Another creepy fairy tale! This is my take on Biancabella and the Snake by Giovanni Francesco Straparola. Giovanni (1480 – 1557) was an Italian fairy tale collector from Caravaggio. Funny tidbit about him- Straparola was most likely not his real last name, as it translates to “babbler”.
So the story goes like this (snarky summary). A woman gets pregnant after a snake crawls in her womb (ahem… so many jokes, so little time). She gives birth to a girl with a snake wrapped around her neck. Snake eventually slithers off into the garden. They name the girl Biancabella. As she becomes a young woman, the snake- named Samaritana speaks to the her and orders her to follow the snake’s instructions carefully to ensure her happiness in life. Blah blah blah… Biancabella is the most beautiful girl in all the lands and ends up marrying the King of Naples. There’s a jealous stepmother, eye-gouging, hands are cut off, bodies in a furnace… all the usual happy jolly fairy tale stuff- including a very strange ending where the main character dies after finally getting the vengeance she so deserved.
You can read the full story here: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/armlessmaiden/stories/biancabella.html