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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/242

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THE PENTAMERONE.

falseness with which they besmeared the ladder to the king's ears, to make Corvette fall and break his neck? who can tell the pitfalls of deceit dug in the king's brain, and covered over with the sticks and straws of pretended zeal, to make him tumble? But Corvetto, who was enchanted, and perceived the traps and discovered the tricks, was aware of all the nets, and was up to all the intrigues, the ambuscades, the plots and conspiracies of his enemies, kept his ears always on the alert and his eyes open, in order not to set a false step, well knowing that the fortune of courtiers is glass. But the higher the lad continued to rise, the lower the others fell; and at last being puzzled to know how to take him off his feet, as their slander was not believed, they thought of leading him to a precipice by the path of flattery (an art invented in a certain hot house, and perfected in the court), which they attempted in the following manner.

Ten miles distant from Scotland, where the seat of this king was, there dwelt an ogre, the most inhuman and savage that had ever been in ogre-land, who, being persecuted by the king, had fortified himself in a lonesome wood on the top of a mountain, where no bird ever flew, and which was so thick and tangled that it could never get a sight of the sun. This ogre had a most beautiful horse, which looked as if it were formed with a pencil; and amongst other wonderful things was