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In ages vastly remote there lived in a distant land a king of such prowess and renown, that his name was known throughout the four regions of the compass. His name was Ludovico. His power was increased twofold by his attachment to an aged magician, to whom he was tied by strong bonds of friendship.
Ludovico had an extremely lovely daughter by the name of Clotilde. Ever since his arrival at the palace the magician had been passionately in love with her; but his extreme old age and his somewhat haughty bearing were obstacles in his path to success. Whenever he made love to her, she turned aside, and listened instead to the thrilling tales told by some wandering minstrel.
The magician finally succumbed to the infirmities of old age, his life made more burdensome by his repeated disappointments. He left to the king three enchanted winged horses; to the princess, two magic necklaces of exactly the same appearance, of inimitable workmanship and of priceless worth. Nor did the magician fail to wreak vengeance on the cause of his death. Before he expired, he locked Clotilde and the three magic horses in a high tower inaccessible to any human being. She was to remain in this enchanted prison until some man succeeded in setting her free.
Naturally, King Ludovico wanted to see his daughter before the hour of his death, which was fast approaching. He offered large sums of money, together with his crown and Clotilde's hand, to anybody who could set her free. Hundreds of princes tried, but in vain. The stone walls of the tower were of such a height, that very few birds, even, could fly over them. But a deliverer now rose from obscurity and came into prominence. This man was an uneducated but persevering peasant named Juan. He possessed a graceful form, herculean frame, good heart, and unrivalled ingenuity. His two learned older brothers tried to scale the walls of the tower, but fared no better than the others.
At last Juan's turn came. His parents and his older brothers expostulated with him not to go, for what could a man unskilled in the fine arts do? But Juan, in the hope of setting the princess free, paid no attention to their advice. He took as many of the biggest nails as he could find, a very long rope, and a strong hammer. As he lived in a town several miles distant from the capital, he had to make the trip on horseback.
One day Juan set out with all his equipment. On the way he met his disappointed second brother returning after a vain attempt. The older brother tried in every way he could to divert Juan from his purpose. Now, Juan's parents, actuated partly by a sense of shame if he should fail, and partly by a deep-seated hatred, had poisoned his food without his knowledge. When he felt hungry, he suspected them of some evil intention: so before eating he gave his horse some of his provisions. The poor creature died on the road amidst terrible sufferings, and Juan was obliged to finish the journey on foot.
When he arrived at the foot of the tower, he drove a nail into the wall. Then he tied one end of his rope to this spike. In this way he succeeded in making a complete ladder of nails and rope to the top of the tower. He looked for Clotilde, who met him with her eyes flooded with tears. As a reward for his great services to her, she gave him one of the magic necklaces. While they were whispering words of love in each other's ears, they heard a deafening noise at the bottom of the tower.
"Rush for safety to your ladder!" cried Clotilde. "One of the fiendish friends of the magician is going to kill you."
But, alas! some wanton hand had pulled out the nails; and this person was none other then Juan's second brother. "I am a lost man," said Juan.
"Mount one of the winged horses in the chamber adjoining mine," said Clotilde.
So Juan got on one of the animals without knowing where to go. The horse flew from the tower with such velocity, that Juan had to close his eyes. His breath was almost taken away. In a few seconds, however, he was landed in a country entirely strange to his eyes.
After long years of struggle with poverty and starvation, Juan was at last able to make his way back to his native country. He went to live in a town just outside the walls of the capital. A rich old man named Telesforo hired him to work on his farm. Juan's excellent service and irreproachable conduct won the good will of his master, who adopted him as his son.
At about this time King Ludovico gave out proclamations stating that any one who could exactly match his daughter's necklace should be his son-in-law. Thousands tried, but they tried in vain. Even the most dexterous and experienced smiths were baffled in their attempts to produce an exact counterfeit. When word of the royal proclamations was brought to Juan, he decided to try.
One day he pretended to be sick, and he asked Telesforo to go to the palace to get Clotilde's necklace. The old man, who was all ready to serve his adopted son, went that very afternoon and borrowed the necklace, so that he might try to copy it. When he returned with the magic article, Juan jumped from his bed and kissed his father. After supper Juan went to his room and locked himself in. Then he took from his pocket the necklace which Clotilde had given him in the tower, and compared it carefully with the borrowed one. When he saw that they did not differ in any respect, he took a piece of iron and hammered it until midnight.
