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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/216

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THE PENTAMERONE.

Now when the Sun had shut up the shop of his rays, in order not to sell light to the Shades, the old woman returned, and bidding Filadoro let down the usual ladder, she ascended; and finding the wood all ready split, she began to suspect that it was her daughter who had given her this checkmate. And the third day, in order to make a third trial, she ordered the prince to clean out for her a cistern which held a thousand casks of water, for she wished to fill it anew; adding, that if the task were not finished by the evening she would make mincemeat of him.

When the old woman went away, Nardo Aniello began again to weep and wail; and Filadoro, seeing that the labours increased, and that the old woman had something of the jackass in her to burden the poor fellow with such tasks and troubles, said to him, "Be quiet, and as soon as the moment is past that interrupts my art, before the Sun says 'I am off,' we will say good-by to this house; sure enough this evening my mother shall find the land cleared, and I will go off with you, alive or dead." The prince, on hearing this news, opened his heart,—all the more easily as he was before ready to burst; and embracing Filadoro he said, "Thou art the pole-star of this storm-tossed bark, my soul! thou art the prop of my hopes."

Now when evening drew nigh, Filadoro having dug