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Day One
Pentamerone Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

                                                                VIOLA
                                                            Day 2, Tale 3 
                                        retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow


A king’s son took a liking to
Viola, pretty as the dew.
Each time he passed her you would hear,
Good day to you, Viola dear.

Viola’d smile and then she’d say,
in quite an off-hand, brazen way,
Son of the King, you too, good day,
but I know more than you do, hey!

Her sisters said, She lacks respect.
The way she speaks is not correct!
And since she was recalcitrant
her father sent her to her aunt.

The prince found out where she’d been sent.
He hastened there with one intent:
to kiss Viola on the cheek.
He said, Dear Auntie, let us speak.

You know my name without doubt,
but no one else must find it out.
I ask permission for this boon:
to let me kiss Viola soon.

Your wish is my command, dear sir.
But for a kiss? It’s up to her.
You hide here in the garden shed.
I’ll say that I forgot some thread.

Viola came.The thread was found.
She picked it up and turned around
in time to see him standing there.
She slipped out quickly as a hare.

Viola was sent twice again.
My ruler, and my scissors, then.
Each time the prince had no success.
Viola liked it less and less.

She faced her aunt in rage and tears,
blasphemed her and cut off her ears.
Then back to Daddy’s house she went.
The prince, though spurned, would not relent.

He took to walking by each day.
Each time he passed her he would say,
Good day to you Viola, dear.
And she was still as rude, I fear.

She’d smile and then she’d always say,
in that same flippant, teasing way,
Son of the King, you too, good day.
but I know more than you do, hey!

Her sisters heard her and, aghast,
declared, This conduct must not last.
So they agreed without demur
to finally get rid of her.

They wailed.  Oh dear, we’ve dropped some thread.
We need it very much, they said.
It landed in the ogre’s yard.
To get it back won’t be too hard,

but one of us will have to go
by rope into his yard below.
You are the lightest of us three.
Viola answered, I agree.

They tied a rope around her waist
and, lowering her below in haste,
they dropped the rope and left her there!
The ogre came out for some air.

Believing that his fetid wind
had caused her to be born, he grinned,
My lovely, let it now be known
you’re mine. I claim you for my own.

He put her in the fairies’ care.
The prince was now in deep despair
until he learned, through use of spies,
It’s in an ogre’s house she lies.

He called the ogre to his side.
I’ll die if I cannot reside
one night and day at your abode.
Most surely, prince, the ogre crowed.

That night the prince, in silence, crept
beside Viola while she slept
and pinched her.She cried out, Oh, please!
So many fleas! So many fleas!

Her bed was changed. He pinched once more
and made her cry out as before.
All night she got no sleep and he,
the naughty prince, was filled with glee.

Next day he said, Hello, I’m here.
Good day to you, Viola dear.
And she said,To you, too, good day,
but I know more than you do, hey!

When he responded with a tease,
So many fleas! So many fleas!
she knew at once that she’d been caught.
Well, two can play that game, she thought.

The fairies said they’d willingly
take part, and sent her speedily
to ask the ogre for some hose
equipped with bells from heels to toes.

That night they all concealed their shapes
behind the prince’s bedroom drapes.
They waited. When his eyelids drooped
then out into the room they trooped

and stamped and made such awful din
the prince’s tongue stuck to his chin.
Oh, Mommy, Mommy, help! he screamed.
Perhaps, he thought, I only dreamed.

But then again the noise came. Stamp!
Oh, Mommy, help! His eyes were damp.
Viola left quite pleased to see
that he had been as scared as she.

He saw her quite alone next day
and, as before, he stopped to say,
Good day to you, Viola dear.
And she replied, What’s that I hear?

Son of the king, you too, good day,
but I know more than you do, hey!
Oh yes? he said. So many fleas!
And she said, Mommy, help me please!

The prince replied, All right. It’s true.
You’ve won, and so our game is through.
You do know more. Now for my life
I want you with me as my wife.

The ogre knew he’d been deceived,
that not from him she’d been conceived,
so off they went to see her dad.
He gave his blessing and was glad

That his Viola, once a blight,
had wound up more than just all right. 

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