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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/21

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xiii
PREFACE.

and the great number of words of foreign origin[1] (Greek, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, etc.), but from the continual allusions to local usages and manners, proverbs and idioms, which no one but a Neapolitan can interpret. In all these cases of difficulty I have received the valuable aid of my friend Mr. Rossetti, (himself a Neapolitan by birth), whose kindness I desire particularly to acknowledge. To my friend Mr. Keightley I am under an equal amount of obligation: he first encouraged me to undertake the work, and not only allowed me to reprint such stories as he had himself published, but liberally gave me several others which he had in manuscript; adding to his kindness the favour of revising the whole work as it went through the press, and comparing it with the original. And here let me bear my ready testimony to the erudition, ability and careful accuracy with which Mr. Liebrecht has executed his translation; and my gratification in expressing this opinion is the greater, because there is probably no person who can so fully estimate all the difficulties he has encountered as myself, simply from the circumstance of my having, like him, gone through the work word by word.

"The brothers Grimm," says Mr. Liebrecht, "have spoken of the unusual difficulties attending a translation of Basile, and I can only confirm what they have said in its fullest extent; and all the more, as I have not attempted to give a

  1. The reader will remark a frequent similarity to Irish expressions,—fora de li fora, 'beyond the beyonds'; fine del fine, 'the end of the end'; n'aseno, figlio de la mala fortuna, 'an ass, the son of ill-luck.' So Violet says at p. 138, "If I don't cut off your nose, it is only that you may smell the bad odour of your reputation."