Early the next morning Juan wrapped the two magic necklaces in a silk handkerchief, and told the old man to take them to the king.
"By the aid of the Lord!" exclaimed Clotilde when her father the king unwrapped the necklaces, "my lover is here again. This necklace," she said, touching the one she had given Juan, "is not a counterfeit: for it is written in the magician's book of black art that no human being shall be able to imitate either of the magic necklaces. -- Where is the owner of this necklace, old man?" she said, turning to Telesforo.
"He is at home," said Telesforo with a bow.
"Go and bring him to the palace," said Clotilde.
Within a quarter of an hour Juan arrived. After paying due respect to the king, Juan embraced Clotilde affectionately. They were married in the afternoon, and the festivities continued for nine days and nine nights. Juan was made crown prince, and on the death of King Ludovico he succeeded to the throne. King Juan and Queen Clotilde lived to extreme old age in peace and perfect happiness.
Source: Dean S. Fansler, Filipino Popular Tales (Lancaster, PA: American Folk-Lore Society, 1921), pp. 355-59.
Once upon a time there was a very rich and powerful king who, in spite of having been married several times, had only two daughters.
The elder was extremely plain—she squinted and was hunchbacked; but at the same time she was very clever and amusing, so, though at heart both spiteful and untruthful, she was her father’s favourite.
The younger princess, on the other hand, was both lovely and sweet-tempered, and those who knew her well could hardly say whether her charming face or pleasant manners was the more attractive.
The neighbouring country was governed by a young emperor, who, though not much over twenty years of age, had shown great courage in battle, and, had he wished it, might very likely have conquered the whole world. Luckily he preferred peace to war, and occupied his time with trying to rule his own kingdom well and wisely. His people were very anxious that he should marry, and as the two princesses were the only ladies to be heard of of suitable age and rank, the emperor sent envoys to their father’s court to ask for the hand of one of them in marriage. But, as he was resolved only to marry a woman whom he could love and be happy with, he determined to see the lady himself before making up his mind. For this purpose he set out in disguise not long after the departure of his ambassadors, and arrived at the palace very soon after they did; but as he had foolishly kept his plan secret, he found, when he reached the court, that they had already made proposals for the elder princess.
Now the emperor might just as well have gone openly, for his presence soon became known; and when the king heard of it he prepared to receive him royally, though of course he had to pretend that he had no idea who he was. So it was settled that the ambassadors should present their master under the name of one of the princes, and in this manner he was received by the king.
At night there was a grand ball at which the young emperor was able to see the two princesses and to make their acquaintance. The ugly face and figure and spiteful remarks of the elder displeased him so greatly that he felt he could not marry her even if she owned ten kingdoms, whilst the sweet face and gentle manners of the younger sister charmed him so much that he would gladly have shared his throne with her had she been only a simple shepherdess.
He found it very difficult to conceal his thoughts and to pay the elder princess the amount of attention due to her, though he did his best to be polite; while all he saw or heard during the next few days only increased his love for her younger sister, and at last he confessed that his dearest wish was to make her his wife, if she and her father would grant his desire.
He had commanded his ambassadors to put off their farewell audience for a little time, hoping that the king might perceive the state of his feelings; but when it could be deferred no longer, he bade them propose in his name for the younger princess.
On hearing this news, so different from what he had been led to expect, the king who—as we have said before—was devoted to his elder daughter and entirely under her influence, could hardly contain his displeasure. Directly the audience was over he sent for the princess and told her of the insolent proposal the emperor had made for her sister. The princess was even more furious than her father, and after consulting together they decided to send the younger daughter to some distant place out of reach of the young emperor; but where this should be they did not quite know. However, at length, after they had both racked their brains to find a suitable prison, they fixed on a lonely castle called the Desert Tower, where they thought she would be quite safe.
Meantime, it was thought best to let the court gaieties go on as usual, and orders were given for all sorts of splendid entertainments; and on the day that was fixed for carrying off the princess, the whole court was invited to a great hunt in the forest.
The emperor and the young princess were counting the hours till this morning, which promised to be so delightful, should dawn. The king and his guest arrived together at the meeting-place, but what was the surprise and distress of the young man at not seeing the object of his love amongst the ladies present. He waited anxiously, looking up and down, not hearing anything that the king said to him; and when the hunt began and she still was absent, he declined to follow, and spent the whole day seeking her, but in vain.
