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  • The Cock's Stone
    Page 1

    THERE was once in the city of Black-Grotto a certain man named Minecco, who was so miserably poor that his whole property consisted of a little cock which he had reared upon bread-crumbs. But one morning, being pinched with hunger, he took it into his head to sell the cock. Taking it to the market, he there met two rascally magicians, with whom he made a bargain, selling it to them for half-a-crown. So they told him to take it to their house and they would count him out the money. Then the magicians went their way, and Minecco, following them, overheard them whispering together and saying, "Who would have told us that we should meet with such a piece of good luck, Jennaroné? This cock will make our fortune to a certainty by the stone which, you know, he has in his pate ; we will quickly have it set in a ring, and then we shall have everything we can ask for."

    "Be quiet, Iacovuchio," answered Jennaroné, "I see myself rich and can hardly believe it ; and I am longing to twist the cock's neck, and give a kick in the face of beggary ; for in this world virtue without money goes for nothing, and a man is judged of by his coat."

    When Minecco, who had travelled about in the world and eaten bread from more than one oven, heard this talk, he turned on his heel and scampered off. And running home he twisted the cock's neck, and opening its head found the stone, which he had instantly set in a brass ring. Then, to make a trial of its virtue, he said, "I wish to become a youth eighteen years old."

    Hardly had he uttered the words when his blood began to flow more quickly, his nerves became stronger, his limbs firmer, his flesh fresher, his eyes more fiery ; his silver hairs were turned to gold ; into his empty mouth came back all his teeth ; his beard, which had become hard and stubbly, grew fine and soft again. In short, he was changed to a most beautiful youth.

    Then he said, "I wish for a splendid palace, and to marry the King's daughter." And lo! there instantly appeared a palace of wonderful magnificence. In the great halls, supported by carved pillars, silver glittered everywhere ; he trod upon gold ; beautiful pictures drew his eye ; jewels dazzled him. Servants swarmed like ants about the place ; and the horses and carriages were not to be counted. Indeed there was such a display of riches that when the King came to see it he was amazed ; and willingly gave his daughter Natalizia in marriage to Minecco.

    Page 2 >

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    Macdonell, Anne. The Italian Fairy Book. London: T. Fisher Unwin LTD., 1911. 62-69

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