THE THREE ENCHANTED PRINCES
Day 4, Tale # 3 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
The Queen of Lovely Meadow bore three sons. Throughout the realm there were no finer ones. But she displeased a sorceress who, in spite, transformed them into animals one night. “One will become a falcon, one a stag, and one will be a dolphin,” sneered the hag. And so they were. To add to their dismay, they’d planned to wed three princesses next day. They were the daughters of a nearby king, three perfect jewels, all grace embodying. But when their father saw what had occurred, despite his former promise he demurred. “I simply cannot find it in my heart to marry them to animals. Depart!” The princes, though, were not to be denied. The falcon called the king’s birds to his side.
Each one of them was speedily deployed to see that every blossom was destroyed. The stag called all the animals in haste and said, “Let all the fields be laid to waste.”