Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/36

This page has been validated.

such a rabble for the mere amusement of his wife, and being moreover suffocated by the crowd, chose ten only of the best of the city, who appeared to him most capable and eloquent. These were. Bushy-haired Zeza, bandy-legged Cecca, wen-necked Meneca, long-nosed Tolla, humpbacked Popa, bearded Antonella, dumpy Ciulla, blear-eyed Paola, bald-pated Ciommetella, and square-shouldered Jacova. These he wrote down on a sheet of paper, and then, dismissing the others, he arose with the Slave from under the canopy, and they went gently gently to the garden of the palace, where the leafy branches were so closely interlaced, that the Sun could not separate them with all the industry of his rays. And seating themselves under a pavilion, formed by a trellis of vines, in the middle of which ran a great fountain—the schoolmaster of the courtiers, whom he taught every day to murmur—Taddeo thus began:—

"There is nothing in the world more glorious, my gentle dames, than to listen to the deeds of others; nor was it without reason that the great philosopher placed the highest happiness of man in listening to pretty stories; since, in hearing pleasing things told, griefs vanish, troublesome thoughts are put to flight, and life is lengthened. And for this reason you see the artisans leave the workshops, the merchants their counting-houses, the lawyers their causes, the shopkeepers their business, and