Day 3, Tale #3 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
There once was born a lovely maid.
The king, her father, unafraid
to tempt the fates, threw wide the gates
and called in gypsies, whom he paid.
“Necromancers, come to me
and tell me what her life will be.
Will Renza thrive? Will she survive
to reach a ripe maturity?”
They read her lines. The sticks were thrown.
Then they pronounced with curse and groan,
“Her days will end, the signs portend.
The cause of death will be a bone.”
“Not so! I’ll build a high retreat
where she shall live her life complete.
Twelve maids will care for Renza there
and feed her only boneless meat.”