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THE PENTAMERONE.

than worthy to be his wife, if she would be content to receive the sceptre of his kingdom.

"Alas, would to Heaven it could be so!" answered Marziella, "and that I could serve you as the slave of your crown! but see you not this golden chain upon my foot, by which the sorceress holds me prisoner? When I take too much fresh air, and tarry too long on the shore, she draws me into the waves, and thus keeps me held in rich slavery by a golden chain."

"What way is there," said the king, "to free you from the claws of this syren?"

"The way," replied Marziella, "would be to cut this chain with a smooth file, and to loose me from it."

"Wait till tomorrow morning," answered the king; "I will then come with all that is needful, and take you home with me, where you shall be the pupil of my eye, the core of my heart, and the life of my soul."

And then exchanging a shake of the hands as the earnest-money of their love, she went back into the water and he into the fire,—and into such a fire indeed that he had not an hour's rest the whole day long. And when the black old hag of the Night came forth to have a country-dance with the Stars, he never closed an eye, but lay ruminating in his memory over the beauties of Marziella, discoursing in thought of the marvels of her hair, the miracles of her mouth, and the