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Main > Italy folktales > Fairy tale "The Serpent"

The Serpent

Then, when the Prince was flying away in the shape of a dove, he broke a pane in the window to escape, and hurt his head so severely that he was given over by the doctors.

Grannonia, who thus heard her own onions spoken of, asked if there was any cure for this injury. The fox replied that there was none other than by anointing his wounds with the blood of those very birds that had been telling the story. When Grannonia heard this, she fell down on her knees to the fox, entreating him to catch those birds for her, that she might get their blood; adding that, like honest comrades, they would share the gain. "Fair and softly," said the fox; "let us wait till night, and when the birds are gone to bed, trust me to climb the tree and capture them, one after the other."

So they waited till Day was gone, and Earth had spread out her great black board to catch the wax that might drop from the tapers of Night. Then the fox, as soon as he saw all the birds fast asleep on the branches, stole up quite softly, and one after another, throttled all the linnets, larks, tomtits, blackbirds, woodpeckers, thrushes, jays, fly-catchers, little owls, goldfinches, bullfinches, chaffinches, and redbreasts that were on the trees. And when he had killed them all they put the blood in a little bottle, which the fox carried with him, to refresh himself on the road.

Grannonia was so overjoyed that she hardly touched the ground; but the fox said to her, "What fine joy in a dream is this, my daughter! You have done nothing, unless you mix my blood also with that of the birds"; and so saying he set off to run away. Grannonia, who saw all her hopes likely to be destroyed, had recourse to woman's art—flattery; and she said to him, "Gossip fox, there would be some reason for your saving your hide if I were not under so many obligations to you, and if there were no other foxes in the world. But you know how much I owe you, and that there is no scarcity of the likes of you on these plains. Rely on my good faith.

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