trees, and so
many other weights, that a thousand large
waggons could not have carried them;
THE BOOBY 133

which when Moscione saw, he agreed with
the lad to join him.

So they travelled on, till they came to
Fair-Flower, the king of which place had a
daughter who ran like the wind, and could
pass over the waving corn without bending
an ear; and the king had issued a procla-
mation, that whoever could overtake her in
running should have her to wife, but who-
ever was left behind should lose his head.

When Moscione arrived in this country,
and heard the proclamation, he went straight
to the king, and offered to run with his
daughter, making the wise agreement either
to win the race or leave his noddle there.
But in the morning he sent to inform the
king that he was taken ill, and being unable
to run himself, he would send another young
man in his place. ‘Come who will!’ said
Ciannetella (for that was the king’s daugh-
ter), ‘I care not a fig—it is all one to me.’

So when the great square was filled with
people come to see the race, insomuch that
the men swarmed like ants, and the windows
and roofs were all as full as an egg,
Lightning came out and took his station at
the top of the square, waiting for the signal.
And lo! forth came Ciannetella, dressed in
a little gown, tucked half-way up her legs,
and a neat and pretty little shoe with a
single sole. Then they placed themselves
shoulder to shoulder ; and as soon as the
134 THE PENTAMERONE

tarantara and too-too of the trumpets was
heard, off they darted, running at such a
rate that their heels touched their shoulders,
and in truth they seemed just like hares
with the greyhounds after them, horses
broken loose from the stable, dogs with
kettles tied to their tails, or jackasses with
furze-bushes behind them. But Lightning
(as he was both by name and nature) left
the princess moie than a handsbreadth be-
hind him, and came first to the goal. Then
you should have heard the huzzaing and
shouting, the cries and the uproar, the
whistling and clapping of hands of all the
people, bawling out, ‘Hurra! Long life to
the stranger!’ Whereat Ciannetella’s face
turned as red as a schoolboy’s who is going
to be whipped, and she stood lost in shame
and confusion at seeing herself vanquished.
But as there were to be two heats to the race,
she fell to planning how to be revenged for
this affront; and going home she put a charm
into a ring, of such power, that if any one
had it upon his finger, his legs would totter
so that he would not be able to walk, much
less to run; then she sent it as a present to
Lightning, begging him to wear it on his
finger for love of her.

Quickear, who heard this trick plotted
between the father and daughter, said
nothing, and waited to see the upshot of
the affair. And when the sun rose, they
THE BOOBY 135

returned to the field, where at the usual
signal they fell to plying their heels. But
if Ciannetella was like another Atalanta,
Lightning had become no less like a
shoulder-slipped ass and a foundered horse,
for he could not stir a step. But Shoot-
straight, who saw his comrade’s danger,
and heard from Quickear how matters stood,
laid hold on his crossbow, and shot a bolt
so exactly that it hit Lightumg’s finger, and
out flew the stone from the ring, in which
the virtue of the charm lay ; whereupon his
legs, that had been tied, were set free, and
with four goat-leaps he passed Ciarnetella
and won the race.

The king, seeing this victory of a biock-
head, the palm thus carried off bya simpleton,
the triumph of a fool, bethought himself
seriously whether or no he should give him
his daughter ; and taking counsel with the
wiseacres of his court, they replied that
Ciannetella was not a mouthful for the tooth
of such a miserable dog and lose-the-day
bird, and that without breaking his word he
might commute the promise of his daughter
for a gift of crowns, which would be more
to the taste of a poor beggar like Moscione
than all the women in the world.

This advice pleased the king, and he
asked Moscione how much money he would
take instead of the wife who had been pro-
mised him. Then Moscione, after consult-
136 THE PENTAMERONE

ing with the others, answered, ‘I will take as
much gold and silver as one of my comrades
can carry on his back.’ The king consented;
whereupon they brought Strongback, on
whom they began to load bales of ducats, -
sacks of patacas, large purses full of crowns,
barrels of copper money, chests full of chains
and rings; but the more they loaded him
the firmer he stood, just like a tower, so that
the treasury, the banks, the usurers, and
the money-dealers of the city did not suffice,
and the king sent to all the great people
in every direction to borrow their silver
candlesticks, basins, jugs, plates, trays, and
baskets; and yet all was not enough to
make up the full load. At length they went
away, not laden, but tired and satisfied.
When the councillors saw what heaps and
stores these four miserable dogs were carry-
ing off, they said to the king that it was a
great piece of assery to load them with all
the sinews of his kingdom, and that it
would be well-to send people after them to
lessen the load of that Atlas who was carry-
ing on his shoulders a heaven of treasure,
The king gave ear to this advice, and im-
mediately despatched a party of armed men,
foot and horse, to overtake Moscione and
his friends, But Quickear, who had heard
this counsel, informed his comrades; and
while the dust was rising to the sky from
the trampling of those who were coming to

THE BOOBY 137

unload the rich cargo, Blowblast, seeing that
things were come to a bad pass, began to
blow at’such a rate, that he not only made
their enemies fall flat on the ground, but he
sent them flying more than a mile distant,
as the north wind does folks who pass
through that country. So without meeting
any more hindrance, Moscione arrived at
his father’s house, where he shared the
booty with his companions, since, as the
saying goes, a good deed deserves a good
meed, So he sent them away content and
happy ; but he stayed with his father, rich
beyond measure, and saw himself an ass
laden with gold, not giving the lie to the
saying,
Heaven sends biscuits to him who has no teeth.








THE STONE IN THE COCK’S
HEAD

HE robber’s wife does not always
4 laugh: he who weaves fraud
works his own ruin: there is no
deceit which is not at last dis- -
covered, no treachery that does not come to
light: walls have ears, and are spies to
rogues : the earth gapes and discovers theft;
as I will prove to you if you pay attention.




There was once in the city of Dark-Grotto
a certain man named Minecco Aniello, who
was so persecuted by fortune that all his
fixtures and movables consisted only of a
short-legged cock, which he had reared upon
bread-crumbs. But one morning, being
pinched with appetite (for hunger drives the
wolf from the thicket), he took it into his
head to sell the cock; and taking it to the
market, he met two thievish magicians, with
THE STONE IN THE COCK’S HEAD 139

whom he made a bargain, and sold it for
half-a-crown. So they told him to take it to
their house, and they would count him out
the money. Then the magicians went their
way, and Minecco Aniello following them,
overheard them talking gibberish together,
and saying, ‘Who would have told us that
we should meet with such a piece of good
luck, Jennarone? This cock will make our
fortune to a certainty by the stone which,
you know, he has in his pate: we will
quickly have it set in a ring, and then we shall
have everything we can ask for.’

‘Be quiet, Jacovuccio,’ answered Jenna-
rone; ‘I see myself rich and can hardly
believe it; and I am longing to twist the
cock’s neck, and give a kick in the face of
beggary; for in this world virtue without
money goes for nothing, and a man is judged
of by his coat.’

When Minecco Aniello, who had travelled
about in the world and eaten bread from more
than one oven, heard this gibberish, he turned
on his heel and scampered off. And running
home he twisted the cock’s neck, and open-
ing its head found the stone, which he had
instantly set in a brass ring, Then, to make
a trial of its virtue, he said, ‘I wish to
become a youth eighteen years old,’

Hardly had he uttered the words when
his blood began to flow more quickly, his
nerves became stronger, his limbs firmer,
140 THE PENTAMERONE

his flesh fresher, his eyes more fiery, his
silver hairs were turned into gold, his
mouth, which was a sacked village, became
peopled with teeth, his beard, which was as
thick as a wood, became like a nursery-
garden ; in short, he was changed to a most
beautiful youth. Then he said again, ‘I
wish for a splendid palace, and to marry
the king’s daughter.’ And lo! there in-
stantly appeared a palace of incredible
magnificence, in which were apartments
that would amaze you, columns to astound
you, pictures to fill you with wonder: silver
glittered around, and gold was trodden
underfoot ; the jewels dazzled your eyes;
the servants swarmed like ants, the horses
and carriages were not to be counted; in
short, there was such a display of riches,
that the king stared at the sight, and will-
ingly gave him his daughter Natalizia.
Meanwhile the magicians, having dis-
covered Minecco Aniello’s great wealth, laid
a plan to rob him of his good fortune; so
they made a pretty little doll, which played
and danced by means of clockwork; and
dressing themselves like merchants, they
went to Pentella, the daughter of Minecco
Aniello, under pretext of selling it to her.
When Pentella saw the beautiful little thing,
she asked them what price they put upon
it; and they replied, that it was not to be
bought for money, but that she might have
THE STONE IN THE COCK’S HEAD 141

it and welcome if she would only do them a
favour, which was, to let them see the make
of the ring which her father possessed, in
order to take the model and make another
like it; then they would give her the doll
without any payment at all.

Pentella, who had never heard the pro-
verb, ‘Think well before you buy anything
cheap,’ instantly accepted this offer; and
bidding them return the next morning, she
promised to ask her father to lend her the
ring. So the magicians went away, and
when her father returned home, Pentella
coaxed and caressed him, until at last she
persuaded him to give her the ring, making
the excuse that she was sad at heart, and
wished to divert her mind a little.

When the next day came, as soon as the
scavenger of the Sun had swept the last
trace of the Shades from the streets and
squares of Heaven, the magicians returned ;
and no sooner had they the ring in their
hands than they instantly vanished, and not a
trace of them was to be seen; so that poor
Pentella had like to have died with terror.

But when the magicians came to a wood,
they desired the ring to destroy the spell by
which the old man had become young again.
And instantly Minecco Aniello, who was just
at that minute in the presence of the king,
was suddenly seen to grow hoary, his hairs
to whiten, his forehead to wrinkle, his eye-
142 THE PENTAMERONE

brows to grow bristly, his eyes to sink in,
his face to be furrowed, his mouth to become
toothless, his beard to grow bushy, his back
to be humped, his legs to tremble, and
above all his glittering garments to turn to
rags and tatters.

The king, seeing this miserable beggar
seated beside him at table, ordered him to
be instantly driven away with blows and
hard words; whereupon Aniello, thus sud-
denly fallen from his good luck, went weep-
ing to his daughter, and asked for the ring
in order to set matters to rights again,
But when he heard the fatal trick played by
the false merchants, he was ready to throw
himself out of the window, cursing a
thousand times the ignorance of his
‘daughter, who for the sake of a silly
doll had turned him into a miserable scare-
crow, and for a paltry thing of rags had
brought him to rags himself; adding that
he was resolved to go wandering about in
the world, like a bad shilling, until he
should get tidings of those merchants. So
saying he threw a cloak about his neck and
a wallet on his back, drew his sandals on
his feet, took a staff in his hand, and leaving
his daughter all chilled and frozen, he set
out walking desperately on and on until he
arrived at the kingdom of Deep- Hole,
inhabited by the mice, where, being taken
for a big spy of the cats, he was instantly
THE STONE IN THE COCK’S HEAD 143

led before Nibbler the king. Then the
king asked him who he was, whence he
came, and what he was about in that
country; and Minecco Aniello, after first
giving the king a cheese-paring, in sign of
tribute, related to him all his misfortunes

‘one by one, and concluded by saying that

he was resolved to continue his toil and
travel, until he should get tidings of those
thievish villains who had robbed him of so
precious a jewel, taking from him at once
the flower of his youth, the source of his
wealth, and the prop of his honour.

