NENNILLO AND NENNELLA
Day 5, Tale #8 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in rhyme by Laura J. Bobrow
read by Laura J. Bobrow
A good man had a wife and, being sickly for a spell,
she died and left two children and a house to tend as well.
The girl and boy were young and it was more than he could do.
He said, “My dears, I’ll bring another mother home for you.”
Nennillo and Nennella were as sweet as they could be,
but the cruel woman he brought home disliked them instantly.
“Have you brought me here to care for two such squalling brats as these?
I agreed to be your wife and not your servant, if you please.
Get them out or I will leave you!” And the humble man agreed.
He prepared a basket filled with food and everything they’d need.
Next day he took them to the woods. “Stay here and eat and play.
I have left a trail of ashes. Follow them to find your way.”
He kissed them and he left them. For a while it was a lark,
but they began to worry as the woods were growing dark
so they walked the trail of ashes on their tiny little feet
and they got back home by sundown. They were just in time to eat.