On his return, one of his attendants told him that some hours before he had met the princess’s carriage, escorted by a troop of soldiers who were riding on each side, so that no one could get speech of her. He had followed them at a distance, and saw them stop at the Desert Tower, and on its return he noticed that the carriage was empty. The emperor was deeply grieved by this news. He left the court at once, and ordered his ambassadors to declare war the very next day, unless the king promised to set free the princess. And more than this, no sooner had he reached his own country than he raised a large army, with which he seized the frontier towns, before his enemy had had time to collect any troops. But, ere he quitted the court, he took care to write a letter to his beloved princess, imploring her to have patience and trust to him; and this he gave into the hands of his favourite equerry, who would he knew lay down his life in his service.
With many precautions the equerry managed to examine the surroundings of the tower, and at last discovered, not only where the princess lodged, but that a little window in her room looked out on a desolate plot full of brambles.
Now the unhappy princess was much annoyed that she was not even allowed to take the air at this little window, which was the only one in her room. Her keeper was her elder sister’s former nurse, a woman whose eyes never slept. Not for an instant could she be induced to stir from the side of the princess, and she watched her slightest movement.
One day, however, the spy was for once busy in her room writing an account of the princess to her elder sister, and the poor prisoner seized the opportunity to lean out of the window. As she looked about her she noticed a man hidden amongst the bushes, who stepped forward as soon as he caught sight of her, and showed her a letter, which he took from his jerkin. She at once recognised him as one of the emperor’s attendants, and let down a long string, to which he tied the letter. You can fancy how quickly she drew it up again, and luckily she had just time to read it before her gaoler had finished her report and entered the room.
The princess’s delight was great, and next day she managed to write an answer on a sheet of her note book, and to throw it down to the equerry, who hastened to carry it back to his master. The emperor was so happy at having news of his dear princess, that he resolved, at all risks, to visit the Desert Tower himself, if only to see her for a moment. He ordered his equerry to ask leave to visit her, and the princess replied that she should indeed rejoice to see him, but that she feared that her gaoler’s watchfulness would make his journey useless, unless he came during the short time when the old woman was writing alone in her own room.
Naturally, the bare idea of difficulties only made the emperor more eager than ever. He was ready to run any risks, but, by the advice of the equerry, he decided to try cunning rather than force. In his next letter he enclosed a sleeping powder, which the princess managed to mix with her gaoler’s supper, so that when the emperor reached the tower in the evening the princess appeared fearlessly at her window on hearing his signal. They had a long and delightful conversation, and parted in the fond hope that their meeting had not been observed. But in this they were sadly mistaken. The watchful eyes of the old nurse were proof against any sleeping draught—she had seen and heard all; and lost no time in writing to report everything to her mistress.
The news made the spiteful little hunchback furious, and she resolved to be cruelly revenged for the contempt with which the emperor had treated her. She ordered her nurse to pretend not to notice what might be passing, and meantime she had a trap made so that if the emperor pushed his way through the brambles at the foot of the tower, it would not only catch him, as if he were a mouse, but would let loose a number of poisoned arrows, which would pierce him all over. When it was ready, the trap was hidden amongst the brambles without being observed by the princess.
That same evening the emperor hurried to the tower with all the impatience of love. As he came near he heard the princess break into a long, joyous peal of laughter. He advanced quickly to give the usual signal, when suddenly his foot trod on something, he knew not what. A sharp, stinging pain ran through him, and he turned white and faint, but, luckily, the trap had only opened a little way, and only a few of the arrows flew out. For a moment he staggered, and then fell to the ground covered with blood.
Had he been alone he would have died very shortly, but his faithful squire was close at hand, and carried his master off to the wood where the rest of his escort were waiting for him. His wounds were bound up, and some poles were cut to make a rough litter, and, almost unconscious, the emperor was borne away out of his enemy’s country to his own palace.
All this time the princess was feeling very anxious. She had been whiling away the hours before this meeting by playing with a little pet monkey, which had been making such funny faces that, in spite of her troubles, she had burst into the hearty laugh overheard by the emperor. But by-and-by she grew restless, waiting for the signal which never came, and, had she dared, would certainly have rebelled when her gaoler, whom she believed to be fast asleep, ordered her to go to bed at once.