At these words Nibbler felt pity gnawing
at his heart; and wishing to comfort the
poor man, he summoned the eldest mice to
a council, and asked their opinions on the
misfortunes of Minecco Aniello, command-
ing them to use all diligence and endeavour
to obtain some tidings of those false mer-
chants. Now among the rest it happened
that Pecker and Saltariello Skipjack were
present,—mice who were well used to the
ways of the world, and had lived for six
years at a tavern of great resort hard by;
and they said to Aniello, ‘Be of good
heart, comrade! matters will turn out
better than you imagine. You must know
that one day, when we were in a room in
the hostelry of the “ Horn,” where the most
famous men in the world lodge and make
merry, two persons from Hook-Castle came
144 THE PENTAMERONE

in, who, after they had eaten their fill and
had seen the bottom of their flagon, fell to
talking of a trick they had played a certain
old man of Dark-Grotto, and how they had
cheated him out of a stone of great value,
which one of them named Jennarone said
he would never take from his finger, that he
might not run the risk of losing it as the old
man’s daughter had done,’

When Minecco Aniello heard this, he told
the two mice that if they would trust them-
selves to accompany him to the country
where these rogues lived, and recover the
ring for him, he would give them a good lot
of cheese and salt meat, which they might
eat and enjoy with his majesty the king.
Then the two mice, after bargaining for a
reward, offered to go over sea and moun-
tain; and taking leave of his mousy
majesty, they set out.

After journeying a long way, they arrived
at Hook-Castle, where the mice told Minecco
Aniello to remain under some trees on the
brink of a river, which like a leech drew the
moisture from the land and discharged it
into the sea. Then they went to seek the
house of the magicians ; and observing that
Jennarone never took the ring from his
finger, they sought to gain the victory by
stratagem. So waiting till Night had dyed
with purple grape-juice the sunburnt face of
Heaven, and the magicians had gone to bed
“

THE STONE IN THE COCK’S HEAD 148

and were fast asleep, Pecker began to nibble
the finger on which the ring was; where-
upon Jennarone, feeling the smart, took the
ring off and laid it on a table at the head of
-the bed. But as soon as Saltariello saw
this, he popped the ring into his mouth, and
in four skips he was off to find Minecco
Aniello, who with even greater joy than a
man at the gallows feels when a pardon
arrives, instantly turned the magicians into
two jackasses; and throwing his mantle
over one of them, he bestrode him like a
noble count ; then he loaded the other with
cheese and bacon, and set off toward Deep-
Hole, where having given presents to the
king and his councillors, he thanked them
for all the good fortune he had received by
their assistance, praying Heaven that no
mousetrap might ever lay hold of them, that
no cat might ever harm them, and that no
arsenic might ever poison them.

Then leaving that country, Minecco
Aniello returned to Dark-Grotto even more
handsome than before, and was received by
the king and his daughter with the greatest
affection in the world. And having ordered
the two asses to be cast down from a rock,
he lived happy with his wife, never more
taking the ring from his finger, that he
might not again commit such a folly ; for
The dog who has been scalded with hot water has

ever after a dread of cold water,
L
146 THE PENTAMERONE

The adventures of Minecco Aniello gave
great satisfaction to the Prince and his wife,
and they blessed the mice a thousand times
for getting the stone again for the poor
man, and rewarding the magicians as they
deserved. But as Meneca had now taken
her station on the racecourse of story-telling,
all present barred the door of words with
the bolt of silence, and she began as
follows.




















THE TWO CAKES

HAVE always heard say, that he
who gives pleasure finds it: the
bell of Manfredonia says, ‘ Give
me, I give thee’: he who does

not bait the hook of the affections with
courtesy never catches the fish of kindness ;
and if you wish to hear the proof of this,
listen to my story, and then say whether the
covetous man does not always lose more
than the liberal one.



There were once two sisters, named Luceta
and Troccola, who had two daughters, Mar-
ziella and Puccia. Marziella was as fair to
look upon as she was good at heart ; whilst,
on the contrary, Puccia by the same rule
had a face of ugliness and a heart of pesti-
lence; but the girl resembled her parent,
for Troccola was a harpy within and a very
scarecrow without. :
148 THE PENTAMERONE

Now it happened that Luceta had occa-
sion to boil some parsnips, in order to fry
them with green sauce; so she said to her
daughter, ‘ Marziella, my dear, go to the
well and fetch me a pitcher of water,’

‘With all my heart, mother,’ replied the
girl; ‘but if you love me give me a cake,
for I should like to eat it with a draught of
the fresh water.’

‘By all means,’ said her mother; so she
took from a basket that hung upon a hook
a beautiful cake (for she had baked a batch
the day before), and gave it to Marziella,
who set the pitcher on a pad upon her head,
and went to the fountain, which, like a char-
latan upon a marble bench, to the music of
the falling water was selling secrets to drive
away thirst. And as she was stooping down
to fill her pitcher, up came an old woman ;
and seeing the beautiful cake, which Mar-
ziella was just going to bite, she said to her,
‘My pretty girl, give me a little piece of
your cake, and may Heaven send you good
fortune !’

Marziella, who was as generous as a
queen, replied, ‘Take it all, my good woman ;.
and I am only sorry that it is not made of
sugar and almonds, for I would equally give
it you with all my heart.’

The old woman, seeing Marziella’s kind-
ness, said to her, ‘Go, and may Heaven
reward you for the goodness you have shown
THE TWO CAKES 149

me! and I pray all the stars that you may
ever be content and happy,—that when you
breathe, roses and jessamines may fall from
your mouth; that when you comb your
locks, pearls and garnets may fall from them,
and where you set your foot on the ground,
lilies and violets may spring up.’

Marziella thanked the old woman, and
went her way home, where her mother
having cooked a bit of supper, they paid
the natural debt to the body, and thus ended
the day. And the next morning, as Mar-
ziella was combing her hair, she saw a
shower of pearls and garnets fall from it
into her lap; whereupon calling her mother
with great joy, they put them all into a
basket, and Luceta went to sell a great
part of them to a usurer, who was a friend
of hers. Meanwhile Troccola came to see
her sister, and finding Marziella in great
delight and busied with the pearls, she
asked her how, when, and where she had
gotten them. But the maiden, who did
not understand the ways of the world, and
had perhaps never heard the proverb, ‘Do
not all you are able, eat not all you wish,
spend not all you have, and tell not all you
know,’ related the whole affair to her aunt,
who no longer cared to await her sister’s
return, for every hour seemed to her a thou-
sand years until she got home again. Then
giving a cake to her daughter, she sent her
150 THE PENTAMERONE

for water to the fountain, where Puccia
found the same old woman. And when
the old woman asked her for a little piece
of cake, she answered gruffly, ‘Have I
nothing to do forsooth but to give you
cake? do you take me for such an ass as
to give you what belongs to me? Look
ye, charity begins at home.’ And so saying
she swallowed the cake in four pieces,
making the old woman’s mouth water, who,
when she saw the last morsel disappear,
and her hopes buried with the cake, ex-
claimed in a rage, ‘Begone! and whenever
you breathe may you foam at the mouth
like a doctor’s mule, may toads drop from
your lips, and every time you set foot to the
ground may there spring up ferns and
thistles !?

Puccia took the pitcher of water and
returned home, where her mother was all
impatience to hear what had befallen her at
the fountain. But no sooner did Puccia
open her lips than a shower of toads fell
from them; at the sight of which her
mother added the fire of rage to the snow
of envy, sending forth flame and smoke
through nose and mouth.

Now it happened some time afterwards
that Ciommo, the brother of Marziella, was
at the court of-the king of Chiunzo; and
the conversation turning on the beauty of
various women, he stepped forward. unasked
THE TWO CAKES I5r

and said that all the handsome women
might hide their heads when his sister
made her appearance, who, besides the
beauty of her form, possessed also a won-
derful virtue in her hair, mouth, and feet,
which was given to her by a fairy. When
the king heard these praises, he told Ciommo
to bring his sister to the court, adding that,
if he found her such as he had represented,
he would take her to wife.

Now Ciommo thought this a chance not
to be lost; so he forthwith sent a messenger
post-haste to his mother, telling her what
had happened, and begging her to come
instantly with her daughter, in order not to
let slip the good luck. But Luceta, who
was very unwell, begged her sister to have
the kindness to accompany Marziella to the
court of Chiunzo. Whereupon Troccola,
who saw that matters were playing into her
hand, promised her sister to take Marziella
safe and sound to her brother, and then
embarked with her niece and Puccia in a
boat. But when they were some way out
at sea, whilst the sailors were asleep, she
threw Marziella into the water; and just as
the poor girl was on the point of being
drowned, there came a most beautiful syren,
who took her in her arms and carried her off.

When Troccola arrived at Chiunzo,
Ciommo, who had not seen his sister for so
long a time, mistook Puccia, and received
152 THE PENTAMERONE

her as if she were Marziella, and led her
instantly to the king. But no sooner did
she open her lips than toads dropped on
the ground; and when the king looked at
her more closely, he saw that, as she
breathed hard from the fatigue of the
journey, she made a lather at her mouth,
which looked just like a washtub; then
looking down on the ground, he saw a
meadow of stinking plants, the sight of
which made him turn quite sick. Upon.
this he drove Puccia and her mother away,
and sent Ciommo in disgrace to keep the
geese of the court.

Then Ciommo, in despair and not know-
ing what had happened to him, drove the
geese into the fields, and letting them go
their way along the seashore, he used to
retire into a little straw shed, where he
bewailed his lot until evening, when it was
time to return home. But whilst the geese
were running about on the shore, Marziella
would come out of the water, and feed them
with sweetmeats, and give them rose-water
to drink; so that the geese grew as big as
a sheep, and were so fat that they could not
see out of their eyes. And in the evening
when they came into a little garden under
the king’s window, they began to sing—

Pire, pire, pire !

The sun and the moon are bright and clear,

But she who feeds us is still more fair,


= seageng to lhe
THE TWO CAKES 153

Now the king, hearing this goose-music
every evening, ordered Ciommo to be called,
and asked him where, and how, and upon
what he fed his geese. And Ciommo
replied, ‘I give them nothing to eat but the
fresh grass of the field.’ But the king, who
was not satisfied with this answer, sent a
trusty servant after Ciommo, to watch and
observe where he drove the geese. Then
the man followed in his footsteps, and saw
him go into the little straw shed, leaving
the geese to themselves; and going their
way, they had no sooner come to the shore
than Marziella rose up out of the sea,
fair as the day. When the servant of the
king saw this, he ran back to his master,
beside himself with amazement, and told
him the pretty spectacle he had seen
upon the stage of the seashore.

The curiosity of the king was increased
by what the man told him, and he had a
great desire to go himself and see the
beautiful sight. So the next morning,
when Ciommo went with the geese to the
accustomed spot, the king followed him
' closely ; and when the geese came to the
seashore, without Ciommo, who remained
as usual in the little shed, the king saw
Marziella rise out of the water. And after
giving the geese a trayful of sweetmeats to
eat and a cupful of rose-water to drink,
she seated herself on a rock and began to
184 THE PENTAMERONE

comb her locks, from which fell handfuls of
pearls and garnets; at the same time a
cloud of flowers dropped from her mouth,
and under her feet was a Syrian carpet of
lilies and violets.

When the king saw this sight, he ordered
Ciommo to be called, and pointing to
Marziella, asked him whether he knew that
beautiful maiden. Then Ciommo recognis-
ing his sister ran to embrace her, and in
the presence of the king heard from her all
the treacherous conduct of Troccola, and
how the envy of that wicked creature had
brought that fair fire of love to dwell in the
waters of the sea.

The joy of the king is not to be told at
the acquisition of so fair a jewel; and
turning to her brother, he said that he had
good reason to praise Marziella so much,
and indeed that he found her three times
more beautiful than he had described
her: he deemed her therefore more than
worthy to be his wife, if she would be
content to receive the sceptre of his
kingdom.

