Cinderella #274 The Bejeweled Boot (Calvino)
|Once again, a bejeweled shoe|
plays a critical role...
Once upon a time, in Palermo, Italy, "the son of a merchant became an orphan at an early age, along with his sister, who was the apple of her brother's eye." As brother and sister grew and became educated, he gained notoriety as a scribe. In fact, "the King of Spain, who was best friends with the King of Portugal, noticed the marvelous handwriting of his friends' secretary. Then he he asked his friend if he might have the secretary for himself. The King of Portugal, for oath of friendship, had no choice but to agree. So he sent the Don Guiseppe to Spain, forcing him to leave his sister behind. He told her that she would reside "with our maidservant", and that, "So we won't feel so far apart . let's have our portraits painted. I'll take yours with me, and you'll keep mine here with you." And that's exactly what they did. But when the brother got to the Spanish court, and the other courtiers saw that he was as handsome as his own script, they were jealous. So one night, when Don Guiseppe took out the portrait of his sister, gazed upon it and kissed it, the squire "glanced over...and snorted,'What? This woman? I have had dealings with the same." Horrified, Don Guiseppe demanded proof. Then the king stepped in saying, "If it is true, Squire, that you have had to do with Don Guiseppe's sister, then you have one month to bring in proof of it." If he didn't, he would be beheaded. But how could he gain proof of a lie? As the month wore on, he began to despair. One day, as he bemoaned his fate, "an old woman approached him, saying,'Pleae give me something, kind sir, I'm starving." And the squire responded by saying, "Off with you, cursed hag!" But when she promised to help him gain his desire, he relented. Then they made a plan. The squire showed her the house where the sister lived, and later that night, "The old woman leaned against the door shivering with cold and weeping pitifully." Of course, the kind sister let her in, and gave her a place before the fire. But the sly old thing "took in everything, noting in which room the mistress slept". After the young lady was asleep, the old granny snuck quietly into that chamber. then she "lifted the covers, and gazed at the maiden from head to foot." That's when she noticed "three little hairs that were like three golden threads" protruding from the girl's shoulder. So she clipped them off, wrapped them in her hankie, and fled. She gave those hairs to the squire, and "the next day the squire sailed back to Spain". The result was that Don Guiseppe was thrown in jail, kept on a diet of "one slice of bread and one glass of water daily". However Don Guiseppe befriended the jailer, and beseeched him to get a letter to his sister. The man agreed, and "took the letter and posted it". When the maiden got the letter, she was aghast. Then she "sold all their possessions and property and with the proceeds, bought as many fine jewels as she could." These she took to "a skillful goldsmith, and said,'Make me a beautiful boot set with all my jewels." Then she got herself a fine gown of black silk, and sailed for Spain. She got to court just as her brother was being led to the gallows. She ran forward shouting, "Have mercy, Your Majesty, have mercy!" So the king stopped the executioner's hand. That is when she told him that his royal squire, "after enjoying my person, stole my boot that formed a pair with this one". The king "was dumbfounded" and looked at the squire. And "the squire fell into the trap. He replied, 'Majesty, I never saw this lady before." And the lady cried, "Be careful what you say!" That is when she revealed herself as the sister of Don Guiseppe...and showed that the squire was a liar. So the king shouted, "Off with his head!" and it was chopped off. Then "the king returned to the palace with the brother and the sister and, seeing how beautiful and virtuous she was, he asked her to marry him.
THEY WERE AS HAPPY AS HAPPY COULD BE, WHILE HERE WE SIT, PICKING OUR TEETH."
Notes: I love the jeweled boot...this is such an interesting thing, that she had one very special boot made, and then accused the squire of theft... Also the cutting of the hairs. Wow. Girl power? Kind of. Let's keep it legal, ladies.