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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/400

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she sent the secretary in the king’s name to Talia, saying that he wished to see the children. Then Talia sent them with great joy; but the queen, with the heart of a Medea, commanded the cook to kill them, and serve them up in various ways for her wretched husband to eat.

Now the cook, who had a tender heart, seeing the two pretty little golden pippins, took compassion on them, and gave them to his wife, bidding her keep them concealed: then he killed and dressed two little kids in a hundred different ways. When the king came, the queen quickly ordered the dishes to be served up; and the king fell to eating with great delight, exclaiming, "By the life of Lanfusa[1] how good this is! Oh how excellent, by the soul of my grandfather!" And the queen all the while kept saying, "Eat away! for you eat what is your own." At first the king paid no attention to what she said; but at last, hearing the music continue, he replied, "Ay, I know well enough that what I eat is my own, for you brought nothing to the house." And at last getting up in a rage, he went off to a villa at a little distance to cool his anger.

Meanwhile the queen, not satisfied with what she had done, called the secretary again, and sent him to fetch Talia, pretending that the king wished to see her. At this summons Talia went that very instant, longing

  1. The mother of Ferraù,—see Orlando Furioso, i. 30. The habit of swearing by an object the dearest to a person is quite Spanish, as is also the use of terms of kindred out of mere tenderness or familiarity.