A fortnight passed, which was spent in great anxiety by the poor girl, who grew thin and weak with the uncertainty. At the end of this period, when the nurse went to her room one morning as usual in order to write her daily report, she carelessly left the key in the door. This was perceived by the princess, who turned it upon her so quickly and quietly that she never found out she was locked in till she had finished writing, and got up to seek her charge.
Finding herself free, the princess flew to the window, and to her horror saw the arrows lying about amongst the bloodstained brambles. Distracted with terror she slipped down the stairs and out of the tower, and ran for some time along a path, when with great good luck she met the husband of her own nurse, who had only just learned of her imprisonment, and was on his way to try and find out whether he could serve her. The princess begged him to get her some men’s clothes while she awaited him in a little wood close by. The good man was overjoyed to be of use, and started at once for the nearest town, where he soon discovered a shop where the court lackeys were accustomed to sell their masters’ cast-off clothes. The princess dressed herself at once in the disguise he had brought, which was of rich material and covered with precious stones; and, putting her own garments into a bag, which her servant hung over his shoulders, they both set out on their journey.
This lasted longer than either of them expected. They walked by day as far as the princess could manage, and by night they slept in the open air. One evening they camped in a lovely valley watered by a rippling stream, and towards morning the princess was awakened by a charming voice singing one of the songs of her own childhood. Anxious to find out where the sound came from, she walked to a thicket of myrtles, where she saw a little boy with a quiver at his back and an ivory bow in his hand, singing softly to himself as he smoothed the feathers of his shafts.
‘Are you surprised at seeing my eyes open?’ he asked, with a smile. ‘Ah! I am not always blind. And sometimes it is well to know what sort of a heart needs piercing. It was I who sent out my darts the day that you and the emperor met, so, as I have caused the wound, I am in duty bound to find the cure!’
Then he gave her a little bottle full of a wonderful salve with which to dress the emperor’s wounds when she found him.
‘In two days you can reach his palace,’ he said. ‘Do not waste time, for sometimes time is life.’
The princess thanked the boy with tears in her eyes, and hastened to awake her guide so that they might start, and set off at once on their way.
As the boy had foretold, in two days the tower and walls of the city came in sight, and her heart beat wildly at the thought that she would soon be face to face with the emperor, but on inquiring after his health she learned, to her horror, that he was sinking fast. For a moment her grief was so great that she nearly betrayed herself. Then, calling all her courage to her aid, she announced that she was a doctor, and that if they would leave him in her charge for a few days she would promise to cure him.
Now, in order to make a good appearance at court the new doctor resolved to have an entire suit made of pale blue satin. She bought the richest, most splendid stuff to be had in the shops, and summoned a tailor to make it for her, engaging to pay him double if he would finish the work in two hours. Next she went to the market, where she bought a fine mule, bidding her servant see that its harness was adorned with trappings of blue satin also.
Whilst all was being made ready the princess asked the woman in whose house she lived whether she knew any of the emperor’s attendants, and found to her satisfaction that her cousin was his majesty’s chief valet. The doctor then bade the woman inform everyone she met that on hearing of the emperor’s illness a celebrated surgeon had hastened to attend him, and had undertaken to cure him entirely; declaring himself prepared to be burnt alive in case of failure.
The good woman, who loved nothing better than a bit of gossip, hurried to the palace with her news. Her story did not lose in telling. The court physicians were very scornful about the new-comer, but the emperor’s attendants remarked that as, in spite of their remedies, his majesty was dying before their eyes, there could be no harm in consulting this stranger.
So the lord chamberlain begged the young doctor to come and prescribe for the royal patient without delay; and the doctor sent a message at once, that he would do himself the honour to present himself at the palace, and he lost no time in mounting his mule and setting out. As the people and soldiers saw him ride past they cried out:
‘Here comes the Satin Surgeon! Look at the Satin Surgeon! Long live the Satin Surgeon!’ And, on arriving, he was announced by this name, and at once taken to the sick room of the dying man.
The emperor was lying with his eyes closed, and his face as white as the pillow itself; but directly he heard the new-comer’s voice, he looked up and smiled, and signed that he wished the new doctor to remain near him. Making a low bow, the Satin Surgeon assured the emperor that he felt certain of curing his malady, but insisted that everyone should leave the room except the emperor’s favourite equerry. He then dressed the wounds with the magic salve which the boy had given him, and it so relieved the emperor’s pain that he slept soundly all that night.
