Day 3 Tale #8 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
There once lived a man who was rich as the sea, but his son, Moscione, was trouble, for he was worthless and idle and dumb-witted too. His father cried, “What will become of you? Here’s money. Some travel might sharpen your brain.” Moscione at once left his father’s domain. He first met a man at the foot of a tree. “You look like a strapping young fellow to me. What do they call you and what is your trade? If I find that you’re useful your fortune is made.” “My name, Sir, is Lightning. I’m faster than fast. There isn’t a deer that I cannot run past.” “I’d like you to prove it.” Along came a hart. Lightning let it run by him to get a head start, and then, in four leaps, he had left it behind. “Come with me. I”ll pay you. Let’s see what we find.” They next met a man with his ear to the ground. “Hello,” said Moscione, “who is this we’ve found? What do they call you? And what do you hear?” “I can hear everything, and my name is Quick-ear.”