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Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Tale of Tales Day Five

 a poetic rendition of

                                                Day 5, Tale 5 

The Twins

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 would enter the palace no more.

Some time passed. A king was out hunting one day
when one of the falcons he’d trained soared away
and flew in through a window. He got off his horse
and knocked at the door. No one answered, of course,
so by means of a ladder he entered, and there
he saw Talia. It seemed that she slept in her chair.
When his calls and his cries did not waken her, he
overcome by her beauty, took her carefully

to a bed. He made love to her. After he’d gone
he forgot about Talia. And time drifted on.
Nine months later two beautiful twins were her prize,
though Talia, unconscious, did not realize
what had happened. Two fairies arrived in a swirl
to take care of the children, a boy and a girl.
The twins sucked her breasts, but once while they were fed
one mistakenly sucked at her finger instead.

The flax was dislodged. Talia woke as from sleep
enthralled to find two gorgeous babes, hers to keep.
The fairies who tended them never were seen.
They were served in a manner befitting a queen. 
The king went out hunting again. To his mind
came the thought of the palace. He went there to find
her awake and with twins. He named them with joy,
choosing Moon for his daughter and Sun for the boy.

He promised that he would return in a week
then went back to his palace. The queen heard him speak
of nothing but Talia. Her jealousy grew
as he called out their names. She thought, What shall I do?
He cries Talia, all day, as if in a swoon.
At night he cries, Talia, and Sun, and then Moon.
The queen called a courtier. Reveal now to me
who this Talia and Sun and Moon might be.

If you tell me, I’ll shower you with treasures untold.
If you don’t, you’ll be killed, and your bones will grow cold.
He was frightened and greedy, so he told it all.
At once she dispatched him to Talia’s to call
for the children to come by request of the king.
Talia complied. She did not guess a thing.
The queen, once she had them, decreed they be slain
and served up for supper. The cook, though, in pain

at the thought of two children deprived thus of life
gave them into the care of his dutiful wife
and prepared two young lambs in their place. On his plate
the king found delectable food, which he ate.
He declared, This by far is the best I’ve been served.
The queen said, You’re eating but what you deserved.
You are eating your own. And the king snapped, I know.
You brought nothing to me when you came years ago. 

The queen, not content with the vengeance she’d wrought,
this time sent for Talia whose presence was sought
by the king. Talia smiled and made haste to depart
to hold once again her two jewels to her heart.
She was met by the queen whose face burned bright red.
So you are the one who has so turned his head!
He will find only ashes in place of desire.
She ordered that Talia be thrown in the fire.

Give me leave, Talia begged, to remove all my clothes.
Well that is no matter to me, I suppose,
said the queen, not from pity but so she good gain
all the fine golden garments which then would remain.
With each piece she removed Talia uttered a shout.
Her shrieks could be heard in the palace about.
And as they were dragging her off to the grate
the king hastened in and commanded them, Wait!

He demanded to know the whole story at length.
When he learned of the fate of the twins all his strength
seemed to drain from him. Murder! How could I have not
known the taste of the blood of the twins I’d begot!
As for you, wife, I’m going to send you to hell.
She was burned in the fire, and the courtier as well.
Now send me the cook who the same fate shall meet.
But the cook, when he came, threw himself at his feet.

To the king he said, Sire, I’d be proud to be burned
with a queen if such honor I really had earned,
if such were the manner in which I’d behaved.
Instead give me thanks that your twins have been saved.
What is this? Am I dreaming? If that is the case
you’ll be part of my court in a most cherished place.
Then the cook’s wife came in with the children in tow.
He kissed them and hugged them. It really is so.

He took Talia for wife. And he gave a reward
to the cook who from then on was known as My Lord.
And they all lived in harmony, which goes to prove
that even in sleep one’s good luck can improve.