Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/402

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truth; and when he asked for the children, and heard that his wife had ordered them to be killed, in revenge for his unfaithfulness, the unhappy king gave himself up to despair, exclaiming, "Alas then, I have myself been the wolf to my little lambs! Woe is me! why did not my veins recognize that they were the fountain of their blood? Ah, renegade Turk, what barbarous act have you done? but your wickedness shall be punished; you shall do penance without being sent to the Coliseum."

So saying he ordered her to be thrown into the same fire which had been lighted for Talia, and the secretary with her, who was the handle of this cruel game and the weaver of this wicked web. Then he was going to do the same with the cook, thinking that he had killed the children; but the cook threw himself at the king's feet and said, "Truly, sir king, I would desire no other sinecure in return for the service I have done you than to be thrown into a furnace full of live coals, I would ask no other gratuity than the thrust of a spike, I would wish for no other amusement than to be roasted in the fire, I would desire no other privilege than to have the ashes of a cook mingled with those of a queen. But I look for no such great reward for having saved your children, and brought them back to you in spite of that wicked creature who wished to kill them."

When the king heard these words he was quite be-