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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/201

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THE SHE-BEAR.

servants. But when they told him the truth of the affair, he jumped on horseback, half-dead as he was, and went rambling about and seeking everywhere, until at length he found the bear. Then he took her home again, and putting her into a chamber said to her, "O lovely morsel for a king who art shut up in this skin! O candle of love, who art enclosed within this hairy lanthorn! wherefore all this trifling? do you wish to see me pine and pant, and die by inches? I am wasting away, without hope, and tormented by thy beauty; and you see clearly the proof, for I am shrunk two-thirds in size, like wine boiled down, and am nothing but skin and bone, for the fever is double-stitched to my veins. So lift up the curtain of this hairy hide, and let me gaze upon the spectacle of thy beauty! raise, O raise the leaves off this basket, and let me get a sight of the fine fruit beneath! lift up that curtain, and let my eyes pass in to behold the pomp of wonders! Who has shut up so smooth a creature in a prison woven of hair? who has locked up so rich a treasure in a leathern chest? Let me behold this display of graces, and take in payment all my love; for nothing but this bear's-grease can cure the nervous spasms I endure."

But when he had said and had said, this and a great deal more, and still saw that all his words were thrown away, he took to his bed again, and had such a despe-