homeaboutnews/venuestestimonialspublicationsCDs/ cassettes booking 
poetry pagessculpture

Pentamerone Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

THE MYRTLE
Day 1, Tale 2
retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow


There are fairies who wander around,
and some have their ears to the ground.
So take care what you say.  
You may find out one day
that your silliest wish will rebound.

My heart, cried a woman, is sore.
If I just had a child to adore.
Boy or girl, it could be, 
or the sprig of a tree! 
And a myrtle is what she then bore.

She nestled it into a pot.
She watered and loved it, a lot.
It soon caught the eye 
of a Prince passing by
and he paid for it right on the spot.

She begged him to take special care,
That’s my daughter who’s living in there.
Though he thought she was ill, 
he said, Madam, I will,
for I find it exceedingly rare.

Near his bed was a porch made of wood.
It was there that the myrtle tree stood,
and he treated it well.  
He was under its spell.
He’d have dressed it in silk if he could.

One fine night he heard feet softly tread,
when the darkness surrounded his bed.
He waited, then grabbed.  
And no thief had he nabbed
but a sweet little fairy, instead.

Every night she lay close to his side.
But, alas, he remained mystified
for he never could see 
her come out of the tree,
and each morning she left, unespied.

Then one night he held on to her hair.
Morning came and he gazed at her there.
She was beautiful, more 
than he’d thought her before.
But no mortal was ever so fair.

Then you must be my myrtle! he cried.
Yes I am. I’ve been living outside.
I would fain be your ward, 
if you’ll have me, my Lord.
Not my servant, but you’ll be my bride. 

I love you far more than my life!
But before he could make her his wife,
he was summoned away 
for a week and a day,
and his anguish was keen as a knife.

Please go back to the myrtle, my dear.
I will fasten a bell on it here.
When I pull on its string 
and the bell starts to ring
you will know that you may reappear. 

Then he summoned a servant to say, 
You must care for this myrtle each day. 
If each leaf is not green 
I will cut out your spleen!
 And I’ve counted the leaves, by the way.

The servant replied, I will tend
to your myrtle as if to a friend.
But he wrongly supposed, 
If the door is not closed,
it will save me some time in the end.

Seven sisters who fancied the Prince
but had wondered, for several weeks since,
why he smiled said, Let’s see  
what the reason could be.
In his bedroom we’re sure to find hints.

There was nothing inside. Well then, we
will each take a leaf from that tree.
As they did, the bell rang,  
and a fairy voice sang,
Here I am, oh my Prince, wait for me!

There she stood, and the sisters cried, You!
You’re the reason! But your life is through.
The youngest cried, Wait!  
But her cries were too late.
And they scratched her and pummeled her, too.

The fairy escaped from those brutes.
But they tore up her tree by the roots
and they threw it around.  
Leaves were strewn on the ground.
Then they ran when they heard a man’s boots.

Imagine the serving man’s face.
He had to get out of that place!
But he first took a cup 
and he scooped it all up
and he watered the pot, just in case.

Had he not done that chivalrous act
this story would end, for a fact.
But because he was kind 
still our tale may unwind.
The fairy was bruised, but intact.

When the Prince tried to make the bell ring.
There was silence. And where was the string?
He started to keen 
when he witnessed the scene.
She is gone! I have lost everything!

He picked up a last fallen leaf.
The poor forlorn man in his grief
could not eat, could not sleep.  
All he could do was weep.
Nothing worldly could give him relief.

But the myrtle soon started to sprout.
As soon as she could she sprang out.
She ran straight to his bed 
and called, Prince, I’m not dead.
He gathered her up with a shout.

She described what the sisters had done,
how they fell upon her, all but one.
And his servant, she said, 
was why she was not dead.
He had saved her as sure as the sun.

The servant was found and returned.
Said the Prince, You are blameless, I’ve learned.
The young sister you may, 
if she likes you that way,
take for wife with the money you’ve earned.

The Prince sought his father’s consent,
which the King most delightedly lent.
There never could be 
one as perfect as she.
Let the news of a wedding be sent.

At the wedding feast on the next day
all the guests in their turn had to say
what, if anyone tried 
to molest his young bride,
was the penalty they ought to pay.

One said, Burned. One said, Buried alive.
Each one found something worse to contrive. 
The sisters felt weak, 
and when they had to speak
whispered, Left in a hole to survive.

Cried the Prince, You have signed your decree!
To the dungeon with them, instantly.
 Come, my fairy, my own.  
Come and sit on the throne.
Which they did. And they ruled happily.

Copyright © 2019 Laura J. Bobrow. All rights reserved.