When morning broke, the courtiers and doctors hurried to the emperor’s chamber, and were much surprised to find him free of pain. But they were promptly ordered out of the room by the Satin Surgeon, who renewed the dressings with such good results that next morning the emperor was nearly well, and able to leave his bed. As he grew stronger, his thoughts dwelt more and more on the cause of all his sufferings, and his spirits grew worse as his health grew better. The face and voice of his new doctor reminded him of the princess who had, he imagined, betrayed him, and caused him such dreadful torture; and, unable to bear the thought, his eyes filled with tears.
The doctor noticed his sad countenance and did all he could to enliven his patient with cheerful talk and amusing stories, till at last he won the emperor’s confidence and heard all the story of his love for a lady who had treated him cruelly, but whom, in spite of everything, he could not help loving. The Satin Surgeon listened with sympathy, and tried to persuade the emperor that possibly the princess was not so much to blame as might appear; but, eager though the sick man was to believe this, it took a long while to persuade him of it. At length a day came when the emperor was nearly well, and for the last time the doctor dressed the wounds with the precious salve. Then, both patient and surgeon, being wearied out with something they could not explain, fell asleep and slept for hours.
Early next morning, the princess, having decided to resume her own clothes which she had brought with her in a bag, dressed herself with great care and put on all her jewels so as to make herself look as lovely as possible. She had just finished when the emperor awoke, feeling so strong and well that he thought he must be dreaming, nor could he believe himself to be awake when he saw the princess draw aside his curtains.
For some minutes they gazed at each other, unable to speak, and then they only uttered little gasps of joy and thankfulness. By-and-by the princess told him the whole story of her adventures since their last interview at the Desert Tower; and the emperor, weak as he was, threw himself at her feet with vows of love and gratitude, without ever giving a thought to the fact that the household and court physicians were awaiting their summons in the ante-room.
The emperor, anxious to prove how much he owed to the Satin Surgeon, opened his door himself, and great was everyone’s surprise and joy at seeing him in such perfect health. Like good courtiers, they hastened in to praise and compliment the Satin Surgeon, but what was their astonishment on finding that he had disappeared, leaving in his place the loveliest princess in the whole world.
‘Whilst thanking the surgeon for his miraculous cure, you might at the same time do homage to your empress,’ observed the emperor. He wished to have the marriage celebrated the same day, but the princess declared that she must wait to get her father’s permission first.
Messengers were therefore instantly despatched to the neighbouring capital, and soon returned with the king’s consent, for he had lately discovered all the mischief caused by his elder daughter.
The spiteful princess was so furious at the failure of her plans that she took to her bed, and died in a fit of rage and jealousy. No one grieved for her, and the king, being tired of the fatigues of Government, gave up his crown to his younger daughter; so the two kingdoms henceforth became one
Source: The Olive Fairy Book, 1907, Andrew Lang
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 longing 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 exclaimed, "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, began 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 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!'"
When Parsley, who dreamt of no ill, met the ogress again, and heard her repeat the same words, she answered innocently as 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 enchanted all hearts, he fell desperately in love with such wonderful beauty; and sending her a memorial of sighs, she decreed to receive him into favor.
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 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 descended 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 lookout, 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 labor 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, overheard all that passed. And when night had spread out her black garments, and the prince had come as usual, she made him climb onto the rafters and find the gallnuts, 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, 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 continued for an hour longer, the time would have appeared only a moment.
Source: Giambattista Basile, The Pentamerone; or, The Story of Stories, translated from the Neapolitan by John Edward Taylor, new edition revised and edited by Helen Zimmern (London: T. Tisher Unwin, 1894), pp. 56-62.
Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child. Finally the woman came to believe that the good Lord would fulfill her wish. Through the small rear window of these people's house they could see into a splendid garden that was filled with the most beautiful flowers and herbs. The garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared enter, because it belonged to a sorceress who possessed great power and was feared by everyone.
One day the woman was standing at this window, and she saw a bed planted with the most beautiful rapunzel. It looked so fresh and green that she longed for some. It was her greatest desire to eat some of the rapunzel. This desire increased with every day, and not knowing how to get any, she became miserably ill.
Her husband was frightened, and asked her, "What ails you, dear wife?"
"Oh," she answered, "if I do not get some rapunzel from the garden behind our house, I shall die."
