THE THREE FAIRIES
Day 3, Tale #10 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
The widow Caradonia was consumed by jealousy.
Her daughter, young Grannizia, was as ugly as could be
with ratty hair and bumpy nose and breasts like saddle bags
and fish-like mouth. In short she was the gruesomest of hags.
Caradonia married. Her new husband brought with him
a girl whose features were a dream, like those of cherubim,
a precious gem, Cicella. When compared to her own spawn
the one was smooth as velvet and the other coarsest lawn.
Caradonia couldn’t stand it. Her daughter loafed around
while Cicella was compelled to work, to scrub and scrape and pound.
Cicella wore the meanest clothes. Grannizia wore the best.
Grannizia ate the finest foods. Cicella got the rest.
Cicella was a pleasant child and bore it all with grace.
One day she went to dump the trash. In an enchanted place
her basket fell into a pit. She could not get it out.
A horrid ogre stood below with pustules on his snout.