THE DRAGON
  Day 4, Tale #5  of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow



The king was a tyrant, a merciless tyrant.
A sorceress usurped his throne.
She was well guarded, extremely well guarded.
He could not dislodge the old crone.

He consulted a statue, a soothsaying statue
who told him, “King, try as you might,
you will not regain it, you may not regain it
until she’s deprived of her sight.

The king preyed on women, on innocent women,
on any he managed to catch.
He robbed them of honor, their virginal honor.
Next day they were killed with dispatch.

He caught Porziella.  He raped Porziella,
and was ready to finish her life,
but a bird dropped a potion, a magical potion
on the arm which was holding his knife.

His arm started trembling, so hard was it trembling
he could not keep hold of the blade.
This “bird” was a fairy, a kind-hearted fairy
who had a large debt to be paid.