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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/27

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INTRODUCTION.

might come to pass that would make his daughter laugh.

So the fountain was made; and as Zoza was one day standing at the window, grave and demure, and looking as sour as vinegar, there came by chance an old woman, who, soaking up the oil with a sponge, began to fill a little pitcher which she had brought with her. And as she was labouring hard at this ingenious device, a pert young page of the court, passing by, threw a stone so exactly to a hair, that he hit the pitcher and broke it in pieces. Whereupon the old woman, who had no hair upon her tongue, turned to the page full of wrath, and exclaimed, "Ah! you impertinent young dog, you mule, you gallows-rope, you spindle-legs, at whom even the fleas cough! ill luck to you! may you be pierced by a Catalan lance! may you be hung with a rope's-end, and your blood be not spilt—may a thousand ills befall you, and something more to boot, you thief, you knave!"

The lad, who had little beard and less discretion, hearing this string of abuse, repaid the old woman in the same coin, saying, "Have you done, you devil's grandmother, you old hag, you child-strangler?"

When the old woman heard these compliments, she flew into such a rage, that losing hold of the bridle, and escaping from the stable of patience, she acted like a mad woman, cutting capers in the air and grinning like an