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The Dragon

He who seeks the injury of another finds his own hurt; and he who spreads the snares of treachery and deceit often falls into them himself; as you shall hear in the story of a queen, who with her own hands constructed the trap in which she was caught by the foot.

There was one time a King of High-Shore, who practised such tyranny and cruelty that, whilst he was once gone on a visit of pleasure to a castle at a distance from the city, his royal seat was usurped by a certain sorceress. Whereupon, having consulted a wooden statue which used to give oracular responses, it answered that he would recover his dominions when the sorceress should lose her sight. But seeing that the sorceress, besides being well guarded, knew at a glance the people whom he sent to annoy her, and did dog's justice upon them, he became quite desperate, and out of spite to her he killed all the women of that place whom he could get into his hands.

Now after hundreds and hundreds had been led thither by their ill-luck, only to lose their lives, there chanced, among others, to come a maiden named Porziella, the most beautiful creature that could be seen on the whole earth, and the King could not help falling in love with her and making her his wife. But he was so cruel and spiteful to women that, after a while, he was going to kill her like the rest; but just as he was raising the dagger a bird let fall a certain root upon his arm, and he was seized with such a trembling that the weapon fell from his hand. This bird was a fairy, who, a few days before, having gone to sleep in a wood, where beneath the tent of the Shades Fear kept watch and defied the Sun's heat, a certain satyr was about to rob her when she was awakened by Porziella, and for this kindness she continually followed her steps in order to make her a return.

When the King saw this, he thought that the beauty of Porziella's face had arrested his arm and bewitched the dagger to prevent its piercing her as it had done so many others.

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