Open main menu

Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/87

This page has been validated.

treatment she received from her stepmother, saying to her, "O heavens, that you had been my mother, you who show me so much kindness and affection!" And she went on thus, sighing and singing to this tune, till at last the governess, having a wasp put in her ear and blinded by the Mazzamauriello[1], said to her one day, "If you will do as this foolish head of mine advises, I shall be mother to you, and you will be as dear to me as the apple of my eye."

She was going on to say more, when Zezolla[2] (for that was the girl's name) said, "Pardon me if I stop the word upon your tongue. I know you wish me well, therefore hush! enough—only show me the way to get out of my trouble; do you write, and I will sub-scribe."

"Well then," answered the governess, "open your ears and listen, and you will get bread as white as the flowers[3]. When your father goes out, ask your stepmother to give you one of the old dresses that are in the large chest in the closet, in order to save the one you have on. Then she, who would like of all things to see you go in rags and tatters, will open the chest, and say, 'Hold up the lid!' and whilst you are holding it up, and she is rummaging about inside, let it fall with a bang, so as to break her neck. When

  1. A wicked little imp.
  2. Lucretia.
  3. i.e. 'you shall have your wish.'