Day 3, Tale # 4 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
A merchant, Marcone by name
lived a life that was free of all blame.
He had grown daughters, three,
all as fair as can be,
although two of them brought him to shame.
“My daughters, I’m going away.
I’ll be gone for ten months and a day.
You must put on these rings.
If you do naughty things
their stones will turn cloudy and gray.
No flirting at windows, you hear?
Guard your virtue and hold it most dear.”
They smiled. “Papa, we
will be good. You will see.”
They had other intentions, I fear.
As soon as he said his good-byes
two daughters, with amorous eyes,
made plans for a fling
with three sons of the king
who eagerly spoke their replies.