‘Alas, would to heaven it could be so!’
answered Marziella, ‘and that I could serve
you as the slave of your crown! but see
you not this golden chain upon my foot, by
which the sorcefess holds me prisoner?
When I take too much fresh air, and tarry
too long on the shore, she draws me into


ding che

ei





tella fe

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Sees

las

di



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PN
THE TWO CAKES 138

the waves, and thus keeps me held in rich
slavery by a golden chain.’

‘What way is there,’ said the king, ‘to
free you from the claws of this syren?’

‘The way,’ replied Marziella, ‘would be
to cut this chain with a smooth file, and to
loose me from it.’

‘Wait till to-morrow morning,’ answered
the king ; ‘I will then come with all that is
needful, and take you home with me, where
you shall be the pupil of my eye, the core
of my heart, and the life of my soul’ And
then exchanging a shake of the hands as
the earnest-money of their love, she went
back into the water and he into the fire,—
and into such a fire indeed that he had not
an hour’s rest the whole day long. And
when the Night came he never closed an
eye, but lay ruminating in his memory over
the beauties of Marziella, discoursing in
thought of the marvels of her hair, the
miracles of her mouth, and the wonders of
her feet; and applying the gold of her
graces to the touchstone of judgment, he
found that it was four-and-twenty carats
fine.

But whilst he was thus thinking of her
who was all the while zz the sea, behold the
Sun appeared, Then the king dressed
himself, and went with Ciommo to the
seashore, where he found Marziella; and
the king with his own hand cut the chain
156 THE PENTAMERONE

from the foot of the beloved object with the
file which they had brought, but all the
while he forged a still stronger one for his
heart ; and setting her on the saddle behind
him he set out for the royal palace, where
by his command all the handsome ladies
of the land were assembled, who received
Marziella as their mistress with all due
honour. Then the king married her, and
there were great festivities; and among all
the casks which were burnt for the illuntina-
tions, the king ordered that Troccola should
be shut up in a tub, and made to suffer for
the treachery she had shown to Marziella.
Then sending for Luceta, he gave her and
Ciommo enough to live upon like princes ;
whilst Puccia, driven out of the kingdom,
wandered about as a beggar; and, as the
reward of her not having sowna little bit of
cake, she had now to suffer a constant
want of bread; for it is the will of Heaven
that
He who shows no pity finds none.

The story of the two cakes was verily a
cake stuffed full of plums, which all relished
so much that they licked their fingers after
it, But as Paola was ready to start with
the relation of her story, the Prince
commanded silence, which robbed every
one of speech, and she began as follows.


















apie (PVE) Cx
CW -— SS Ep a oN
‘Ree eee ae,











THE SEVEN DOVES

E who gives pleasure meets with
it: kindness is the bond of
friendship and the hook of love:
he who sows not reaps not; of
which truth Ciulla has given you the fore-
taste of example, and I will give you the
dessert, if you will bear in mind what Cato
says, ‘Speak little at table.’ Therefore have
the kindness to lend me your ears a while;
and may Heaven cause them to stretch con-
tinually, to listen to pleasant and amusing
things.



There was once in the county of Arzanoa
good woman to whom every year gave a
son, until at length there were seven of them,
who looked like a syrinx of the god Pan,
with seven reeds, one larger than another.
And when they had changed their first
teeth, they said to Jannetella their mother,
158 THE PENTAMERONE

‘Hark ye, mother, if, after so many sons,
you do not this time have a daughter, we
are resolved to leave home, and go wander-
ing through the world like the sons of the
blackbirds.’

When their mother heard this sad an-
nouncement, she prayed Heaven to remove
such an intention from her sons, and prevent
her losing seven such jewels as they were.
But the sons said to Jannetella, ‘We will
retire to the top of yonder hill or rock
opposite; if Heaven sends you another
son, put an inkstand and a pen up at the
window ; but if you have a little girl, put up
a spoon and a distaff. For if we see the
signal of a daughter, we shall return home
and spend the rest of our lives under your
wings; but if we see the signal of a son,
then forget us, for you may know that we
have taken ourselves off’

Soon after the sons had departed it pleased
Heaven that Jannetella should have given her
a pretty little daughter; then she told the
nurse to make the signal to the brothers,
but the woman was so stupid and confused
that she put up the inkstand and the pen.
As soon as the seven brothers saw this
signal, they set off, and walked on and on,
until at the end of three years they came to
a wood, where the trees were performing the
sword-dance to the sound of a river which
made counterpoint upon the stones. In
THE SEVEN DOVES 159

this wood was the house of an ogre, whose
eyes having been blinded whilst asleep by a
woman, he was such an enemy to the sex
that he devoured all whom he could catch.

When the youths arrived at the ogre’s
house, tired out with walking and exhausted
with hunger, they begged him for pity’s sake
to give them a morsel of bread. And the
ogre replied, that if they would serve him,
he would give them food, and they would
have nothing else to do but to watch over
him, like a dog, each in turn for a day.
The youths, upon hearing this, thought they
had found mother and father ; so they con-
sented, and remained in the service of the
ogre, who having gotten their names by
heart, called one time Giangrazio, at
another Cecchitiello, now Pascale, now
Nuccio, now Pone, now Pezzillo, and now
Carcavecchia, for so the brothers were
named; and giving them a room in the
lower part of his house, he allowed them
enough to live upon.

Meanwhile their sister had grown up;
and hearing that her seven brothers, owing
to the stupidity of the nurse, had set out to
walk through the world, and that no tidings
of them had ever been received, she took it
into her head to go in search of them. And
she begged and prayed her mother so long,
that at last, overcome by her entreaties, she
gave her leave to go, and dressed her like a
160 THE PENTAMERONE

pilgrim. Then the maiden walked and
walked, asking at every place she came to
whether any one had seen seven brothers.
And thus she journeyed on, until at length
she got news of them at an inn, where
having inquired the way to the wood, one
morning, she arrived at the ogre’s house,
where she was recognised by her brothers
with great joy, who cursed the inkstand and
pen for writing falsely such misfortune for
them. Then giving her a thousand caresses,
they told her to remain quiet in their cham-
ber, that the ogre might not see her ; bidding
her at the same time give a portion of
whatever she had to eat to a cat which was
in the room, or otherwise she would do her
‘some harm. Cianna (for so the sister was
named) wrote down this advice in the
pocket-book of her heart, and shared every-
thing with the cat, like a good companion,
always cutting justly, and saying, ‘ This for
me—this for thee,—this for the daughter of
the king !’ giving the cat a share to the last
morsel.

Now it happened one day that the
brothers, going to hunt for the ogre, left
Cianna a little basket of chick-peas to cook ;
and as she was picking them, by ill luck she
found among them a hazel-nut, which was
the stone of disturbance to her quiet; for
having swallowed it without giving half to
the cat, the latter out of spite ran up to the
THE SEVEN DOVES 161

hearth and put out the fire. Cianna seeing
this, and not knowing what to do, left the
room, contrary to the command of her
brothers, and going into the ogre’s chamber
begged him for a little fire. Then the
ogre, hearing a woman’s voice, said, Wel-
come, madam! wait a while,—you have
found what you are seeking.’ And so say-
ing he took a Genoa stone, and daubing it
with oil he fell to whetting his tusks. But
Cianna, who saw that she had made a mis-
take, seizing a lighted stick, ran to her
chamber ; and bolting the door inside, she
placed against it bars, stools, bedsteads,
tables, stones, and everything there was in
the room.

As soon as the ogre had put an edge on
his teeth he ran to the chamber of the
brothers, and finding the door fastened, he
fell to kicking it to break it open. At this
noise and disturbance the seven brothers
came home, and hearing themselves accused
by the ogre of treachery for making their
chamber the abode of his women-enemies,
Giangrazio, who was the eldest and had
more sense than the others, and saw matters
going badly, said to the ogre, ‘We know
nothing of this affair, and it may be that this
wicked woman has perchance come into the
room whilst we were at the chase; but as
she has fortified herself inside, come with
me, and I will take you to a place where

M
162 THE PENTAMERONE

we can seize her without her being able to
defend herself.’

Then they took the ogre by the hand,
and led him to a deep, deep pit, where
giving him a push they sent him headlong
to the bottom; and taking a shovel, which
they found on the ground, they covered him
with earth. Then they bade their sister
unfasten the door, and they rated her
soundly for the fault she had committed, and
the danger in which she had placed herself ;
telling her to be more careful in future, and
to beware of plucking grass upon the spot
where the ogre was buried, or they would be
turned into seven doves.

‘Heaven keep me from bringing such a

‘ misfortune upon you!’ replied Cianna. So
taking possession of all the ogre’s goods and
chattels, and making themselves masters of
the whole house, they lived there merrily
enough, waiting until winter should pass
away.

Now it happened one day, when the
brothers were gone to the mountains to get
firewood, to defend themselves against the
cold, which increased from day to day, that
a poor pilgrim came to the ogre’s wood, and
made faces at an ape that was perched up in
a pine-tree ; whereupon:the ape threw down
one of the fir-apples from the tree upon the
man’s pate, which made such a terrible
bump that the poor fellow set up a loud cry.
THE SEVEN DOVES 163

Cianna hearing the noise went out,and taking
pity on his disaster, she quickly plucked a
sprig of rosemary from a tuft which grew
upon the ogre’s grave; then she made hima
plaster of it with chewed bread and salt, and
after giving the man some breakfast she sent
him away. i

Whilst Cianna was laying the cloth, and
expecting her brothers, lo! she saw seven
doves come flying, who said to her, ‘Ah!
better that your hand had been cut off, you
cause of all our misfortune, ere it plucked
that accursed rosemary and brought such
a calamity upon us! Have you eaten the
brains of a cat, O sister, that you have
driven our advice from your mind? Behold.
us turned to birds, a prey to the talons of
kites, hawks, and falcons! behold us made
companions of water-hens, snipes, gold-
finches, woodpeckers, jays, owls, magpies,
Jackdaws, rooks, starlings, woodcocks, cocks,
hens and chickens, turkey-cocks, blackbirds,
thrushes, chaffinches, tomtits, jenny-wrens,
lapwings, linnets, greenfinches, crossbills,
flycatchers, larks, plovers, kingfishers, wag-
tails, redbreasts, redfinches, spatrows, ducks,
fieldfares, wood-pigeons and bullfinches! A
rare thing you have done! and now we may
return to our country to find nets laid and
twigs limed for us! To heal the head of a
pilgrim, you have broken the heads of seven
brothers ; nor is there any help for our mis-
164 THE PENTAMERONE

fortune, unless you find the Mother of Time,
who will tell you the way to get us out of
trouble.’

Cianna, looking like a plucked quail at
the fault she had committed, begged pardon
of her brothers, and offered to go round the
world until she should find the dwelling of
the old woman.. Then praying them not to.
stir from the house until she returned, lest
any ill should betide them, she set out, and
journeyed on and on without ever tiring ;
and though she went on foot, her desire to
aid her brothers served her as a sumpter-
mule, with which she made three miles an
hour, At last she came to the seashore,
where with the blows of the waves the sea
was banging the rocks. Here she saw a
huge whale, who said to her, ‘My pretty
maiden, what go you seeking?’ And she
replied, ‘I am seeking the dwelling of the
Mother of Time.’ ‘Hear then what you
must do,’ replied the whale: ‘go straight
along this shore, and on coming to the first
river; follow it up to its source, and you will
meet with some one who will show you the
way. But do me one kindness,—when you
find the good old woman, beg of her the
favour to tell me some means by which I
may swim about safely, without so often
knocking upon the rocks and being thrown
on the sands,’

‘ Trust to me,’ said Cianna: then thank-
THE SEVEN DOVES 165

ing the whale for pointing out the way, she
set off walking along the shore; and after
a long journey she came to the river, which
was disbursing itself into the sea. Then
taking the way up to its source, she arrived
at a beautiful open country, where the
meadow vied with the heaven, displaying
-her green mantle starred over with flowers ;
and there she met a mouse, who said to her,
‘Whither are you going thus alone, my
pretty girl?’? And Cianna replied, ‘1 am
seeking the Mother of Time.’

