Italy, Giovanni Francesco Straparola.
After this the nurse thought of nothing else than how she might best find a way for Doralice out of this strait, planning now this and now that, but finding no method which gained her entire approval. She would fain have had Doralice take to flight and put long distance betwixt her and her father, but she feared the craft of Tebaldo, and lest the girl should fall into his hands after her flight, feeling certain that in such event he would put her to death. So while the faithful nurse was thus taking counsel with herself, she suddenly hit upon a fresh scheme, which was what I will now tell you. In the chamber of the dead lady there was a fair cassone, or clothes-chest, magnificently carved, in which Doralice kept her richest dresses and her most precious jewels, and this wardrobe the nurse alone could open. So she removed from it by stealth all the robes and the ornaments that were therein, and bestowed them elsewhere, placing in it a good store of a certain liquor which had such great virtue, that whosoever took a spoonful of it, or even less, could live for a long time without further nourishment. Then, having called Doralice, she shut her therein, and bade her remain in hiding until such time as God should send her better fortune, and her father be delivered from the bestial mood which had come upon him. The maiden, obedient to the good old womans command, did all that was told her; and the father, still set upon his accursed design, and making no effort to restrain his unnatural lust, demanded every day what had become of his daughter; and, neither finding any trace of her, or knowing aught where she could be, his rage became so terrible that he threatened to have her killed as soon as he should find her. Early one morning it chanced that Tebaldo went into the room where the chest was, and as soon as his eye fell upon it, he felt, from the associations connected with it, that he could not any longer endure the sight of it, so he gave orders that it should straightway be taken out and placed elsewhere and sold, so that its presence might not bee an offence to him. The servants were prompt to obey their masters command, and, having taken the thing on their shoulders, they bore it away to the marketplace. It chanced that there was at that time in the city a rich dealer from Genoa, who, as soon as he caught sight of the sumptuously carved cassone, admired it greatly, and settled with himself that he would not let it go from him, however much he might have to pay for it. So, having accosted the servant who was charged with the sale of it, and learnt the price demanded, he bought it forthwith, and gave orders to a porter to carry it away and place it on board his ship.
After the good princess had breathed her last and had been honorably buried, Tebaldo indulged in the thought of wedding again, but he bore well in mind the promise he had made to his wife, and was firmly resolved to keep her saying. However, the report that Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, was seeking another mate soon got noised abroad, and came to the ears of many maidens who, in worth and in estate, were no whit his inferiors; but Tebaldo, whose first care was to fulfil the wishes of his wife who was dead, made it a condition that any damsel who might be offered to him in marriage should first try on her finger his wifes ring, to see whether it fitted, and not having found one who fulfilled this condition -- the ring being always found too big for this and too small for that -- he was forced to dismiss them all without further parley. Now it happened one day that the daughter of Tebaldo, whose name was Doralice, sat at table with her father; and she, having espied her mothers ring lying on the board, slipped it on her finger and cried out, "See my father, how well my mothers ring fits me!" And the prince, when he saw what she had done, assented. But not long after this the soul of Tebaldo was assailed by a strange and diabolical temptation to take to wife his daughter Doralice, and for many days he lived tossed about between yea and nay. At last, overcome by the strength of this devilish intent, and fired by the beauty of the maiden, he one day called her to him and said, "Doralice, my daughter, while your mother was yet alive, but fast nearing the end of her days, she besought me never to take to wife any woman whose finger would not fit the ring she herself always wore in her lifetime, and I swore by my head that I would observe this last request of hers. Wherefore, when I felt the time was come for me to wed anew, I made trial of many maidens, but not one could I find who could wear your mothers ring, except yourself. Therefore I have decided to take you for my wife, for thus I shall satisfy my own desire without violating the promise I made to your mother." Doralice, who was as pure as she was beautiful, when she listened to the evil designs of her wicked father, was deeply troubled in her heart; but, taking heed of his vile and abominable lust, and fearing the effects of his rage, she made no answer and went out of his presence with an untroubled face. As there was no one whom she could trust so well as her old nurse, she repaired to her at once as the surest bulwark of her safety, to take counsel as to what she should do. The nurse, when she had heard the story of the execrable lust of this wicked father, spake words of comfort to Doralice, for she knew well the constancy and steadfast nature of the girl, and that she would be ready to endure any torment rather than accede to her fathers desire, and promised to aid her in keeping her virginity unsullied by such terrible disgrace.