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Main > Italy folktales > Fairy tale "The Three Citrons"

The Three Citrons

" So saying, after the usual ceremonies, he departed.

Now a black slave, who was sent by her mistress with a pitcher to fetch water, came to the well, and seeing by chance the reflection of the fairy in the water, she thought it was herself, and exclaimed in amazement, "Poor Lucia, what do I see? Me so pretty and fair, and mistress send me here. No, me will no longer bear." So saying she broke the pitcher and returned home; and when her mistress asked her, "Why have you done this mischief?" she replied, "Me go to the well alone, pitcher break upon a stone." Her mistress swallowed this idle story, and the next day she gave her a pretty little cask, telling her to go and fill it with water. So the slave returned to the fountain, and seeing again the beautiful image reflected in the water, she said with a deep sigh, "Me no ugly slave, me no broad-foot goose, but pretty and fine as mistress mine, and me not go to the fountain!" So saying, smash again! she broke the cask into seventy pieces, and returned grumbling home, and said to her mistress, "Ass come past, tub fell down at the well, and all was broken in pieces." The poor mistress, on hearing this, could contain herself no longer, and seizing a broomstick she beat the slave so soundly that she felt it for many days; then giving her a leather bag, she said, "Run, break your neck, you wretched slave, you grasshopper-legs, you black beetle! Run and fetch me this bag full of water, or else I'll hang you like a dog, and give you a good thrashing."

Away ran the slave heels over head, for she had seen the flash and dreaded the thunder; and while she was filling the leather bag, she turned to look again at the beautiful image, and said, "Me fool to fetch water! better live by one's wits; such a pretty girl indeed to serve a bad mistress!" So saying, she took a large pin which she wore in her hair, and began to pick holes in the leather bag, which looked like an open place in a garden with the rose of a watering-pot making a hundred little fountains.

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