‘You have a long way to go,’ said the
mouse; ‘but do not lose heart,—everything
has an end: walk on therefore toward yon
mountains, and you will soon have more
news of what you are seeking. But do me
one favour,—when you arrive at the house
you wish to find, get the good old woman to
tell you what we can do to get rid of the
tyranny of the'cats; then command me, and
I am your slave.’

Cianna, after promising to do the mouse
this kindness, set off toward the mountains,
which, although they appeared to be close
at hand, seemed never to be reached. But
having come to them at length, she sat down
tired out upon a stone; and there she saw
an army of ants carrying a large store of
grain, one of whom turning to Cianna said,
‘Who art thou, and whither art thou going?’
And Cianna, who was courteous to every
166 THE PENTAMERONE

one, said to her, ‘I am an unhappy girl,
who for a matter that concerns me am
seeking the dwelling of the Mother of Time?

‘Go on farther,’ replied the ant, ‘and
where these mountains open into a large
plain you will obtain more news. “But do
me a great favour,—get the secret from the
old woman what we ants can do to live a
little longer ; for it seems to me a folly in
worldly affairs to be heaping up such a large
store of food for so short a life,’

‘Be at ease,’ said Cianna; ‘I will return
the kindness you have shown me.’

Then she passed the mountains and
arrived at a wide plain ; and proceeding a
little way over it, she came to a large oak-
tree, whose fruit tasted like sweetmeats to
the maiden, who was satisfied with little.
Then the oak, making lips of its bark and
a tongue of its pith, said to Cianna,
‘Whither are you going so sad, my little
daughter ? come and rest under my shade.’
Cianna thanked him much, but excused
herself, saying that she was going in haste
to find the Mother of Time, And when the
oak heard this he replied, ‘You are not far
from her dwelling ; for before you have gone
another day’s journey you will see upon a
mountain a house, in which you will fnd her
whom you seek. But if you have as much
kindness as beauty, I prithee learn for me
what I can do to regain my lost honour ; for
THE SEVEN DOVES 167

instead of being food for great men, I am
now only made the food of hogs.’

‘Leave that to me,’ replied Cianna; ‘I
will take care to serve you.’ So saying she
departed, and walking on and on without
ever resting, she came at length to the foot
of an impertinent mountain, which was
poking its head into the face of the clouds,
There she found an old man, who wearied
and wayworn had lain down upon some hay :
and as soon as he saw Cianna, he knew her
at once, and that it was she who had cured
his bump.

When the old man heard what she was
seeking, he told her that he was carrying
to Time the rent for the piece of earth
which he had cultivated, and that Time
was a tyrant who usurped everything in the
world, claiming tribute from all, and especi-
ally from people of his age; and he added
that, having received kindness from Cianna,
he would now return it a hundredfold, by
giving her some good information about her
arrival at the mountain; and that he was
sorry he could not accompany her thither,
since his old age, which was condemned
rather to go down than up, obliged him to
remain at the foot of those mountains, to
cast up accounts with the clerks of Time,
which are the labours, the sufferings, and
the infirmities of life, and to pay the debt
of Nature, So the old man said to her,
168 THE PENTAMERONE

‘Now, my pretty innocent child, listen to
me€: you must know that on the top of this
mountain you will find a ruined house,
which was built long ago time out of mind :
the walls are cracked, the foundations
crumbling away, the doors worm-eaten, the
furniture all worn out, and in short every-
thing is gone to wrack and ruin. On one
side are seen shattered columns, on another
broken statues, and nothing is left in a good
state except a coat-of-arms over the door,
quartered, on which you will see a serpent
biting its tail, a stag, a raven, anda pheenix.
When you enter, you will see on the ground
files, saws, scythes, sickles, pruning-hooks,
and hundreds and hundreds of vessels full
of ashes, with the names written on them,
like gallipots in an apothecary’s shop; and
there may be read Corinth, Saguntum,
Carthage, Troy, and a thousand other cities,
the ashes of which Time preserves as
trophies of his conquests,

‘When you come near the house, hide
yourself until Time goes out; and as soon
as he has gone forth, enter, and you will
find an old, old woman, with a beard that
touches the ground and a hump reaching
to the sky: her hair, like the tail of a
dapple-gray horse, covers her heels; her
face looks like a plaited collar, with the
folds stiffened by the starch of years. The
old woman is seated upon a clock, which
THE SEVEN DOVES 169

is fastened to a wall; and her eyebrows are
so large that they overshadow her eyes, so
that she will not be able to see you. As
soon as you enter, quickly take the weights
off the clock; then call to the old woman,
and beg her to answer your questions ;
whereupon she will instantly call her son
to come and eat you up; but the clock upon
which the old woman sits having lost its
weights, her son cannot move, and she will
therefore be obliged to tell you what you
wish. But do not trust any oath she may
make, unless she swear by the wings of her
son: then give faith to her, and do what
she tells you, and you will be content.’

So saying, the poor old man fell down and
crumbled away, like adead body brought from
a catacomb to the light of day. Then Cianna
took the ashes, and mixing them with a pint
of tears, she made a grave and buried them,
praying Heaven to grant them quiet and
repose. And ascending the mountain, till
she was quite out of breath, she waited
until Time came out, who was an old man
with a long, long beard, and who wore a
very old cloak covered with slips of paper,
on which were worked the names of various
people: he had large wings, and ran so fast
that he was out of sight in an instant.

When Cianna entered the house of his
mother, she started with affright at the
sight of that black old chip; and instantly
170 THE PENTAMERONE

seizing the weights of the clock,. she told
what she wanted to the old woman, who
setting up a loud cry called to her son.
But Cianna said to her, ‘You may butt
your head against the wall as long as you
like, for you will not see your son whilst I
hold these clock-weights.’

Thereupon the old woman, seeing herself
foiled, began to coax Cianna, saying, ‘ Let
go of them, my dear, and do not stop my
son’s course; for no man living has ever
donethat. Let go of them, and may Heaven
preserve you! for I promise you by the
aquafortis of my son, with which he corrédes
everything, that I will do you no harm.’

‘ That’s time lost,’ answered Cianna ; ‘ you
must say something better if you would have
me quit my hold.’

‘I swear to you by those teeth which
gnaw all mortal things, that I will tell you
all you desire.’

‘That is all nothing,’ answered Cianna ;
‘for I know you are deceiving me.’

‘Well then,’ said the old woman, ‘I swear
to you by those wings which fly over all, that
I will give you more pleasure than you
imagine.’

Thereupon Cianna, letting go the weights,
kissed the old woman’s hand, which had a
mouldy feel and a musty smell. And the
old woman, seeing the courtesy of the damsel,
said to her, ‘ Hide yourself behind this door,

THE SEVEN DOVES I7t

and when Time comes home I will make
him tell me all you wish to know. And as
soon as he goes out again—for he never
stays quiet in one place—you can depart,
But do not let yourself be heard or seen, for
he is such a glutton that he does not spare
even his own children; and when all fails, he
devours himself, and then springs up anew.’

Cianna did as the old woman told her,
and lo! soon after Time came flying quick,
quick, high, and light, and having gnawed
whatever came to hand, down to the very
mouldiness upon the walls, he was about to
depart, when his mother told him all she
had heard from Cianna, beseeching him to
answer exactly all her questions. After a
thousand entreaties her son replied, ‘To the
tree may be answered, that it can never be
prized by men so long as it keeps treasures
buried under its roots :—to the mice, that
they will never be safe from the cat, unless
they tie a bell to her leg, to tell them when
she is coming :—to the ants, that they will
live a hundred years, if they can dispense
with flying; for when the ant is going to
die she puts on wings :—to the whale, that
it should be of good cheer, and make friends
with the sea-mouse, who will serve him as a
guide, so that he will never go wrong :—
and to the doves, that when they alight on
the column of wealth, they will return to
their former state.’
172 THE PENTAMERONE

So saying, Time set out to run his accus-
tomed post; and Cianna, taking leave of
the old woman, descended to the foot of the
mountain, just at the very time that the seven
doves, who had followed their sister’s foot-
steps, arrived there. Wearied with flying
so far, they stopped to rest upon the horn
of a dead ox; and no sooner had they
alighted, than they were changed into hand-
some youths, as they were at first. But
while they were marvelling at this, they
heard the reply which Time had given, and
saw at once that the horn, as the symbol of
plenty, was the column of wealth of which
Time had spoken. Then embracing their
sister with great joy, they all set out on the
same road by which Cianna had come. And
when they came to the oak-tree, and told it
what Cianna had heard from Time, the tree
begged them to take away the treasure from
its roots, since it was the cause why its
acorns had lost their reputation. Thereupon
the seven brothers, taking a spade which
they found in a garden, dug and dug, until
they came to a great heap of gold money,
which they divided into eight parts, and shared
among themselves and their sister, so that
they might carry it away conveniently. But
being wearied with the journey and the load,
they laid themselves down to sleep under a
hedge. Presently a band of robbers coming
by, and seeing the poor fellows asleep, with
THE SEVEN DOVES 173

their heads upon the clothsful of dollars,
bound them hand and foot. to some trees,
and took away the money, leaving them to
bewail not only their wealth, which had
slipped through their fingers as soon as
found, but their life; for being without hope
of succour, they were in peril of either soon
dying of starvation or allaying the hunger of
some wild beast.

As they were lamenting their unhappy
lot, up came the mouse, who, as soon as she
heard the reply which Time had given, in
return for the good service nibbled the cords
with which they were bound and set them
free. And having gone a little way farther
they met on the road the ant, who, when
she heard the advice of Time, asked Cianna
what was the matter, that she was so pale-
faced and cast down. And when Cianna
told her their misfortune, and the trick
which the robbers had played them, the ant
replied, ‘Be quiet, I can now requite the
kindness you have done me. You must
know, that whilst I was carrying a load of
grain underground, I saw a place where
these dogs of assassins hide their plunder ;
they have made some holes under an old
building, in which they shut up all the
things they have stolen; they are just now
gone out for some new robbery, and I will
go with you and show you the place, so that
you may recover your money.’
174 THE PENTAMERONE

So saying she took the way toward some
tumble-down houses, and showed the seven
brothers the mouth of a pit; whereupon
Giangrazio, who was bolder than the rest,
entering it, found there all the money of
which they had been robbed. Then taking
it with them, they set out, and walked
towards the seashore, where they found the
whale, and told him the good advice which
Time—who is the father of counsel—had
given them, And whilst they stood talking
of their journey, and all that had befallen
them, they saw the robbers suddenly appear,
armed to the teeth, who had followed in
their footsteps. At this sight they ex-
claimed, ‘ Alas, alas! we are now wholly
lost, for here come the robbers armed, and
they will not leave the skin on our bodies !’

‘Fear not,’ replied the whale, ‘for I can
save you out of the fire, and will thus re-
quite the love you have shown me: so get
upon my back, and I will quickly carry you
to a place of safety.’

Cianna and her brothers, seeing the foe at
their heels and the water up to their throat,
climbed upon the whale, who, keeping far
off from the rocks, carried them to within
sight of Naples; but being afraid to land
them on account of the shoals and shallows,
he said, ‘Where would you like me to land
you? on the shore of Amalfi?’ And Gian-
grazio answered, ‘See whether that cannot
THE SEVEN DOVES 175

be avoided, my dear fish; I do not wish to
land at any place hereabouts ; for at Massa
they say barely good-day, at Sorrento
thieves are plenty, at Vico they say you may
go your way, at Castel-a-mare no one says
how are ye?’

