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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/383

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THE GOLDEN ROOT.

her pig somewhere else. So Parmetella drove her little animal into a wood, where the Shades were holding out against the assaults of the Sun; and coming to a pasture, in the middle of which flowed a fountain, that like the hostess of an inn where cold water is sold, was inviting the passers-by with its silver tongue, she found a certain tree with golden leaves. Then plucking one of them, she took it to her father, who with great joy sold it for more than twenty ducats, which served to stop up a hole in his affairs. And when he asked Parmetella where she had found it, she said, "Take it, sir, and ask no questions, unless you would spoil your good fortune." The next day she returned and did the same, and she went on plucking the leaves from the tree until it was entirely stript, as if it had been plundered by the winds of Autumn. Then she perceived that the tree had a large golden root, which she could not pull up with her hands; so she went home, and fetching an axe set to work to lay bare the root around the foot of the tree; and raising the trunk as well as she could, she found under it a beautiful porphyry staircase.

Parmetella, who was curious beyond measure, went down the stairs, and walking through a large and deep cavern, she came to a beautiful plain, on which was a splendid palace, where nothing but gold and