The man, who loved her dearly, thought, "Before you let your wife die, you must get her some of the rapunzel, whatever the cost."
So just as it was getting dark he climbed over the high wall into the sorceress's garden, hastily dug up a handful of rapunzel, and took it to his wife. She immediately made a salad from it, which she devoured eagerly. It tasted so very good to her that by the next day her desire for more had grown threefold. If she were to have any peace, the man would have to climb into the garden once again. Thus he set forth once again just as it was getting dark. But no sooner than he had climbed over the wall than, to his horror, he saw the sorceress standing there before him.
"How can you dare," she asked with an angry look, "to climb into my garden and like a thief to steal my rapunzel? You will pay for this."
"Oh," he answered, "Let mercy overrule justice. I came to do this out of necessity. My wife saw your rapunzel from our window, and such a longing came over her, that she would die, if she did not get some to eat."
The sorceress's anger abated somewhat, and she said, "If things are as you say, I will allow you to take as much rapunzel as you want. But under one condition: You must give me the child that your wife will bring to the world. It will do well, and I will take care of it like a mother."
In his fear the man agreed to everything.
When the woman gave birth, the sorceress appeared, named the little girl Rapunzel, and took her away. Rapunzel became the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the fairy locked her in a tower that stood in a forest and that had neither a door nor a stairway, but only a tiny little window at the very top.
When the sorceress wanted to enter, she stood below and called out:
Let down your hair to me.
Rapunzel had splendid long hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the sorceress's voice, she untied her braids, wound them around a window hook, let her hair fall twenty yards to the ground, and the sorceress climbed up it.
A few years later it happened that a king's son was riding through the forest. As he approached the tower he heard a song so beautiful that he stopped to listen. It was Rapunzel, who was passing the time by singing with her sweet voice. The prince wanted to climb up to her, and looked for a door in the tower, but none was to be found.
He rode home, but the song had so touched his heart that he returned to the forest every day and listened to it. One time, as he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw the sorceress approach, and heard her say:
Let down your hair.
Then Rapunzel let down her strands of hair, and the sorceress climbed up them to her.
"If that is the ladder into the tower, then sometime I will try my luck."
And the next day, just as it was beginning to get dark, he went to the tower and called out:
Let down your hair.
The hair fell down, and the prince climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as she had never seen before came in to her. However, the prince began talking to her in a very friendly manner, telling her that his heart had been so touched by her singing that he could have no peace until he had seen her in person. Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him as her husband, she thought, "He would rather have me than would old Frau Gothel." She said yes and placed her hand into his.
She said, "I would go with you gladly, but I do not know how to get down. Every time that you come, bring a strand of silk, from which I will weave a ladder. When it is finished I will climb down, and you can take me away on your horse." They arranged that he would come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day.
The sorceress did not notice what was happening until one day Rapunzel said to her, "Frau Gothel, tell me why it is that you are more difficult to pull up than is the young prince, who will be arriving any moment now?"
"You godless child," cried the sorceress. "What am I hearing from you? I thought I had removed you from the whole world, but you have deceived me nonetheless."
In her anger she grabbed Rapunzel's beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snap, cut it off. And she was so unmerciful that she took Rapunzel into a wilderness where she suffered greatly.
On the evening of the same day that she sent Rapunzel away, the fairy tied the cut-off hair to the hook at the top of the tower, and when the prince called out:
Let down your hair.
she let down the hair.
The prince climbed up, but above, instead of his beloved Rapunzel, he found the sorceress, who peered at him with poisonous and evil looks.
"Aha!" she cried scornfully. "You have come for your Mistress Darling, but that beautiful bird is no longer sitting in her nest, nor is she singing any more. The cat got her, and will scratch your eyes out as well. You have lost Rapunzel. You will never see her again."
The prince was overcome with grief, and in his despair he threw himself from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell poked out his eyes. Blind, he wandered about in the forest, eating nothing but grass and roots, and doing nothing but weeping and wailing over the loss of his beloved wife. Thus he wandered about miserably for some years, finally happening into the wilderness where Rapunzel lived miserably with the twins that she had given birth to.
He heard a voice and thought it was familiar. He advanced toward it, and as he approached, Rapunzel recognized him, and crying, threw her arms around his neck. Two of her tears fell into his eyes, and they became clear once again, and he could see as well as before. He led her into his kingdom, where he was received with joy, and for a long time they lived happily and satisfied.