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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/35

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love, who was stolen from her by an ugly slave. At length she gave him the doll, as she had done the other things; but before placing it in his hands, she prayed the little doll to put a desire into the heart of the Slave to hear stories told her. And when Taddeo saw the doll in his hand, without his paying a single carlino, he was so filled with amazement at such courtesy, that he offered his kingdom and his life in exchange for the gift. Then, returning to the palace, he gave the doll to his wife, who had no sooner placed it in her bosom, to play with it, than it seemed to be Love in the form of Ascanius in Dido's bosom[1], who shot a dart into her breast; for instantly such a longing seized her to hear stories told, that, being unable to resist, and fearing to give birth to a son who should fill a ship with beggars, she called her husband, and said, "Bid some story-tellers come and tell me stories, or I promise you the child shall not be born alive."

Taddeo, to get rid of this March malady, ordered a proclamation instantly to be made, that all the women of the land should come on an appointed day. And on that day, at the hour when the star of Venus appears, who awakes the Dawn, to strew the road along which the Sun has to pass, the ladies were all assembled at the appointed place. But Taddeo, not wishing to detain

  1. Alluding to Æneid i. 685.