SUN, MOON, AND TALIA
Day 5, Tale #5 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow


A lord had a daughter, Talia by name.
He summoned the sages and wizards who came
to predict what her future was going to be.
“Alas,” they informed him, “we see misery.

Misfortune will stem from a small piece of flax.”
The lord from that moment refused to relax
till in his abode there remained not a sign
of flax or of hemp.  “Now,” he said, “she’ll be fine.”

But when she was grown, from her window she spied
an old woman spinning.  She called her inside
and handled the staff.  As she stretched out the thread
a chip became lodged in her nail.  She was dead.

When her poor, wretched father heard what had occurred
He sealed up that palace and had her interred
sitting up on a throne made of velvet.  He swore
through his tears he’d not enter the place any more.