Once upon a time, the king of Woody Valley had a daughter named Zoza, who, like another Zoroaster or Heraclitus, was never seen to laugh. The unhappy father, who had no other comfort in life but this only daughter, left nothing untried to drive away her melancholy. Accordingly he sent for folks who walk on stilts, for fellows who jump through hoops, for boxers, for Master Roggiero, for jugglers who perform sleight-of-hand tricks, for men as strong as Hercules, for dancing dogs, for leaping clowns, for the jackass that drinks out of a tumbler, for Lucia-canazza,—and in short he tried first one thing and then another to make her laugh. But all was time lost, for neither Master Grillo's remedy, nor the Sardonic plant, nor a skilful punch on the diaphragm, could have brought a smile upon her lips.
So at length the poor father, to make a last trial, and not knowing what else to do, ordered a large fountain of oil to be made in front of the palace gates; thinking to himself, that when the oil ran down the street, along which the people passed to and fro like a troop of ants, they would be obliged, in order not to soil their clothes, to skip like grasshoppers, leap like goats, and run like hares; while one would go picking and choosing his way, and another go creeping along close to the wall. In short, he hoped that something
- A conjuror.
- A Neapolitan dance.
- A noted physician.