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The Decameron, Vol. II. by Giovanni Boccaccio

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Produced by Donna Holsten




Faithfully Translated

By J.M. Rigg

with illustrations by Louis Chalon




NOVEL I. - Cimon, by loving, waxes wise, wins his wife Iphigenia by
capture on the high seas, and is imprisoned at Rhodes. He is delivered by
Lysimachus; and the twain capture Cassandra and recapture Iphigenia in
the hour of their marriage. They flee with their ladies to Crete, and
having there married them, are brought back to their homes.

NOVEL II. - Gostanza loves Martuccio Gomito, and hearing that he is dead,
gives way to despair, and hies her alone aboard a boat, which is wafted
by the wind to Susa. She finds him alive in Tunis, and makes herself
known to him, who, having by his counsel gained high place in the king's
favour, marries her, and returns with her wealthy to Lipari.

NOVEL III. - Pietro Boccamazza runs away with Agnolella, and encounters a
gang of robbers: the girl takes refuge in a wood, and is guided to a
castle. Pietro is taken, but escapes out of the hands of the robbers, and
after some adventures arrives at the castle where Agnolella is, marries
her, and returns with her to Rome.

NOVEL IV. - Ricciardo Manardi is found by Messer Lizio da Valbona with
his daughter, whom he marries, and remains at peace with her father.

NOVEL V. - Guidotto da Cremona dies leaving a girl to Giacomino da Pavia.
She has two lovers in Faenza, to wit, Giannole di Severino and Minghino
di Mingole, who fight about her. She is discovered to be Giannole's
sister, and is given to Minghino to wife.

NOVEL VI. - Gianni di Procida, being found with a damsel that he loves,
and who had been given to King Frederic, is bound with her to a stake, so
to be burned. He is recognized by Ruggieri dell' Oria, is delivered, and
marries her.

NOVEL VII. - Teodoro, being enamoured of Violante, daughter of Messer
Amerigo, his lord, gets her with child, and is sentenced to the gallows;
but while he is being scourged thither, he is recognized by his father,
and being set at large, takes Violante to wife.

NOVEL VIII. - Nastagio degli Onesti, loving a damsel of the Traversari
family, by lavish expenditure gains not her love. At the instance of his
kinsfolk he hies him to Chiassi, where he sees a knight hunt a damsel and
slay her and cause her to be devoured by two dogs. He bids his kinsfolk
and the lady that he loves to breakfast. During the meal the said damsel
is torn in pieces before the eyes of the lady, who, fearing a like fate,
takes Nastagio to husband.

NOVEL IX. - Federigo degli Alberighi loves and is not loved in return: he
wastes his substance by lavishness until nought is left but a single
falcon, which, his lady being come to see him at his house, he gives her
to eat: she, knowing his case, changes her mind, takes him to husband and
makes him rich.

NOVEL X. - Pietro di Vinciolo goes from home to sup: his wife brings a
boy into the house to bear her company: Pietro returns, and she hides her
gallant under a hen-coop: Pietro explains that in the house of Ercolano,
with whom he was to have supped, there was discovered a young man
bestowed there by Ercolano's wife: the lady thereupon censures Ercolano's
wife: but unluckily an ass treads on the fingers of the boy that is
hidden under the hen-coop, so that he cries for pain: Pietro runs to the
place, sees him, and apprehends the trick played on him by his wife,
which nevertheless he finally condones, for that he is not himself free
from blame.


NOVEL I. - A knight offers to carry Madonna Oretta a horseback with a
story, but tells it so ill that she prays him to dismount her.

NOVEL II. - Cisti, a baker, by an apt speech gives Messer Geri Spina to
know that he has by inadvertence asked that of him which he should not.

NOVEL III. - Monna Nonna de' Pulci by a ready retort silences the scarce
seemly jesting of the Bishop of Florence.

NOVEL IV. - Chichibio, cook to Currado Gianfigliazzi, owes his safety to
a ready answer, whereby he converts Currado's wrath into laughter, and
evades the evil fate with which Currado had threatened him.

