Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/180

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pents; but I brought ill-luck 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, I am content to take you, and treat you as if you were really my own child." 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: "I 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 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."