These tales are translated from a variety of authors.
The translator has been chiefly led to the task by the hope of composing an entertaining volume out of materials not generally accessible. The works in which many of them are found, are by no means common, and the indelicacy with which almost all collections of Italian tales are polluted, deservedly excludes them from general perusal. Such care has, however, been employed in the following selection, and such liberties taken with the originals, when they appeared objectionable on this account, that it is hoped this little book will escape the censure too justly cast upon Italian works of humour, in general—a censure which falls heavily upon many of the otherwise admirable tales of Boccaccio. While, however, such trifling alterations have been made as appeared necessary, these tales may still justly be considered as fair specimens of the Italian Novella, and like the celebrated collection already alluded to, furnish us with a very lively idea of the early manners of the Italians.
Those tales, from which our great dramatist borrowed parts of his plots, and some of his incidents, have a double interest, both from their own nature, and as they illustrate the process by which his genius, "by happy alchemy of mind," turned all the materials which fell in his way to gold. Two or three of this kind have been purposely selected.
THE TEACHER TAUGHT.
THE UNEXPECTED REPLY.
WHO AM I? THE DEAD RIDER.
THE SKILFUL PHYSICIAN
THE POMEGRANATE SEED
THE FATAL MISTAKE
THE DEAD ALIVE
THE FALSE CHAMPION
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
THERE IS A SKELETON IN EVERY HOUSE.
THE FRIAR ENTRAPPED ANTONIO AND VERONICA.
THE SLEEPING DRAUGHT THE COUNTERPARTS