Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/419

This page has been validated.

dows, to prevent their being seen by the Sun; and dismounting at a fountain, which with a crystal tongue was inviting the people to refresh their lips, he seated himself on a Syrian carpet formed by the plants and flowers. Then he drew his knife from the sheath and began to cut the first citron, when lo! there appeared like a flash of lightning a most beautiful maiden, white as milk and red as a strawberry, who said, "Give me to drink!" The prince was so amazed, bewildered and captivated with the beauty of the fairy, that he did not give her the water quickly enough, so she appeared and vanished at one and the same moment. Whether this was a rap on the prince's head, let any one judge who, after longing for a thing, gets it into his hands and instantly loses it again.

Then the prince cut the second citron, and the same thing happened again; and this was a second blow he got on his pate; so making two little fountains of his eyes, he wept, face to face, tear for tear, drop for drop, with the fountain, and sighing he exclaimed, "Good heavens, how is it that I am so unfortunate? twice I have let her escape, as if my hands were tied; and here I sit like a rock, when I ought to run like a greyhound. Faith indeed I have made a fine hand of it! But courage, man! there is still another, and three is the lucky number[1]; either this knife shall give me the

  1. In the original, 'A le ttrè vence lo Rrè.'