PRIDE PUNISHED
Day 4, Tale #10 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
  retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow



A haughty princess mocked her father’s wish for her to wed.
“Who in this world is worthy of me, father dear?” she said.
     Her beauty was immense.  Her splendor could not be denied.
But equally as a great was her enormous dose of pride.

Brave men, good men, great men who asked were treated with disdain.
The more they pled their cause it seemed the less they had to gain.
One of these men, a nearby king, tried harder than the rest.
She looked upon him with contempt although he did his best.

At last, convinced she would not yield, he swore she would repent.
He took his goods and followers.  “Goodbye,” he sneered, and went.
He let his beard grow long.  He smeared some make-up on his face,
then as a peasant at her father’s door, he sought a place.

He was appointed gardener and he worked attentively.
One day he placed beneath her window where she’d surely see
a splendid robe, trimmed all in gold and heavily embossed.
She wanted it and sent her maids to ask what it might cost.

“It’s not for sale, but tell your princess this:  ‘The robe is yours
if I may spend one night within your waiting rooms, indoors.’”
“What do I have to lose?” she thought.  And so his fish was caught.
The princess let him in although she really hadn’t ought.