Then the whale, to please them, turned
about and went toward the Salt-rock, where
he left them ; and they got put on shore by
the first fishing-boat that passed. There-
upon they returned to their own country,
safe and sound and rich, to the great joy
and consolation of their mother and father ;
and, thanks to the goodness of Cianna, they
enjoyed a happy life, verifying the old saying,

Do good whenever you can, and forget it.


THE GOLDEN ROOT

PERSON who is over-curious,
and wants.to know more than he
ought, always carries the match
in his hand to set fire to the

powder-room of his own fortunes; and he

who pries into others’ affairs is frequently

a loser in his own; for generally he who

digs holes to search for treasures comes to

a ditch, into which he himself falls; as

happened to the daughter of a gardener in

the following manner.



There was once a gardener, who was so
very very poor that, however hard he worked,
he could not manage to get bread for his
family: so he gave three little pigs to three
daughters whom he had, that they might
rear them, and thus get something for “a
little dowry.. Then Pascuzza and Cice,
who were the eldest, drove their little pigs
THE GOLDEN ROOT 177

to feed in a beautiful meadow, but they
would not let Parmetella, who was the
youngest daughter, go with them, and drove
her away, telling her to go and feed her
pig somewhere else. So Parmetella drove
her little animal into a wood, where the
Shades were holding out against the assaults
of the Sun; and coming to a pasture, in
the middle of which flowed a fountain, that
like the hostess of an inn where cold water
is sold, was inviting the passers-by with its
silver tongue, she found a certain tree with
golden leaves. Then plucking one of them,
she took it to her father, who with great
joy sold it for more than twenty ducats,
which served to stop up a hole in his affairs.
And when he asked Parmetella where she
had found it, she said, ‘Take it, sir, and
ask no questions, unless you would spoil your
good fortune.’ The next day she returned
and did the same, and she went on plucking
the leaves from the tree until it was entirely
stripped, as if it had been plundered by the
winds of Autumn. Then she perceived
that the tree had a large golden root, which
she could. not pull up with her hands; so
she went home, and fetching an axe set to
worksto lay bare the root round the foot
of the tree; and raising the trunk as well
as she could, she found under it a beautiful
porphyry staircase. ‘

Parmetella, who was curious beyond

N..
178 THE PENTAMERONE

measure, went down the stairs, and walking
through a large and deep cavern, she came to
a beautiful plain, on which was a splendid
palace, where nothing but gold and silver
were trodden underfoot, and pearls and
precious stones everywhere met the eye.
And as Parmetella stood wondering at all
these splendid things, not seeing any person
moving among so many beautiful fixtures,
she went into a chamber, in which were a
number of pictures; and on them were
seen painted various beautiful things, es-
pecially the ignorance of a man esteemed
wise, the injustice of him who held the
scales, and the injuries avenged’ by Heaven,
—things truly to amaze one: and in the
same chamber also was a splendid table,
set out with things to eat and to drink.
Seeing no one, Parmetella, who was very
hungry, sat down at table to eat like a
fine count; but while she was in the midst
of the feast, behold a handsome slave
entered, who said, ‘Stay! do not go away,
for I will have you for my wife, and will
make you the happiest woman in the world.’
In spite of her fear Parmetella took heart
at this good offer, and consenting to what
the Slave proposed, a coach of diamonds
was instantly given her, drawn by four
golden steeds, with wings of emeralds and
rubies, who carried her flying through the
air, to take an airing; and a number of
THE GOLDEN ROOT 179

apes clad in cloth-ofgold were given to
attend on her person, who forthwith arrayed
her from head to foot, and adorned her so
that she looked just like a queen.

When night was come, the Slave said to
Parmetella, ‘My dear, now go to rest in
this bed; but remember first to put out the
candle, and mind what I say, or ill will
betide you.’ Then Parmetella did as he
told her; but no sooner had she closed her
eyes, than the blackamoor changing to a
handsome youth, lay down to sleep. But
the next morning ere the Dawn the youth
arose and took his other form again, leaving.
Parmetella full of wonder and curiosity.

And again the following night, when
Parmetella went to rest, she put out the
candle as she had done the night before,
and the youth came as usual and lay down
to sleep. But no sooner had he shut his
eyes than Parmetella arose, took a steel
which she had provided, and lighting the
tinder applied a match: then taking the
candle, she raised the coverlet, and beheld
the ebony turned to ivory, the caviar to
‘milk and cream, and the coal to chalk.
And whilst she stood gazing with open
mouth, and contemplating the most beauti-
ful pencilling that Nature had ever given
upon the canvas of Wonder, the youth
awoke, and began to reproach Parmetella,
saying, ‘Ah, woe is me! for your prying
180 THE PENTAMERONE

curiosity I ‘have to suffer another seven
years this accursed punishment: but be-
gone! run, scamper off, take -yourself out
of my sight! you know not what good
fortune you lose.’ So saying he vanished
like quicksilver.

The poor girl left the palace, cold and
stiff with affright, and with her head bowed
to the ground; and when she had come
out of the cavern she met a fairy, who said
to her, ‘My child, how my heart grieves at
your misfortune! Unhappy girl, you are
going to the slaughter-house, where you
will pass over the bridge no wider than a
hair; therefore, to provide against your
peril, take these seven spindles, with these
seven figs, and a little jar of honey, and
these seven pairs of iron shoes, and walk
on and on without stopping until they are
worn out; then you will see seven women
standing upon a balcony of a house, and
spinning from above down to the ground,
with the thread wound upon the bone of a
dead person. Remain quite still and hid-
den, and when the thread comes down,
take out the bone and put in its place a
spindle besmeared with honey, with a fig in
the place of the little button, Then as
soon as the women draw up the spindles,
and taste the honey, they will say, “He
who has made my spindle sweet, shall in
return with good fortune meet!” And after
THE GOLDEN ROOT 181

repeating these words, they will say one
after another, ‘¢O you who have brought us
these sweet things, appear!” Then you
must answer, “Nay, for you will eat me.”
And they will say, “We swear by our spoon
that we will not eat you!” But do not
stir; and they will continue, “We swear
by our spit that we will not eat you!” But
stand firm, as if rooted to the spot; and
they will say, “We swear by our broom
that we will not eat you!” Still do not
believe them; and when they say, “We
swear by our pail that we will not eat you!”
shut your mouth, and say not a word, or it
will cost you your life. At last they will
say, “ We swear by Thunder-and-Lightning
that we will not eat you!” Then take
courage and mount up, for they will do you
no harm,’

When Parmetella heard this, she set off
and walked over hill and dale, until at the
end of seven years the iron shoes were worn
out; and coming to a large house, with a
projecting balcony, she saw the seven
women spinning. So she did as the fairy
had advised her, and after a thousand wiles
and allurements, they swore by Thunder-
and-Lightning, whereupon she showed her-
self and mounted up. Then they all seven
said to her, ‘Traitress, you are the cause
that our brother has lived twice seven long
years in the cavern, far away from us, in the
182 THE PENTAMERONE

form of a blackamoor! But never mind—
although you have been clever enough to
stop our throat with the oath, you shall on
the first opportunity pay off both the old
and the new reckoning. But now hear what
you must do: hide yourself behind this
trough, and when our mother comes, who
would swallow you down at once, rise up
and seize her behind her back; hold her
fast, and do not let her go until she swears
by Thunder-and-Lightning not to harm you.’

Parmetella did as she was bid, and after
the ogress had sworn by the fire-shovel, by
the spinning-wheel, by the reel, by the side-
board, and by the peg, at last she swore by
Thunder-and-Lightning ; whereupon Par-
metella let go her hold, and showed herself
to the ogress, who said, ‘You have caught
me this time; but take care, traitress! for
at the first shower I'll send you to the
Lava.’

One day the ogress, who was on the look-
out for an opportunity to devour Parmetella,
took twelve sacks of various seeds—peas,
chick-peas, lentils, vetches, kidney-beans,
beans, and lupins—-and mixed them all
together ; then she said to her, ‘ Traitress,
take these seeds and sort them all, so that
each kind may be separated from the rest ;
and if they are not all sorted by this
evening, I'll swallow you like a penny tart’

Poor Parmetella sat down beside the
THE GOLDEN ROOT 183

sacks, weeping, and said, ‘O mother,
mother, how will this golden root prove a
root of woes to me! Now is my misery
completed; by seeing a black face turned
white, all has become black before my eyes.
Alas! I am ruined and undone—there is no
help for it: I already seem as if I were in
the throat of that horrid ogress ; there is no
one to help me, there is no one to advise
me, there is no one to comfort me!’

As she was lamenting thus, lo! Thunder-
and-Lightning appeared like a flash, for the
banishment laid upon him by the spell had
just ended. Although he was angry with
Parmetella, yet he still loved her, and seeing
her grieving thus he said to her, ‘ Traitress,
what makes you weep so?’ Then she told
him of his mothey’s ill-treatment of her, and
her wish to make an end of her and eat her
up. But Thunder-and-Lightning replied,
‘Calm yourselt and take heart, for it shall
not be as she said’ And instantly scatter-
ing all the seeds on the ground, he made a
deluge of ants spring up, who forthwith set
to work to heap up all the seeds separately,
each kind by itself, and Parmetella filled the
sacks with them,

When the ogress came home and found
the task done, she was almost in despair,
and cried, ‘That dog Thunder-and-Light-
ning has played me this trick ; but you shall
not escape thus! So take these pieces of
184 THE PENTAMERONE

bed-tick, which are enough for twelve
mattresses, and mind that by this evening
they are filled with feathers, or else I will
make mincemeat of you.’

The poor girl took the bed-ticks, and
sitting down upon the ground began to weep
and lament bitterly, making two fountains
of her eyes, But presently Thunder-and-
Lightning appeared, and said to her, ‘Do
not weep, traitress,—leave it to me, and I
will bring you to port: so let down your
hair, spread the bed-ticks upon the ground,
and fall to weeping and wailing, and crying
out that the king of the birds is dead; then
you'll see what will happen,’

Parmetella did as she was told, and be-
hold a cloud of birds suddenly appeared that
darkened the air; and flapping their wings
they let fall their feathers by basketfuls, so
that in less than an hour the mattresses were
all filled. When the ogress came home and
saw the task done, she swelled up with rage
till she almost burst, saying, ‘ Thunder-and-
Lightning is determined to plague me, but
may I be dragged at an ape’s tail if I let
her escape!’ Then she said to Parmetella,
‘Run quickly to my sister’s house, and tell
her to send me the musical instruments ; for
I have resolved that Thunder-and-Lightning
shall marry, and we will make a feast fit for
aking.’ At the same time she sent to bid her
sister, when the poor girl came to ask for the
THE GOLDEN ROOT 185

instruments, instantly to kill and cook her,
and she would come and partake of the
feast.