NOVEL V. - Messer Forese da Rabatta and Master Giotto, the painter,
journeying together from Mugello, deride one another's scurvy appearance.

NOVEL VI. - Michele Scalza proves to certain young men that the Baronci
are the best gentlemen in the world and the Maremma, and wins a supper.

NOVEL VII. - Madonna Filippa, being found by her husband with her lover,
is cited before the court, and by a ready and jocund answer acquits
herself, and brings about an alteration of the statute.

NOVEL VIII. - Fresco admonishes his niece not to look at herself in the
glass, if 'tis, as she says, grievous to her to see nasty folk.

NOVEL IX. - Guido Cavalcanti by a quip meetly rebukes certain Florentine
gentlemen who had taken him at a disadvantage.

NOVEL X. - Fra Cipolla promises to shew certain country-folk a feather of
the Angel Gabriel, in lieu of which he finds coals, which he avers to be
of those with which St. Lawrence was roasted.


NOVEL I. - Gianni Lotteringhi hears a knocking at his door at night: he
awakens his wife, who persuades him that 'tis the bogey, which they fall
to exorcising with a prayer; whereupon the knocking ceases.

NOVEL II. - Her husband returning home, Peronella bestows her lover in a
tun; which, being sold by her husband, she avers to have been already
sold by herself to one that is inside examining it to set if it be sound.
Whereupon the lover jumps out, and causes the husband to scour the tun
for him, and afterwards to carry it to his house.

NOVEL III. - Fra Rinaldo lies with his gossip: her husband finds him in
the room with her; and they make him believe that he was curing his
godson of worms by a charm.

NOVEL IV. - Tofano one night locks his wife out of the house: she,
finding that by no entreaties may she prevail upon him to let her in,
feigns to throw herself into a well, throwing therein a great stone.
Tofano hies him forth of the house, and runs to the spot: she goes into
the house, and locks him out, and hurls abuse at him from within.

NOVEL V. - A jealous husband disguises himself as a priest, and hears his
own wife's confession: she tells him that she loves a priest, who comes
to her every night. The husband posts himself at the door to watch for
the priest, and meanwhile the lady brings her lover in by the roof, and
tarries with him.

NOVEL VI. - Madonna Isabella has with her Leonetto, her accepted lover,
when she is surprised by one Messer Lambertuccio, by whom she is beloved:
her husband coming home about the same time, she sends Messer
Lambertuccio forth of the house drawn sword in hand, and the husband
afterwards escorts Leonetto home.

NOVEL VII. - Lodovico discovers to Madonna Beatrice the love that he
bears her: she sends Egano, her husband, into a garden disguised as
herself, and lies with Lodovico; who thereafter, being risen, hies him to
the garden and cudgels Egano.

NOVEL VIII. - A husband grows jealous of his wife, and discovers that
she has warning of her lover's approach by a piece of pack-thread, which
she ties to her great toe a nights. While he is pursuing her lover, she
puts another woman in bed in her place. The husband, finding her there,
beats her, and cuts off her hair. He then goes and calls his wife's
brothers, who, holding his accusation to be false, give him a rating.

NOVEL IX. - Lydia, wife of Nicostratus, loves Pyrrhus, who to assure
himself thereof, asks three things of her, all of which she does, and
therewithal enjoys him in presence of Nicostratus, and makes Nicostratus
believe that what he saw was not real.

NOVEL X. - Two Sienese love a lady, one of them being her gossip: the
gossip dies, having promised his comrade to return to him from the other
world; which he does, and tells him what sort of life is led there.


NOVEL I. - Gulfardo borrows moneys of Guasparruolo, which he has agreed
to give Guasparruolo's wife, that he may lie with her. He gives them to
her, and in her presence tells Guasparruolo that he has done so, and she
acknowledges that 'tis true.

NOVEL II. - The priest of Varlungo lies with Monna Belcolore: he leaves
with her his cloak by way of pledge, and receives from her a mortar. He
returns the mortar, and demands of her the cloak that he had left in
pledge, which the good lady returns him with a gibe.

