Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/241

This page has been validated.
215
CORVETTO.

money of good behaviour. But the zephyrs of the kindness which the king showed Corvette were sciroccos to the spite and malice of these courtiers, who were bursting with envy; so that all the day long, in every corner of the palace, they did nothing but tattle and whisper, murmur and grumble at the poor lad, saying, "What sorcery has this fellow[1] practised on the king, that he takes such a fancy to him? how comes he by this luck, that not a day passes but he receives some new favours, whilst we are for ever going backwards like the rope-maker, and getting from bad to worse, though we slave like dogs, sweat like field-labourers, and race about like deer, to hit the king's pleasure to a hair? Truly one must be born to good fortune in this world, and he who has not luck may as well throw himself into the sea. What is to be done? we can only look on and burst."

These and other words flew from the bow of their mouth, like poisoned arrows aimed at the butt of Corvetto's ruin. Alas for him who is condemned to that infernal den the court, where flattery is sold by kilderkins, malignity and ill offices are measured out in bushels, deceit and treachery are weighed by the ton! But who can count all the bits of orange-peel these courtiers put under his feet to make him slip, or tell the soap of

  1. Sto caccia-l'appascere—a name for a booby; because the greatest fools were commonly "sent to tend" the swine, &c.