Parmetella, hearing herself ordered to
perform an easier task, was in great joy,
thinking that the weather had begun to grow
milder. Alas, how crooked is human
judgment! On the way she met Thunder-
and-Lightning, who, seeing her walking at a
quick pace, said to her, ‘Whither are you
going, wretched girl? See you not that you
are on the way to the slaughter, that you are
forging your own fetters, and sharpening the
knife and mixing the poison for yourself, that
you are sent to the ogress for her to swallow
you ? But listen to me and fear not : take this
little loaf, this bundle of hay, and this stone ;
and when you come to the house of my aunt,
you will find a bulldog, which will fly bark-
ing at you to bite you; but give him this
little loaf, and it will stop his throat. And
when you have passed the dog, you will
meet a horse running loose, which will run
up to kick and trample on you ; but give
him the hay, and you will clog his feet. At
last you will come to a door, banging to and
fro continually; put this stone before it;
and you will stop its fury. Then mount
upstairs, and you will find the ogress, with a
little child in her arms, and the oven ready
heated'to bake you. Whereupon she will
say to you, “Hold this little creature, and
186 THE PENTAMERONE

wait here till I go and fetch the instruments.”
But mind—she will only go-to whet her
tusks, in order to tear you in pieces. Then
throw the little child into the oven without
pity, take the instruments which stand
behind the door, and hie off before the
ogress returns, or else you are lost. The
instruments are in a box, but beware of
opening it, or you will repent.’

Parmetella did all that Thunder-and-
Lightning told her; but on her way back
with the instruments she opened the box,
and lo and behold! they all flew out and
about—here a flute, there a flageolet, here a
pipe, there a bagpipe, making a thousand
different sounds in the air, whilst Parmetella
stood looking on and tearing her hair in
despair. :

Meanwhile the ogress came downstairs,
and not finding Parmetella, she went to the
window, and called out to the door, ‘ Crush
that traitress!’ But the door answered, ‘I
will not use the poor girl ill, for she has
made me at last stand still’ Then the
ogress cried out to the horse, ‘Trample on
the thief!’ But the horse replied, ‘ Let the
poor girl go her way, for she has given me
the hay.’ And lastly the ogress called to the
dog, saying, ‘Bite the rogue!’ But the dog
answered, ‘I’ll not hurt a hair of her head,
for she it was who gave me the bread.’

Now as Parmetella ran crying after the
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ite

ane

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THE GOLDEN ROOT 187

instruments she met Thunder-and-Lightning,
who scolded her well, saying, ‘Traitress,
will you not learn at your cost that by your
fatal curiosity you are brought to this plight?’
Then he called back the instruments with a
whistle, and shut them up again in the box,
telling Parmetella to take them to his
mother. But when the ogress saw her, she
cried aloud, ‘O cruel fate! even my sister is
against me, and refuses to give me this
-pleasure.’

Meanwhile the new bride arrived —a
hideous pest, a compound of ugliness, a
harpy, an evil shade, a horror, a monster.
Then the ogress made a great banquet for
her; and being full of gall and malice, she
had the table placed close to a well, where
she seated her seven daughters, each with a
torch in one hand; but she gave two torches
to Parmetella, and made her sit at the edge
of the well, on purpose that, when she fell
asleep, she might tumble to the bottom.

Now whilst the dishes were passing to
and fro, and their blood began to get warm,
Thunder-and-Lightning, who turned quite
sick at the sight of the new bride, said to
Parmetella, ‘Traitress, do you love me?’
‘Ay, to the top of the roof, she replied.
And he answered, ‘If you love me give me
akiss,’ ‘Nay,’ said Parmetella, ‘you indeed,
who have such a pretty creature at your
side! Heaven preserve her to you a hundred
188 THE PENTAMERONE

years in health!’ Then the new bride
answered, ‘It is very clear that you are a
simpleton, and would remain so were you to
live a hundred years, refusing to kiss so
handsome a youth.’

At these words the bridegroom swelled,
with rage like a toad, so that his food re-
mained sticking in his throat; however, he
put a good face on the matter, and swal-
lowed the pill, intending to make the reckon-
ing and settle the balance afterwards. But
when the tables were removed, and the
ogress and his sisters had gone away,
Thunder-and-Lightning said to the new
bride, ‘ Wife, did you see this proud creature
refuse me a kiss.’ ‘She was a simpleton,’
replied the bride, ‘to refuse a kiss to such a
handsome young man.’

Thunder-and-Lightning could contain him-
self no longer; and with the flash of scorn
and the thunder of action, he seized a knife
and stabbed the bride, and digging a hole in
the cellar he buried her. Then embracing
Parmetella he said to her, ‘You are my
jewel, the flower of women, the mirror of
honour! Turn those eyes upon me, give me
that hand, my heart! for I will be yours as
long as the world lasts.’

The next morning, the ogress came with
fresh eggs; her surprise was great to see Par-
metella in the place of the bride, and hearing
whathad passed, she ran toher sister, to concert
THE GOLDEN ROOT 189

some means of removing this thorn from her
eyes without her son being able to prevent
it. But when she found that her sister, out
of grief at the loss of her daughter had
crept into the oven herself and was burnt,
her despair was so great, that from an
ogress she became a ram, and butted her
head against the wall until she broke her
pate. Then Thunder-and-Lightning made
peace between Parmetella and her sisters-in-
law, and they all lived happy and content,
finding the saying come true, that

Patience conquers all.

The fate of the ogress, instead of exciting
any compassion, was only the cause of
pleasure, every one rejoicing that matters
turned out with Parmetella much better than
was expected.










NENNILLO AND NENNELLA

OE to him who thinks to find a
governess for his children by
giving them a stepmother! he
only brings into his house the

cause of their ruin. There never yet was
a stepmother who looked kindly on the
children of another; or if by chance such a
one were ever found, she would be regarded
as a miracle, and be called a white crow.
But besides all those of whom you may have
heard, I will now tell you of another, to be
added to the list of heartless stepmothers,
whom you will consider well deserving the
punishment she purchased for herself with
ready money.



There was once a good man named
Jannuccio, who had two children, Nennillo
and Nennella, whom he loved as much as
his own life. But death having severed the
NENNILLO AND NENNELLA IQI

prison-bars of his wife’s soul, he took to
himself a cruel woman, who had no sooner
set foot in his house than she began to ride
the high horse,:saying, ‘I am come here
indeed to look after other folk’s children?
A pretty job I have undertaken, to have all
this trouble and be for ever teased by a
couple of squalling brats! Would that I
had broken my neck ere I ever came to this
place, to have bad food,.worse drink, and
get no sleep at night! Here's a life to lead!
Forsooth I came as a wife, and not as a
servant; but I must find some means of
getting rid of these creatures, or it will cost
me my life: better to blush once than to
grow pale a hundred times; so I’ve done
with them, for I am resolved to send them
away, or to leave the house myself for
ever.’

The poor husband, who had some affec-
tion for this woman, said to her, ‘Softly,
wife! don’t be angry; to-morrow morning,
before the cock crows, I will remove this
annoyance in order to please you.’ So the
next morning, Jannuccio took the children,
one by each hand ; and with a good basket-
ful of things to eat upon his arm, he led
them to a wood, where an army of poplars
and beech-trees were holding the shades
besieged, Then Jannuccio said, ‘ My little
children, stay here in this wood, and eat
and drink merrily ; but if you want anything,
192 THE PENTAMERONE

follow this line of ashes which I have been
strewing as we came along; this will be a
clue to lead you out of the labyrinth and
bring you straight home.’ Then giving them
both a kiss, he returned weeping to his
house.

But at night the two little children began
to. feel afraid at remaining in that lonesome
place, where the waters of a river, which
was thrashing the impertinent stones for
obstructing its course, would have frightened
even a Rodomonte. So they went slowly
along the path of ashes, and it was already
midnight ere they reached their home.
When. Pascozza, their stepmother, saw the
children, she acted not like a woman, but a
perfect fury, crying aloud, wringing her
hands, stamping with her feet, snorting like
a frightened horse, and exclaiming, ‘What
fine piece of work is this! Is there no way
of ridding the house of these creatures? Is
it possible, husband, that you are determined
to keep them here to plague my very life out?
Go, take them out of my sight ! or else be
assured that to-morrow morning off Pll go
to my parents’ house, for you do not deserve
me. I have not brought you so many
fine things, only to be made the slave of
children who are not my own.’

Poor Jannuccio, who saw that matters
were growing rather too warm, immediately
took the little ones and returned to the
NENNILLO AND NENNELLA 193

wood; where giving the children another
basketful of food, he said to them, ‘ You see,
my dears, how this wife of mine—who is
come to my house'to be your ruin and a nail
in my heart—hates you; therefore remain
in this wood, where the trees more com-
passionate will give you shelter from the
sun, where the river more charitable will
give you drink without poison, and the
earth more kind will give you a pillow of
grass without danger. And when you want
food, follow this little path of bran which I
have made for you in a straight line, and
you can come and seek what you require,’
So saying he turned away his face, not to
let himself be seen to weep and dishearten
the poor little creatures.

When Nennillo and Nennella had eaten
all that was in the basket, they wanted to
return home; but alas! a jackass—the son
of ill luck—had eaten up all the bran that
was strewn upon the ground; so they lost
their way, and wandered about forlorn in
the wood for several days, feeding on acorns
and chestnuts which they found fallen on
the ground. But as Heaven always extends
its arm over the innocent, there came by
chance a prince to hunt in that wood, Then
Nennillo, hearing the baying of the hounds,
was so frightened that he crept into a
hollow tree ; and Nennella set off running at
full speed, and ran until she came out of the

Oo
194 THE PENTAMERONE

wood, and found herself on the seashore.
Now it happened that some pirates, who had
landed there to get fuel, saw Nennella and
carried her off: and their captain took her
home with him, where he and his wife,
having just lost a little girl, took her as their
daughter.

Meanwhile Nennillo, who had hidden him-
self in the tree, was surrounded by the dogs,
which made such a furious barking that the
prince sent to find out the cause; and when
he discovered the pretty little boy, who was
so young that he could not tell who were his
father and mother, he ordered one of the
huntsmen to set him upon his saddle and
take him to the royal palace. Then he had
him brought up with great care, and in-
structed in various arts, and among others
he had him taught that of a carver; so that,
before three or four years had passed,
Nennillo became so expert in his art that he
could carve a joint to a hair.

Now about this time it was discovered
that the captain of the ship who had taken
Nennella to his house was a sea-robber, and
the people wished to take him prisoner ; but
getting timely notice from the clerks in the
law-courts, who were his friends, and whom

_he kept in his pay, he fled with all his
family. It was decreed, however, perhaps
by the judgment of Heaven, that he who |
had committed his crimes upon the sea,
NENNILLO AND NENNELLA 195

upon the sea should suffer the punishment
of them; for having embarked in a small
boat, no sooner was he upon the open
sea than there came such a storm of wind
and tumult of the waves, that the boat was
upset and all were drowned —all except
Nennella, who having had no share in the
corsair’s robberies, like his wife and children,
escaped the danger; for just then a large
enchanted fish, which was swimming about
the boat, opened its huge throat and swal-
lowed her down.

The little girl now thought to herself that
her days were surely at an end, when sud-
denly she found a thing to amaze her inside
the fish,—beautiful fields and fine gardens,
and a splendid mansion, with all that heart
could desire, in which she lived like a prin-
cess. Then she was carried quickly by the
fish to a rock, where it chanced that the
prince had come to escape the burning heat
of summer, and to enjoy the cool sea-breezes,
And whilst a great banquet was preparing,
Nennillo had stepped out upon the balcony
of the palace on the rock to sharpen some
knives, priding himself greatly on acquiring
honour from his office. When Nennella saw
him through the fish’s throat, she cried aloud,

Brother, brother, your task is done,

The tables are laid out every one;

But here in the fish I must sit and sigh,

For, O brother, without you I soon shall die.
196 ' THE PENTAMERONE

Nennillo at first paid no attention to the
voice ; but the prince, who was standing on
another balcony and had also heard it,
turned in the direction whence the sound
came, and saw the fish. And when he
again heard the same words, he was beside
himself with amazement, and ordered a
number of servants to try whether by any
means they could ensnare the fish and draw
it to land. At last, hearing the words
‘Brother, brother !’ continually repeated, he
asked all his servants, one by one, whether
any of them had lost a sister. And Nennillo
replied, that he recollected, as a dream,
having had a sister when the prince found
him in the wood, but that he had never
sincé heard any tidings of her. Then the
prince told him to go nearer to the fish, and
see what was the matter, for perhaps this
adventure might concern him. As soon as
Nennillo approached the fish, it raised up its
head upon the rock, and opening its throat
six palms wide, Nennella stepped out, so
beautiful that she looked just like a nymph
in a pantomime, come forth from that animal
at the incantation of a magician. And when
the prince asked her how it had all happened,
she told him a part of her sad story, and the
hatred of their stepmother; but not being
able to recollect the name of their father
nor of their home, the prince caused a pro-
clamation to be issued, commanding that

NENNILLO AND NENNELLA 197

whoever had lost two children, named
Nennillo and Nennella, in a wood, should
come to the royal palace, and he would
there receive joyful news of them.

