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by Giambattista Basile

Selected and edited by E. F. Strange

Illustrated by Warwick Goble

This Italian collection of folk-tales now known as Il Pentamerone was first published at Naples, and in a Neapolitan dialect that kept it out of northern European tradition for two centuries, by Giambattista Basile, Conte di Torrone, who is believed to have collected them chiefly in Crete and Venice, and to have died in the 1630s. Originally it was called Lo Cunti de li Cunto (The Story of Stories, 1634). Published posthumously, it became known as the Pentamerone by 1674 and eventually influenced the form of fairytales in Europe. The frame-story is of a group of people passing time by sharing stories, as in the Decameron and other European collections of tales. The Pentamerone tells fifty tales over five nights.

The following illustrated version only contains 32 of the tales, follows the translation by John Edward Taylor published in 1847, and was published by Macmillan and Co., London 1911. The Pentamerone, despite being an influential classic, seems to have been largely ignored by translators and publishers, and no public domain full text is yet available online.

This text was diligently digitised by storyteller Batsy Bybell, Idaho, USA.


Please note, the beautiful illustrations on many of these pages are rather large and slow to load. I'll shortly be offering smaller thumbnails, for faster viewing, with a choice of opening the larger pictures only when wanted.
  1. How the Tales came to be told
  2. The Myrtle
  3. Peruonto
  4. Vardiello
  5. The Flea
  6. Cenerentola
  7. The Merchant
  8. Goat-Face
  9. The Enchanted Doe
  10. Parsley
  11. The Three Sisters
  12. Violet
  13. Pippo
  14. The Serpent
  15. The She-Bear
  16. The Dove
  17. Cannetella
  18. Corvetto
  19. The Booby
  20. The Stone in the Cock's Head
  21. The Three Enchanted Princes
  22. The Dragon
  23. The Two Cakes
  24. The Seven Doves
  25. The Raven
  26. The Months
  27. Pintosmalto
  28. The Golden Root
  29. Sun, Moon, and Talia
  30. Nennillo and Nennella
  31. The Three Citrons
  32. Conclusion

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