Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/155

This page has been validated.

is going topsy-turvy and awry."—"But what is it?" replied his wife.—"Why, I could tell pretty stories of all the confusion 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 has wounded himself 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 whoever 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 my painted bird used to pass, so that the channel through which my spirits run may break?" But as the ogress now went on speaking, Nella was as silent as a mouse and listened.