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Pentamerone Day Three
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                                                  Day 3, Tale 7
                                    retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow

Corvetto was a jewel at court, a favorite of the king.
Because of this the courtiers detested everything
about him from his honest face down to his pleasant mien.
In hidden corners nasty-minded nobles could be seen
setting traps, concocting tales to bring him to a fall,
but Corvetto was enchanted and evaded one and all.

The lords discovered calumny could not impair his fame.    
              Perhaps, they said, with flattery we may achieve our aim. 
We’ll praise him to the king with such regard and with such charm
that he’ll be set a task through which he’ll come to grievous harm.
A ghoul lived on a mountain where the sun could never reach,
and in his stable lived a horse which had the gift of speech.

             That brilliant horse, they told the king, by rights belongs to you.
But who can brave the savage ghoul? Corvetto! That is who.
The king agreed. Corvetto, if you love me, get that horse.
Corvetto knew the courtiers had set a trap, of course.
He gained the mountain, saddled up the steed and rode him out. 
             Help! Help! Corvetto’s stealing me! the horse began to shout.

The ghoul and all his beasts gave chase. Corvetto got away
and rode back to the castle. Sire, the horse is yours today.
The courtiers all gnashed their teeth.The king was overjoyed.
The schemers cried, Is there no way this man can be destroyed?
The king had no idea that they had wished his favorite dead.
              You’re worthy to be called my son, the happy monarch said.

The courtiers would not give up. They hatched another plan.
             The ghoul has precious tapestries. Corvetto’s just the man
to fetch them, they convinced the king. So why not send him back?
Once more the king’s cupidity, of which he had no lack,
quite overcame his common sense. He listened and obeyed
and sent Corvetto off again.That youth was not afraid.

Right back he went  Once there, perforce, he waited out of sight
within the bedroom of the ghoul until, in dark of night,
he stripped the walls of tapestries. Then eagerly he spied
a blanket covering the ghoul. His wife lay by his side.
Corvetto threw his bundle out the window. To the bed
he crept and tugged the blanket. Do not pull! the ghoul’s wife said.

            You’ve left me in the cold.    Not I, the ghoul complained. I’m bare.
Where is the blanket? On the floor? He touched a face down there.
             A thief! A thief ! he cried. Bring candles! Off Corvetto sped.
He jumped onto the tapestries and with his bundle fled 
back to the palace where his sovereign showered him with gold.  
The vexation of the courtiers this time cannot be told.

             Well then, they said, we’ll put upon him one more fearsome act,
and surely he won’t pass this test and still emerge intact.
Oh King, they urged, the palace of the ghoul, you won’t believe,
has rooms and courtyards greater than a mortal can conceive.
Nature bows before it, and the art surpasses grace. 
Just think how happy you would be if you had such a place.

The king had such a greedy brain. His mind was quickly stirred.
He wanted it. Corvetto, what I ask might be absurd.
I crave the palace of the ghoul. Can you get it for me?
I can and, sire, I will obtain it. Just you wait and see.
Corvetto knew the courtiers were playing with his life,
but off he went. Once there he met the ghoul’s exhausted wife.

The day before she’d born a child. There was to be a feast.
The ghoul was off inviting all his friends. Now, at the least,
you need some help, Corvetto told her, and my strength is good.
              Oh, thanks, she sighed, I need someone to chop four blocks of wood.
He took the axe and saying, Might as well just make it five,
he struck her on the neck, a blow that she did not survive.  

Now speedily Corvetto dug a deep pit at the gate.
He covered it with brush and then he hid himself to wait,
and when he saw the ghoul approach he cried, Long live my lord!
The ghoul, enraged, not thinking, rushed at him with flailing sword
and tumbled in the pit. Corvetto stoned him on the head
until in time he was quite sure the evil ghoul was dead.

Corvetto locked the door and took the key back home again.
At last the king now recognized the evil-plotting men. 
            They tried to have you killed, he said, and did it for the sport.
Their names are now abhorrent and they’re banished from the court. 
And you, my son, will wed the princess and receive the crown.
And should it slip my memory, I’ve written it all down.

What happened to the courtiers is really hard to say.
Consumed with envy, blind with rage, they left the court that day.
The crowbars which they’d used, supposed to wreck Corvetto’s path,
instead had smoothed the road for him. They gibbered in their wrath. 
             Good fortune favored him, not us, they managed to remark
as they tucked up all their finery and walked off in the dark.

Copyright © 2019 Laura J. Bobrow. All rights reserved