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Day One
Day Two
Pentamerone Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

                                            SAPIA LICCARDA
                                                    Day 3, Tale 4 
                                    retold in rhyme 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.

Sapia, the youngest would not.
She scolded her sisters a lot.
When the boys came to call
she took flight down the hall
where she hid herself under a cot.

Her suiter, young Tore, was peeved.
While his brothers gained all, he believed,
he was left in the dark
with no wood for his spark.
She’ll be sorry she tricked me, he grieved.

Soon enough nature looked on and smiled.
The two older girls were with child.
Sapia said with a shout,
Wait ‘til Papa finds out!
How could you have been so beguiled!

Meanwhile Tore had asked for their aid.
He felt Sapia ought to be paid
for her insults that day
when she slithered away
and left him with hopes disarrayed.

They agreed. They urged, Sapia, please. 
Done is done. Now we ask on our knees.
Have compassion, they said.
For our babes we crave bread
which must come from the king’s bakeries.

I will dress as a beggar, she thought.
Then the bread can be easily brought. 
With a musty old sack,
a flax comb on her back,
Sapia left to obtain what they sought.

But there Tore was waiting, as planned.
Once more that sly youth was unmanned,
for he grabbed, by mistake,
the sharp nails of the rake,
causing serious wounds to his hand.

His hunger for Sapia grew.
With her sisters he planned something new.
How we crave the king’s pears!
Sapia, yield to our prayers.
There is no one to fetch them but you!

In the pear tree, though, Sapia could see
not the gardener, but Tore. Said she,
Very well. There you’ll stay!
pulled the ladder away
and left him bereft in the tree.

The sisters were soon brought to bed
of two beautiful boys! But they said,
If Papa finds out
We’ll be ruined, no doubt.
Let them live with their fathers instead.

Now in each father’s bed a son lay.
There was joy in the palace that day.
Tore’s bed got a stone
which he struck, unbeknown,
and a lump on the head was his pay.

Shortly after, Marcone came back.
Those rings were not gray. They were black!
You’ve been naughty. Confess!
Tell the truth and no less,
said Marcone, and gave them a smack.

He would have beleaguered them sore,
but the king’s sons appeared at the door.
We’re the culprits, they said,
And we wish to be wed.
You have grandsons to love, what is more.

I’m in luck, said Marcone. All right.
The weddings will take place this night.
You may have them, all three.
Sapia said, Woe is me.
Tore hates me. He’ll act out of spite.

She fashioned of sugar and paste
a doll just like her, which she placed
in the bed that they’d share. 
Then she hid in despair
when she heard Tore enter in haste.

Sure enough he was seething with rage.
You’ve insulted me. Here is your wage.
Then he stabbed with a knife
what he thought was his wife.
Even that did not serve to assuage

Tore’s anger. This blade did the feat
I will taste of her blood. Oh! It’s sweet!
What on earth did I do?
Sapia, dear little you,
It’s in heaven that we two shall meet.

It was bile that beclouded my brain.
There’s no use, without you, to remain.
Little dagger, lie still.
I’m the next you will kill.
Just in time Sapia grabbed him. Refrain!

Here I am. I’m alive and I’m well.
Though I tormented you for a spell,
I needed to know
how far true love would go.
I am yours. You are my citadel.

They snuggled together, content.
You remained, Tore said, innocent
while your sisters made bold.
Your love is like gold.
May our pleasures be always well-spent.

Copyright © 2019 Laura J. Bobrow. All rights reserved.