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Word Count: 556
King Leontes of Sicilia begs his childhood friend King Polixenes of Bohemia to extend his visit to Sicilia Polixenes protests that he has been away from his kingdom for nine months but after Leontess pregnant wife Hermione pleads with him he relents and agrees to stay a little longer Leontes meanwhile has become possessed with jealousy--convinced that Polixenes and Hermione are lovers he orders his loyal retainer Camillo to poison the Bohemian king Instead Camillo warns Polixenes of what is afoot and the two men flee Sicilia immediately Furious at their escape Leontes now publicly accuses his wife of infidelity and declares that the child she is bearing must be illegitimate He throws her in prison over the protests of his nobles and sends to the Oracle of Delphi for what he is sure will be confirmation of his suspicions Meanwhile the queen gives birth to a girl and her loyal friend Paulina brings the baby to the king in the hopes that the sight of the child will soften his heart He only grows angrier however and orders Paulinas husband Lord Antigonus to take the child and abandon it in some desolate place While Antigonus is gone the answer comes from Delphi--Hermione and Polixenes are innocent and Leontes will have no heir until his lost daughter is found As this news is revealed word comes that Leontess son Mamillius has died of a wasting sickness brought on by the accusations against his mother Hermione meanwhile falls in a swoon and is carried away by Paulina who subsequently reports the queens death to her heartbroken and repentant husband Antigonus meanwhile abandons the baby on the Bohemian coast reporting that Hermione appeared to him in a dream and bade him name the girl Perdita and leave gold and other tokens on her person Shortly thereafter Antigonus is killed by a bear and Perdita is raised by a kindly Shepherd Sixteen years pass and the son of
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