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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/39

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refusals, allured by his offers, dazzled by his promises, frightened by his threats, overcome by his prayers, gave him the pot, beseeching him to hold it dear, for she loved it more than a daughter, and valued it as much as if it were her own offspring. Then the prince had the flowerpot carried with the greatest care in the world into his own chamber, and placed it in a balcony, and tended and watered it with his own hand.

It happened one evening, when the prince had gone to bed, and had put out the candles, and all were at rest and in their first sleep, that he heard the sound of some one stealing through the house, and coming cautiously towards his bed; whereat he thought it must be some chamber-boy coming to lighten his purse for him, or some Monaciello[1] to pull the bed-clothes off him. But as he was a bold fellow, whom even the ugly devil himself could not frighten, he acted the dead cat, waiting to see the upshot of the affair. When he perceived the object approach nearer, and stretching out his hand felt something smooth, and instead of laying hold, as he expected, on the prickles of a hedgehog, he touched a little creature more soft and fine than Barbary wool, more pliant and tender than a marten's tail, more delicate than thistle-down, he flew from one thought to another, and taking her to be a fairy (as

  1. A little Neapolitan sprite or kobold. Observe its nationality-'the little monk.'