ROSELLA
Day 3, Tale #9 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow




The sultan was ill, he was mortally ill,
and the doctors could not solve his case.
When he kept on insisting they wound up suggesting
a cure that could never take place.

They said he must bathe, he must thoroughly bathe
in the blood of a prince young and strong.
So the sultan sent sailors to kidnap a prince
who was boating. They brought him along.

His name was Paoluccio, the princely Paoluccio.
The doctors were caught in a bind.
“Sire, using his blood in his now seething state
will do more harm than good, you will find.

You must first make him happy, contented and happy.
Let him live in your gardens for now.
Your daughter, Rosella, has magical powers.  
She will charm him to health.  She knows how."