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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/333

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THE SEVEN DOVES.

"That is all nothing," answered Cianna; "for I know you are deceiving me."

"Well then," said the old woman, "I swear to you by those wings which fly over all, that I will give you more pleasure than you imagine."

Thereupon Cianna, letting go the weights, kissed the old woman's hand, which had a mouldy feel and a musty smell. And the old woman, seeing the courtesy of the damsel, said to her, "Hide yourself behind this door, and when Time comes home I will make him tell me all you wish to know. And as soon as he goes out again—for he never stays quiet in one place—you can depart. But do not let yourself be heard or seen, for he is such a glutton, that he does not spare even his own children; and when all fails, he devours himself, and then springs up anew."

Cianna did as the old woman told her, and lo! soon after Time came flying quick, quick, high and light, and having gnawed whatever came to hand, down to the very mouldiness upon the walls, he was about to depart, when his mother told him all she had heard from Cianna, beseeching him by the milk she had given him to answer exactly all her questions. After a thousand entreaties her son replied, "To the tree may be answered, that it can never be prized by men so long as it keeps treasures buried under its roots:—to