Day 2, Tale #4 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow
A farmer once was near to death.
The time had come for his last breath.
What others had this man had not
beyond a sieve, a cat, a pot.
He called his two sons to his side.
“I’ve nothing much to leave,” he cried.
“Oraziello, take my sieve.
Alas, it’s all I have to give.
And Pippo, you can have the cat.”
He died. And Pippo muttered, “Drat!
There’s no food left upon the shelf.
Shall I feed her and not myself?
Am I to be her galley slave?”
Oraziello dug the grave
and laid their father there to rest.
He took his sieve and headed west
where sifting brought him fair return.
He saved the meager coins he’d earn.
But Pippo? All he did was curse.
He had no coppers in his purse.