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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/195

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THE SHE-BEAR.

loved me tenderly; show me therefore at the close of my days the completion of your love, by promising me never to marry again, unless you find a woman as beautiful as I have been; otherwise I leave you my curse, and shall bear you hatred even in the other world."

The king, who loved his wife beyond measure, hearing this her last wish, burst into tears, and for some time could not answer a single word. At last, when he had done weeping, he said to her, "Sooner than take another wife, may the gout lay hold on me, may I have my head cut off like a mackarel[1]! My dearest love, drive such a thought from your mind; do not believe in dreams, or that I could love any other woman; you were the first new coat of my love, and you shall carry away with you the last rags of my affection."

As he said these words, the poor young queen, who had the death-rattle in her throat, turned up her eyes and stretched out her feet. When the king saw her life thus running out, he unstopped the channels of his eyes, and made such a howling and beating and outcry, that all the Court came running up, calling on the name of the dear soul, and upbraiding Fortune for taking her from him; and plucking out his beard, he cursed the stars, that had sent him such a misfortune.

  1. Sia fatto comm' a starace. A starace is a fish, which ia eaten with ita head pulled off.