Day 5, Tale #2 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
Gianni and Lisi, although they were kin
were as different as brothers could be.
Gianni was rich and a miser at heart.
Would he lend you a farthing? Not he.
Lisi was poor and with no help at home
was compelled to go forth in his need.
and accordingly left to go wander the world
to seek somewhere that he might succeed.
He came to an inn on a cold, blustery night.
His rags left him chilled to the bone.
Twelve youths were assembled around a log fire.
“Come join us” they said. “You’re alone
and you’re numb with the cold.” “That is true,”
Lisi said as he snuggled up close to the flames.
They started to talk in a genial way
but no mention was made of their names.
“And what do you think of this weather?” asked one,
a surly man at his right hand.
“Each month has its purpose,” young Lisi replied,
“although mankind might not understand.