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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/199

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THE SHE-BEAR.

As soon as the Sun began to change his quarters, the king ordered the musicians to come; and inviting all his lords and vassals he held a great feast. And after dancing for five or six hours, they all sat down to table, and ate and drank beyond measure. Then the king asked his courtiers whether he could not marry Preziosa, as she was the picture of his dead wife. But the instant Preziosa heard this, she slipped the bit of wood into her mouth, and took the figure of a terrible she-bear; at the sight of which all present were frightened out of their wits, and ran off as fast as they could scamper.

Meanwhile Preziosa went out, and took her way to a wood, where the Shades were holding a consultation how they might do some mischief to the Sun at the close of day. And there she staid, in the pleasant companionship of the other animals, until the son of the king of Running-Water came to hunt in that part of the country, who at the sight of the bear had like to have died on the spot. But when he saw the beast come gently up to him, wagging her tail like a little dog and rubbing her sides against him, he took courage, and patted her, and said, "Good bear, good bear! there, there! poor beast, poor beast!" Then he led her home, and ordered that she should be taken good care of; and he had her put into a garden close to the royal palace, that he might see her from the window whenever he wished.