Jannuccio, who had all this time passed
a sad and disconsolate life, believing that
his children had been devoured by wolves,
now hastened with the greatest joy to seek
the prince, and told him that fe had lost
the children. And when he had related the
story, how he had been compelled to take
them to the wood, the prince gave him a
good scolding, calling him a blockhead for
allowing a woman to put her heel upon his
neck, till he was brought to send away two
such jewels as his children. But after he
had broken Jannuccio’s head with these
words, he applied to it the plaster of con-
solation, showing him the children, whom
the father embraced and kissed for half an
hour without being satisfied. Then the
prince made him pull off his jacket, and had
him dressed like a lord; and sending for
Jannuccio’s wife, he showed her those two
golden pippins, asking her what that person
would deserve who should do them any harm
and even endanger their lives. And she
replied, ‘For my part, I would put her into
a closed cask, and send her rolling down a
mountain.’

‘So it shall be done!’ said the prince ;
‘the goat has butted at herself. Quick
198 THE PENTAMERONE

now! you have passed the sentence, and
you must suffer it, for having borne these
beautiful stepchildren such malice.’ So he
gave orders that the sentence should be
instantly executed. Then choosing a very
rich lord among his vassals, he gave him
Nennella to wife, and the daughter of
another great lord to Nennillo; allowing
them enough to live upon, with their father,
so that they wanted for nothing in the
world, But the stepmother, shut zz¢o the
cask and shut ow¢ from life, kept on crying
out through the bunghole as long as she had
breath,

To him who mischief seeks shall mischief fall ;
There comes an hour that recompenses all.

It being now Ciommetella’s turn to speak,
on receiving the signal she began as
follows.




THE THREE CITRONS

ELL was it in truth said by the
wise man, ‘Do not say all you
know, nor do all you are able’ ;
for both one and the other bring

unknown danger and unforeseen ruin; as

you shall hear of a certain slave (be it
spoken with all reverence for my lady the

Princess), who, after doing all the injury in

her power to a poor girl, came off so badly

in the court, that she was the judge of her
own crime, and sentenced herself to the
punishment she deserved,



The King of Long-Tower had once a son,
who was the apple of his eye, and on whom
he had built all his hopes; and he longed
impatiently for the time when he should
find some good match for him, and hear
himself called grandpapa. But the prince
was so averse to marriage and so obstinate,
200 THE PENTAMERONE

that whenever a wife was talked of he shook
his head and wished himself a hundred
miles off; so that the poor king, finding his
son stubborn and perverse, and foreseeing
that his race would come to an end, was
more vexed and melancholy, cast down and
out of spirits, than a merchant whose
correspondent has become bankrupt, or a
peasant whose ass has died. Neither could
the tears of his father move the prince, nor the
entreaties of the courtiers soften him, nor the
counsel of wise men make him change his
mind; in vain they set before his eyes the
wishes of his father, the wants of the people,
and his own interest, representing to him
that he was the full-stop in the line of the
royal race ; for with the obstinacy and the
stubbornness of an old mule with a skin
four fingers thick, he had planted his foot
resolutely, stopped his ears, and closed his
heart against all assaults. Butas frequently
more comes to pass in an hour than in a
hundred years, and no one can say, Stop
here or go there, it happened that one day,
when all were at table, and the prince was
cutting a piece of new-made cheese, whilst
listening to the chit-chat that was going on,
he accidentally cut his finger ; and two drops
of blood, falling upon the cheese, made such
a beautiful mixture of colours, that—either
it was a punishment inflicted by Love, or
the will of Heaven to console the poor
THE THREE CITRONS 201

father—the whim seized the prince to find
a woman exactly as white and red as that
cheese tinged with his blood. Then he
said to his father, ‘Sir, unless I have a wife
as white and red as this cheese, it is all over
with me: so now resolve, if you wish to
see me alive and well, to give me all I
require to go through the world in search
of a beauty exactly like this cheese, or else
I shall end my life and die by inches.’

When the king heard this mad resolution,
he thought the house was falling about his
ears; his colour came and went, but as
soon as he recovered himself and could
speak, he said, ‘My son, the life of my
soul, the core of my heart, the prop of my
old age, what mad-brained fancy has made
you take leave of your senses? Have you
lost your wits? You want either all or
nothing: first you wish not to marry, on
purpose to deprive me of an heir, and now
you are impatient to drive me out of the
world. Whither, oh whither would you go
wandering about, wasting your life? and
why leave your house, your hearth, your
home? You know not what toils and
perils he brings on himself who goes
rambling and roving. Let this whim pass,
my son; be sensible, and do not wish to
see my life worn out, this house fall to the
ground, my household go to ruin.’

But these and other words went in at
202 THE PENTAMERONE

the one ear and out at the other, and were
all cast upon the sea; and the poor king
seeing that his son was immovable gave
him a handful of dollars, and two or three
servants ; and bidding him farewell, he felt
as if his soul was torn out of his body.
Then, weeping bitterly, he went to a
balcony, and followed his son with his
eyes until he was lost to sight.

The prince departed, leaving his unhappy
father to his grief, and hastened on his way .
through fields and woods, over mountain
and valley, hill and plain, visiting various
countries, and mixing with various peoples,
and always with his eyes. wide awake to
see whether he could find the object of his
desire. At the end of several months he
arrived at the coast of France, where,
leaving his servants at an hospital with sore
feet, he embarked alone in a Genoese boat,
and set out toward the Straits of Gibraltar.
There he took a larger vessel and sailed
for the Indies, seeking everywhere, from
kingdom to kingdom, from province to
province, from country to country, from
street to street, from house to house, in
every hole and corner, whether he could
find the original likeness of that beautiful
image which he had pictured to his heart.
And he wandered about and about, until at
length he came to the Island of the Ogresses,
where he cast anchor and landed. There
THE THREE CITRONS 203

he found an old, old woman, withered and
shrivelled up, and with a hideous face, to
whom he related the reason that had
brought him to that country. The old
woman was beside herself with amazement
when she heard the strange whim and the
fanciful chimera of the prince, and the toils
and perils he had gone through to satisfy
himself; then she said to him, ‘Hasten
away, my son! for if my three daughters
meet you, I would not give a farthing for
your life; half alive and half roasted, a
frying-pan would be your bier and a belly
your grave. But away with you as fast as
a hare! and you will not go far before you
find what you are seeking.’

When the prince heard this, frightened,
terrified, and aghast, he set off running at
full speed, and ran till he came to another
country, where he again met an old woman,
more ugly even than the first, to whom he
told all his story. Then the old woman
said to him in like manner, ‘Away with
you! unless you wish to serve for a break-
fast to the little ogresses my daughters ;
but go straight on, and you will soon find
what you want.’

The prince, hearing this, set off running
as fast as a dog with a kettle at its tail;
and he went on and on, until he met
another old woman, who was sitting upon
a wheel, with a basket full of little pies
204 THE PENTAMERONE

and sweetmeats on her arm, and feeding
a number of jackasses, which thereupon
began leaping about on the bank of a river
and kicking at some poor swans. When
the prince came up to the old woman, after
making a hundred salaams, he related to
her the story of his wanderings ; whereupon
the old woman, comforting him with kind
words, gave him such a good breakfast that
he licked his fingers after it, And when
he had done eating, she gave him three
citrons, which seemed to be just fresh
gathered from the tree; and she gave him
also a beautiful knife, saying, ‘You are now
free to return to Italy, for your labour is
ended, and you have what you were
seeking. Go your way therefore, and when
you are near your own kingdom, stop at
the first fountain you come to and cut a
citron. Then a fairy will come forth from
it, and will say to you, ‘Give me to drink !’
Mind and be ready with the water, or she
will vanish like quicksilver, But if you are
not quick enough with the second fairy,
have your eyes open and be watchful that
the third does not escape you, giving her
quickly to drink, and you shall have a wife
after your own heart.’

The prince, overjoyed, kissed the old
woman’s hairy hand a hundred times, which
seemed just like a hedgehog’s back. Then
taking his leave he left that country, and
THE THREE CITRONS 205

coming to the seashore sailed for the Pillars
of Hercules, and arrived at our Sea; and
after a thousand storms and perils, he
entered port a day’s distance from his own
kingdom, There he came to a most beauti-
ful grove, where the Shades formed a palace
for the Meadows, to prevent their being
seen by the Sun; and dismounting at a
fountain, which with a crystal tongue was
inviting the people to refresh their lips, he
seated himself on a Syrian carpet formed
by the plants and flowers. Then he drew
his knife from the sheath and began to cut
the first citron, when lo! there appeared
like a flash of lightning a most beautiful
maiden, white as milk and red as a straw-
berry, who said, ‘Give me to drink!’
The prince was so amazed, bewildered, and
captivated with the beauty of the fairy that
he did not give her the water quickly
enough, so she appeared and vanished at
one and the same moment. Whether this
was a rap on the prince’s head, let any one
judge who, after longing for a thing, gets it
into his hands and instantly loses it again.
Then the prince cut the second citron,
and the same thing happened again; and
this was the second blow he got on his
pate ; so making two little fountains of his
eyes, he wept, face to face, tear for tear,
drop for drop, with the fountain, and sigh-
ing he exclaimed, ‘Good heavens, how is it
206 THE PENTAMERONE

that I am so unfortunate ? twice I have let
her escape, as if my hands were tied; and
here I sit like a rock, when I ought to run
like a greyhound. But courage, man! there
is still another, and three is the lucky
number; either this knife shall give me
the fay, or it shall take my life away.’ So
saying he cut the third citron, and forth
came the third fairy, who said like the
others, ‘Give me to drink!’ Then the
prince instantly handed her the water; and
behold there stood before him a delicate
maiden, white as a junket with red streaks,
—a thing never before seen in the world,
with a beauty without compare, a fairness
beyond the beyonds, a grace more than the
most. In aword, she was so beautiful from
head to foot, that a more exquisite creature
was never seen. The prince knew not
what had heppened to him, and stood lost

in affazement, gazing on such a beautiful
' offspring of a citron; and he said to himself,
‘Are you asleep or awake, Ciommetiello?
are your eyes bewitched, or are you blind?
What fair white creature is this come forth
from a yellow rind? what sweet dough, from
the sour juice of a citron? what lovely
maiden sprung from a citron-pip?’ At
length, seeing that it was all true and no
dream, he embraced the fairy, giving her a
hundred and a hundred kisses; and after a
thousand tender words had passed between
THE THREE CITRONS 207

them, the prince said, ‘My soul, I cannot
take you to my father’s kingdom without
handsome raiment worthy of so beautiful
a person, and an attendance befitting a
queen: therefore climb up into this oak-
tree, where Nature seems purposely to have
made for us a hiding-place in the form of a
little room, and here await my return; for.
I will come back on wings, before a tear
can dry, with dresses and servants, and
carry you off to my kingdom.’ So saying,
he departed.

