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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/198

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THE PENTAMERONE.

and no wool, he turned his thoughts to his own daughter, saying, "Why do I go seeking Maria at Ravenna, when my daughter Preziosa is formed in the same mould of beauty as her mother? I have this fair face here in my house, and yet go looking for it at the fag-end of the world."

When Preziosa heard this, she retired to her chamber, and bewailing her ill fortune, she did not leave a hair upon her head; and whilst she was lamenting thus, an old woman came to her, who was her confidant. 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 speaks to you thus once again, 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.