THE WISE WOMAN
Day 5, Tale #6 of Giambattista Basile’s "Il Pentamerone"
retold in narrative verse by Laura J. Bobrow
A king had a son,
an obdurate one
who resisted all efforts to teach him.
“You can’t become king
till you've learned everything,"
roared the king. But no scolding could reach him.
The king said, “Well, I
know a baroness nearby
whose daughter has brains. If it suit her
I’ll send him to her
and the girl can transfer
all she knows. She will be my son’s tutor."
And so he was sent.
Still he would not repent.
To her kind words he just would not listen.
So she lifted her hand.
"Prince, you think you're too grand!"
And she hit him. It made his eyes glisten.
The blow did the trick,
and his learning was quick
but her fingers had left an impression
not just on his face
but in some deeper place.
And revenge now became his obsession.