Now a black slave, who was sent by her
mistress with a pitcher to fetch water, came
to that well, and seeing by chance the
reflection of the fairy in the water, she
thought it was herself, and exclaimed in
amazement, ‘Poor Lucia, what do I see?
me so pretty and fair, and mistress send
me here! No, me will no longer bear.’
So saying she broke the pitcher and re-
turned home ; and when her mistress asked
her, ‘Why have you done this mischief?’
she replied, ‘Me. go to the well alone,
pitcher break upon a stone.’ Her mistress
swallowed this idle story, and the next day
she gave her a pretty little cask, telling her
to go and fill it with water. So the slave
returned to the fountain, and seeing again
the beautiful image reflected in the water,
she said with a deep sigh, ‘Me no ugly
slave, me no broad-foot goose! but pretty
208 THE PENTAMERONE

and fine as mistress mine, and me not go
to the fountain!’ So saying, smash again!
she broke the cask into seventy pieces, and
returned home grumbling, and said to her
mistress, ‘Ass come past, tub fell, down at
the well, and all was broken in pieces.’
The poor mistress, on hearing this, could
contain herself no longer, and seizing a
broomstick she beat the slave so soundly
that she felt it for many days; then giving
her a leather bag, she said, ‘Run, break
your neck, you wretched slave, you black
beetle! run and fetch me this bag full of
water, or else I’ll give you a good thrashing.’

Away ran the slave heels over head, for
she had seen the flash and dreaded the
thunder; and while she was filling the
leather bag, she turned to look again at the
beautiful image, and said, ‘Me fool to fetch
water! better live by one’s wits: such a
pretty girl indeed to serve a bad mistress !’
So saying, she took a large pin which she
wore in her hair, and began to prick holes
in the leather bag, so that the water ran
out, making a hundred little fountains.
When the fairy saw this she laughed out-
right; and the slave hearing her, turned
and espied her hiding-place up in the tree;
whereat she said to herself, ‘O ho! you
make me be beaten? but never mind!’
Then she said to her, ‘What you doing up
there, pretty lass?’ And the fairy, who was
THE THREE CITRONS 209

the very mother of courtesy, told her all
she knew, and all that had passed with the
prince, whom she was expecting from hour
to hour and from moment to moment, with
fine dresses and servants, to take her with
him to his father’s kingdom, where they
should live happy together.

When the slave, who was full of spite,
heard this, she thought to herself that she
would get this prize into her own hands ;
so she answered the fairy, ‘You expect
your husband, —me come up and comb
your locks, and make you more smart’
And the fairy said, ‘Ay, welcome as the
first of May!’ So the slave climbed up
the tree, and the fairy held out her white
hand to her, which looked in the black
paws of the slave like a crystal mirror in
a frame of ebony. But no sooner did
the slave begin to comb the fairy’s locks
than she suddenly stuck a hair-pin into
her head. Then the fairy, feeling herself
pricked, cried out, ‘Dove, dove!’ and
instantly she became a dove and flew
away; whereupon the slave stripped her-
self, and making a bundle of all the rags
that she had worn, she threw them a
mile away: and there she sat, up in the
tree, looking like a statue of jet in a
house of emerald.

In a short time the prince returned
with a great cavalcade, and finding a

P
210 THE PENTAMERONE

cask of caviar where he had left a pan
of milk, he stood for a while beside himself
with amazement. At length he said,
‘Who has made this great blot of ink
on the fine paper upon which I thought
to write the brightest days of my life?
Who has hung with mourning this newly-
whitewashed house, where I thought to
spend a happy life? How comes it that
I find this touchstone, where I left a mine
of silver, that was to make me rich and
happy?’ But the crafty slave, observing
the prince’s amazement, said, ‘Do not
wonder, my prince; for me turned by a
wicked spell from a white lily to a black
coal,’

The poor prince, seeing that there was
no help for the mischief, drooped his
head and swallowed this pill; and bidding
the slave come down from the tree, he
ordered her to be clothed from head to
foot in new dresses. Then sad and
sorrowful, cast-down and woebegone, he
took his way back with the slave to his
own country, where the king and queen,
who had gone out six miles to meet
them, received them with the same plea-
sure as a prisoner feels at the announce-
ment of a death sentence, seeing the fine
choice their foolish son had made, who, ~
after travelling about so long to find a
white dove, had brought home at last a
THE THREE CITRONS 211

black crow. However, as they could do
no less, they gave up the crown to their
children, and placed the golden tripod
upon that face of coal.

Now whilst they were preparing splendid
feasts and banquets, and the cooks were
busy plucking geese, killing little pigs,
flaying kids, basting the roast-meat, skim-
ming pots, mincing meat for dumplings,
larding capons, and preparing a thousand
other delicacies, a beautiful dove came
flying to the kitchen window, and said,

O cook of the kitchen, tell me, I pray,
What the king and the slave are doing to-day.

The cook at first paid little heed to
the dove ; but when she returned a
second and a third time, and repeated
the same words, he ran to the dining-
hall to tell the marvellous thing. But
no sooner did the lady hear this music,
than she gave orders for the dove to be
instantly caught and made into a hash,
So the cook went, and he managed to
catch the dove, and did all that the slave
had commanded. And having scalded
the bird, in order to pluck it, he threw
the water with the feathers out from a
balcony on to a garden-bed, on which
before three days had passed there sprang
up a beautiful citron-tree, which quickly
grew to its full size.
212 THE PENTAMERONE

Now it happened that the king, going
by chance to a window that looked upon
the garden, saw the tree, which he had
never observed before; and calling the
cook, he asked him when and by whom
it had been planted. No sooner had he
heard all the particulars from Master
Pot-ladle, than he began to suspect how
matters stood; so he gave orders, under
pain of death, that the tree should not
be touched, but that it should be tended -
with the greatest care.

At the end of a few days three most
beautiful citrons appeared, similar to those
which the ogress had given Ciommetiello ;
and when they were grown larger, he
plucked them ; and shutting himself up
in a chamber, with a large basin of water
and the knife which he always carried
at his side, he began to cut the citrons.
Then it all fell out with the first and
second fairy just as it had done before ;
but when at last he cut the third citron,
and gave the fairy who came forth from
it to drink, behold there stood before
him the self-same maiden whom he had
left up in the tree, and who told him all
the mischief that the slave had done.

Who now can tell the least part of the
delight the king felt at this good turn
of fortune? He embraced the fairy, and
ordered her to be handsomely dressed from
THE THREE CITRONS 213

head to foot ; and taking her by the hand
he led her into the middle of the hall,
where all the courtiers and great folks
of the city were met to celebrate the
feast. Then the king called on them one
by one, and said, ‘Tell me, what punish-
ment would that person deserve who should
do any harm to this beautiful lady ?’
And one replied that such a person would
deserve a hempen collar — another, a
breakfast of stones—a third, a good
beating — a fourth, a draught of poison
—a fifth, a millstone for a brooch; in
short, one said this thing and another
that. At last he called on the black
queen, and putting the same question,
she replied, ‘Such a person would deserve
to be burned, and that her ashes should
be thrown from the roof of the castle.’
When the king heard this he said to
her, ‘You have struck your own foot with
the axe, you have made your own fetters,
you have sharpened the knife and mixed
the poison, for no one has done this lady
so much harm as yourself, you good -
for-nothing creature! Know you that
this is the beautiful maiden whom you
wounded with the hair-pin? Know you
that this is the pretty dove which you
ordered to be killed and cooked in a
stewpan ? What say you now? it is all
your own doing, and one who does. ill
214 THE PENTAMERONE

may expect ill in return’ So saying he
ordered the slave to be seized and cast
alive on to a large pile of burning
wood, and her ashes were thrown from
the top of the castle to all the winds
of heaven, verifying the truth of the say-
ing that

He who sows thorns should not go barefoot.

All sat listening attentively to Ciom-
metella’s story; and some praised the
skill with which she had related it, whilst
others murmured at her indiscretion, saying
that she ought not in the presence of the
Princess slave to have exposed to blame
the ill deeds of another slave, and run
the risk of stopping the game. But Lucia
sat upon thorns, and kept turning and
twisting herself about all the time the story
was related ; insomuch that the restless-
ness of her body betrayed the storm which
was in her heart, at seeing in the history
of another slave the exact image of her
own tricks. Gladly would she have dis-
missed the whole company, but that, owing
to the desire which the doll had given
her to hear stories, she could no more do
without them than a man bitten by a
tarantula can dispense with music; and
partly also not to give Taddeo cause for
suspicion, she swallowed this bitter pill,
THE THREE CITRONS 215

intending to take a good revenge in proper
time and place. But Taddeo, who had
grown quite fond of this amusement, made
a sign to Zoza to relate her story, and after
making her curtsey she began.




CONCLUSION 1!

RUTH, my lord Prince, has al-
ways been the mother of
hatred, and I would not wish
therefore, by obeying your
commands, to offend any one of those
around me; for, not being accustomed to
weave fictions or to invent stories, I am
constrained, both by nature and habit, to
speak the truth; and although the proverb
says, Tell truth and fear nothing, yet, know-
ing well that truth is not welcome in the
presence of princes, I tremble lest I say
anything that may perchance offend you.’

‘Say all you wish,’ replied Taddeo ; ‘for
nothing but what is sweet can come from
those pretty lips.’

These words were stabs to the heart
of the Slave, as would have been seen
plainly if black faces were, like white




1 See the Introduction, pages 1-13,
CONCLUSION 217

ones, the book of the soul. And she
would have given a finger of her hand
to have been rid of these stories, for all
before her eyes had grown blacker even
than her face. She feared that the last
story was only the announcement of mis-
chief that was to follow, and from a
cloudy morning she foretold a bad day.
But Zoza meanwhile began to enchant
all around her with the sweetness of her
words, relating her sorrows from first to
last, and beginning with her natural melan-
choly, —the unhappy augury of all she
had to suffer; bearing from the cradle the
bitter root of her misfortunes, which on
account of a forced laugh had forced her
to shed so many tears, Then she went
on to tell of the old woman’s curse, her
painful wanderings, her arrival at the
fountain, her bitter weeping, and the
treacherous sleep which had been the
cause of her ruin.

The Slave, hearing Zoza tell the story
in all its breadth and length, and seeing
the boat going out of its course, exclaimed,
‘Be quiet and hold your tongue!’ But
Taddeo, who had discovered how matters
stood, could no longer contain himself.
He exclaimed, ‘Let her tell her story to
the end, for I have been made a fool of
long enough? Then he commanded Zoza
to continue her story, in spite of his wife ;
arg THE PENTAMERONE

and Zoza, who had only waited for the
sign, went on to tell how the Slave had
found the pitcher, and had treacherously
robbed’ her of her good fortune. And
thereupon she fell to weeping in such a
manner that every person present was
affected at the sight.

Taddeo, who from Zoza’s tears and the
Slave’s silence discerned the truth of the
matter, gave Lucia such a scolding as
he would scarcely have bestowed on a
jackass, and made her confess ‘her treach-
ery with her own lips. Then he gave
instant orders that she should be buried
alive up to her neck, that she might die
a more painful death, And embracing
Zoza, he caused her to be treated with
all honour as his Princess and wife, send-
ing to invite the King of Woody Valley to
come to the feasts..

With these fresh nuptials terminated
the greatness of the Slave and the amuse-
ment of these Stories, And may they do
you much good, and promote your health ;
and may you lay them down as unwillingly
as I do, taking my leave with regret at
my heels and a good spoonful of honey in
my mouth,

Printed by R. & R, Crarx, Edinburgh.




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