Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/42

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
18
THE PENTAMERONE.

who, having changed the air from the darkness of night to the light of this beauty, is seized by a fever; lay your hand on this heart, feel my pulse, give me a prescription. But, my soul, why do I ask for a prescription? Apply a cupping-glass to these lips with that lovely mouth; I desire no other comfort than a touch of that little hand; for I am certain that with the cordial of that fair grace, and with the healing root of that tongue of thine, I shall be sound and well again."

At these words the lovely fairy grew as red as fire, and replied, "Not so much praise, my lord prince! I am your servant, and would do anything in the world to serve that kingly face; and I esteem it great good fortune that from a branch of myrtle, set in a pot of earth, I have become a branch of laurel hung over the inn-door of a heart of flesh[1],—of a heart in which there is so much greatness and virtue."

The prince, melting at these words like a tallow-candle, began again to embrace her; and sealing the letter with a kiss, he gave her his hand, saying, "Take my faith, you shall be my wife, you shall be mistress of my sceptre, you shall have the key of this heart, as you hold the helm of this life." After these and a hundred other ceremonies and discourses they arose. And so it went on for several days.

But as spoil-sport, marriage-parting Fate is always

  1. Whenever any one has wine to sell, he hangs a branch of laurel over his door.