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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/387

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THE GOLDEN ROOT.

you must answer, 'Nay, for you will eat me.' And they will say, 'We swear by our spoon that we will not eat you!' But do not stir; and they will continue, 'We swear by our spit that we will not eat you!' But stand firm, as if rooted to the spot; and they will say, 'We swear by our broom that we will not eat you!' Still do not believe them; and when they say, 'We swear by our pail that we will not eat you!' shut your mouth, and say not a word, or it will cost you your life. At last they will say, 'We swear by Thunder-and-Lightning that we will not eat you!' Then take courage and mount up, for they will do you no harm."

When Parmetella heard this, she set off and walked over hill and dale, until at the end of seven years the iron shoes were worn out; and coming to a large house, with a projecting balcony, she saw the seven women spinning. So she did as the fairy had advised her, and after a thousand wiles and allurements, they swore by Thunder-and-Lightning, whereupon she showed herself and mounted up. Then they all seven said to her, "Traitress, you are the cause that our brother has lived twice seven long years in the cavern, far away from us, in the form of a blackamoor! But never mind—although you have been clever enough to stop our throat with the oath, you shall on the first oppor-