The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories/Second Day


Second Day



The Dawn had gone forth to grease the wheels of the Sun's chariot, and, with the fatigue of stirring the fat into the wheelbox with a stick, had grown as red as a rosy apple, when Taddeo, after stretching his limbs, called the Slave; and dressing themselves in a few seconds, they went down into the garden, where they found the ten women already arrived. Then, after gathering for each of them some fresh figs, which with their beggar's jacket, gallows heads and ladies' tear-drops,[1] made every one's mouth water, they began a thousand sports to cheat the time until the banquet was ready; among which they did not omit either 'Anca Nicola,' or 'Hopscotch,' or 'Look-ye, wife,' or 'Hide and seek,' or 'Comrade I'm wounded,' or 'Proclamation and command,' or 'Welcome, master,' or 'Rentinola my Rentinola,' or 'Close the cask,' or 'Jump a yard,' or 'Stone in the bosom,' or 'Sca-fish,' or 'Angel,' or 'Anola tranola,' or 'King Macebearer,' or 'Blind cat,'[2] or 'The lamp to the lamp,' or 'Draw my curtain,' or 'Long-beam,' or 'Hen and chickens,' or 'The old man is not come,' or 'Leap-frog,' or 'Ride a cheriy-stone,' or 'Mannikin leap!' or 'The Robbers,' or 'Come hither, come hither,' or 'Who has the needle and thread?' or 'Bird, bird, an iron handle,' or 'Wine or vinegar,' or Open, open the door for poor Gosshawk!'[3]

But the time being at length come for the feast, they all seated themselves at table; and when they had eaten their fill, the Prince bade Zeza bear herself like a brave woman and begin her story; whereupon Zeza, who had her head so full of stories that they overflowed from her lips, calling them over one by one, selected as the best that which I will now tell you.

  1. Depicting a ripe fig, with a cracked skin, a bent stalk, and drops of juice upon it.
  2. Blindman's Buff'?
  3. i.e. 'Frog in the middle'?—The Neapolitan names for these games, and remarks on them, I shall probably give in the Notes to this volume.