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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/401

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to see the light of her eyes, and not knowing that only the smoke awaited her. But when she came before the queen, the latter said to her, with the face of a Nero and full of poison as a viper, "Welcome, Madam Slycheat! are you indeed the pretty mischief-maker? are you the weed that has caught my husband’s eye and given me all this trouble? So so, you are come at last to purgatory, where I'll make you pay for all the ill you have done me."

When Talia heard this she began to excuse herself; but the queen would not listen to a word; and having a large fire lighted in the courtyard, she commanded that Talia should be thrown into the flames. Poor Talia, seeing matters come to a bad pass, fell on her knees before the queen, and besought her at least to grant her time to take the clothes from off her back. Whereupon the queen, not so much out of pity for the unhappy girl, as to get possession of her dress, which was embroidered all over with gold and pearls, said to her, "Undress yourself—I allow you." Then Talia began to undress, and as she took off each garment she uttered an exclamation of grief; and when she had stripped off her cloak, her gown and her jacket, and was proceeding to take off her petticoat, they seized her and were dragging her away. At that moment the king came up, and seeing the spectacle he demanded to know the whole