Day One
Pentamerone Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

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


A pregnant woman from her attic window could survey
a bed of luscious parsley, and she could not look away.
She wanted some. She craved it so she thought that she would faint,
but an ogress owned the garden and she had to use restraint.

She waited. When she saw the ogress take her cane and leave,
she slipped inside the garden fence in order to retrieve
a handful of the parsley. This she did, and quickly fled.
The ogress smelled some trouble.  Who’s been at my garden bed?

The thief will wish he’d never tried to swindle me! she swore.
And now the pregnant woman craved the parsley even more.
She went again and yet again. It never will be missed.
But then one day the ogress snarled and grabbed her by the wrist.

Oh please, the pregnant woman begged, I did it for my child.
I feared the baby’s face with parsley marks would be defiled.
Too bad, the ogress said.  If I consent to set you free
you must promise, be it boy or girl, you’ll give the brat to me.

To get away the pregnant woman promised that she would.
In time she bore a girl and hid her through her babyhood.
Petrosinella was her name which really fit her best
for a little mark of parsley could be seen upon her chest.

Her features were a joy to see as was her golden hair.
Too soon came time for school. Her mother sent her down the stair
to learn her little lessons from a teacher down the street.
Each day Petrosinella and the ogress chanced to meet.

Each day the ogress said to her, ‘Remind your mother, dear
of a promise that she made, and say the day is growing near.'
What does she mean? the child inquired. And, though her heart would break,
Next time, her mother told her, answer, ‘I am yours to take.’

Petrosinella said the words.  Now you are in my power!
The ogress dragged her to a wood where stood a lofty tower,
and through the use of magic spells she locked them both inside.
From now on this is home, the ogress said, where we’ll reside.

But how will I get out? There are no stairs, there is no door.
There’s only this one window and it’s high above the floor.
You won’t get out, the ogress said, but I can come and go
by climbing up your golden braids which reach the ground below.

And so Petrosinella lived for every single day.
The ogress was not mean to her, but there she had to stay.
It happened that a neighboring prince by chance was riding by
when she had spread her hair out in the mid-day sun to dry.

He saw her lovely countenance and, overcome with love,
threw kisses to the vision in the window up above.
And she returned his glances.Two young hearts began to leap
as they planned to have him visit while the ogress was asleep.

That night the girl served tea in which she put a sleeping brew.
She hung her braids down to the ground.The prince knew what to do.
They kissed and they embraced and then he left at dawn’s first light,
but so enamored were they both he came the following night.

And on it would have gone except a prying neighbor chose
to tell the ogress games were being played beneath her nose.
She won’t escape, the ogress said.  She’s here beneath a spell
unless she holds three acorns in her hand. I hid them well

among the rafters of the tower.  Petrosinella heard.
That night they found the acorns, and without another word
they made a ladder out of twine and both climbed quickly down.
The neighbor saw and screamed so loud it woke the sleeping town.

It woke the horrid ogress.  He has stolen her, the brute!
She used the ladder to descend and took off in pursuit.
The lovers heard her coming, heard her footsteps drawing near.
Petrosinella, use an acorn! Use it now, my dear!

Petrosinella threw an acorn down upon the ground
and from it sprang a dog, a truly frightful slathering hound. 
The dog lunged at the ogress with its massive jaws agape,
but the ogress threw him loaves of bread and so made her escape. 

Now seeing that the ogress was upon them once again
Petrosinella threw the second acorn down, and then
there stood a hungry lion with his awful teeth revealed.  
He would have caught the ogress but she backed into a field

where she caught and flayed a donkey and, concealed beneath its skin,
returned to face the lion who believed it genuine.
He ran away in fright and quite forgot about his kill,
but the ogress feared he might return and wore the covering still.

She closed in on the fleeing pair and raised a cloud of dust.
They only had one acorn left, but throw it down they must.
Out came a wolf who thought he saw a donkey meal to eat.
He gobbled down the ogress from her forehead to her feet.

Petrosinella and her prince, relieved to find her gone,
spoke only of endearments as they slowly ambled on.
They soon came to his kingdom where he took her for his wife,
and there they lived in peace and had a long and happy life.

Copyright © 2019 Laura J. Bobrow. All rights reserved