Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The man hung out in billiards parlors challenging people to a match.

One day he challenged a stranger, and the stranger asked what stake he wanted to play for.

The billiard player said if he won he wanted to marry the guy's daughter.

The stranger said fine. The billiard player won.

When the billiard player and the daughter met, they instantly fell in love with each other, eliminating problems of consent between them.

However, the consent of the father, who was the king of the Sun, was a problem. He had tried to prevent the meeting at all. He did let them marry, but he planned to kill the groom at midnight after the wedding.

The daughter/bride knew the murder plan. She told her husband, and they took off on the king of the Sun's two best horses. The king sent his soldiers on horses after them.

This is a tale "The Billiard Player" from "Italian Folktales," selected and retold by Italo Calvino, translated into English by George Martin.

The fact that the father is the king of the Sun, as opposed to be the king of some country, doesn't seem to make any difference in the story. Maybe Italy has so much sun that it doesn't seem like the king of the Sun would be someone unusual or far off. He's just another folktale powerful man trying to stop love.

The bride and groom are running away, and when the king's soldiers on horses ar about to cathc up with them, the woman throws down her comb and it turns into a forest.

The soldiers find two stupid acting peasants in the forest digging up stumps. The soldiers