THE THREE CITRONS
Day 5, Tale #9 of Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone”
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
The king had built all of his hopes and his dreams on his son who was born to be stubborn, it seems. He wanted the prince to be wed. “Choose a fair nubile princess, then marry and give me an heir.” He longed to be “grandsire.” The prince was averse. When the talk turned to marriage he shuddered, and worse, he would stare out the window as if he would say, “I wish I were hundreds of kingdoms away.” His father, foreseeing his race at an end, was first sad and then angry. No pleading could bend the boy’s will. He just mulishly dug in his heels. “I will never get married, despite what he feels.” But there can be one instant, which sometime appears to make more of a change than in one hundred years. Though one has not chosen, “take this road or that,” it happens. The prince listened idly to chat when his moment occurred, and it altered his life. While cutting a newly made cheese with a knife the blade nicked his finger. His blood on the rind formed a mixture of colors which dazzled his mind.