21 April 2010

Lo cunto de li cunti

I wonder. Have you ever heard this (once upon a time notorious) tale? The original tale is here retold by gem.

The tale of tales

This is a tale of all tales. At its heart lies a black slave who wanted to wear a crown on her head. This happened nine times nine centuries ago, in a kingdom that flourished exactly where, ages and ages later, the Roman Empire would come to be.
In this kingdom lived a melancholy princess who was never seen laughing, until one day, when she saw an old woman’s rage and found it funny. And the woman grew angrier yet and she thus proclaimed: "May you never have the least little bit of a husband, unless you take the Prince of Round-Field."
The Prince of Round-Field was Prince Taddeo from a distant land called Round-Field, who was rumored to lie there in enchanted sleep. It was told that the enchantment would be broken by a woman who would fill a whole pitcher, in three days, with her tears. Upon learning this, the princess who laughed once took leave from her father and went on her way. It took her seven laughless years (and a little help from the fairies) to find Round-Field, and once there, she began weeping into the pitcher at once.
For two days, she wept beside the tomb of Taddeo, and all the while a black slave girl was watching her from afar. At the end of the second day of weeping into the pitcher, the princess fell asleep. The pitcher was now almost full. The black slave girl silently took the pitcher, weepie-weeped into it
and the pitcher was filled to the brim. The enchantment was broken, and Taddeo embraced the black slave girl, and he carried her to his palace, and he took her for his wife. The princess who laughed once was in tearless despair. She took up residence opposite the palace, staring at the couple and longing, longing for the prince.
At the palace, life went on. The slave-princess became pregnant with a child. And so it happened that one day she called Taddeo and demanded: “Bid some storytellers come and tell me stories.” The order was immediately carried out and ten storytellers, all women, were brought before the slave-princess and Taddeo. These were: the bandy-legged Cecca, the wen-necked Meneca, the long-nosed Tolla, the humpbacked Popa, the bearded Antonella, the dumpy Ciulla, the blear-eyed Paola, the bald-headed Civonmetella, the square-shouldered Jacova and the bushy-haired princess who laughed once. Cecca told the first story, and the bushy-haired princess told this last story.

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