NOVEL III. - Calandrino, Bruno and Buffalmacco go in quest of the
heliotrope beside the Mugnone. Thinking to have found it, Calandrino gets
him home laden with stones. His wife chides him: whereat he waxes wroth,
beats her, and tells his comrades what they know better than he.

NOVEL IV. - The rector of Fiesole loves a widow lady, by whom he is not
loved, and thinking to lie with her, lies with her maid, with whom the
lady's brothers cause him to be found by his Bishop.

NOVEL V. - Three young men pull down the breeches of a judge from the
Marches, while he is administering justice on the bench.

NOVEL VI. - Bruno and Buffalmacco steal a pig from Calandrino, and induce
him to essay its recovery by means of pills of ginger and vernaccia. Of
the said pills they give him two, one after the other, made of dog-ginger
compounded with aloes; and it then appearing as if he had had the pig
himself, they constrain him to buy them off, if he would not have them
tell his wife.

NOVEL VII. - A scholar loves a widow lady, who, being enamoured of
another, causes him to spend a winter's night awaiting her in the snow.
He afterwards by a stratagem causes her to stand for a whole day in July,
naked upon a tower, exposed to the flies, the gadflies, and the sun.

NOVEL VIII. - Two men keep with one another: the one lies with the
other's wife: the other, being ware thereof, manages with the aid of his
wife to have the one locked in a chest, upon which he then lies with the
wife of him that is locked therein.

NOVEL IX. - Bruno and Buffalmacco prevail upon Master Simone, a
physician, to betake him by night to a certain place, there to be
enrolled in a company that go the course. Buffalmacco throws him into a
foul ditch, and there they leave him.

NOVEL X. - A Sicilian woman cunningly conveys from a merchant that which
he has brought to Palermo; he, making a shew of being come back thither
with far greater store of goods than before, borrows money of her, and
leaves her in lieu thereof water and tow.


NOVEL I. - Madonna Francesca, having two lovers, the one Rinuccio, the
other Alessandro, by name, and loving neither of them, induces the one to
simulate a corpse in a tomb, and the other to enter the tomb to fetch him
out: whereby, neither satisfying her demands, she artfully rids herself
of both.

NOVEL II. - An abbess rises in haste and in the dark, with intent to
surprise an accused nun abed with her lover: thinking to put on her veil,
she puts on instead the breeches of a priest that she has with her: the
nun, espying her headgear, and doing her to wit thereof, is acquitted,
and thenceforth finds it easier to forgather with her lover.

NOVEL III. - Master Simone, at the instance of Bruno and Buffalmacco and
Nello, makes Calandrino believe that he is with child. Calandrino,
accordingly, gives them capons and money for medicines, and is cured
without being delivered.

NOVEL IV. - Cecco, son of Messer Fortarrigo, loses his all at play at
Buonconvento, besides the money of Cecco, son of Messer Angiulieri, whom,
running after him in his shirt and crying out that he has robbed him, he
causes to be taken by peasants: he then puts on his clothes, mounts his
palfrey, and leaves him to follow in his shirt.

NOVEL V. - Calandrino being enamoured of a damsel, Bruno gives him a
scroll, averring that, if he but touch her therewith, she will go with
him: he is found with her by his wife, who subjects him to a most severe
and vexatious examination.

NOVEL VI. - Two young men lodge at an inn, of whom the one lies with the
host's daughter, his wife by inadvertence lying with the other. He that
lay with the daughter afterwards gets into her father's bed and tells him
all, taking him to be his comrade. They bandy words: whereupon the good
woman, apprehending the circumstances, gets her to bed with her daughter,
and by divers apt words re-establishes perfect accord.

NOVEL VII. - Talano di Molese dreams that a wolf tears and rends all the
neck and face of his wife: he gives her warning thereof, which she heeds
not, and the dream comes true.

NOVEL VIII. - Biondello gulls Ciacco in the matter of a breakfast: for
which prank Ciacco is cunningly avenged on Biondello, causing him to be
shamefully beaten.

NOVEL IX. - Two young men ask counsel of Solomon; the one, how he is to
make himself beloved, the other, how he is to reduce an unruly wife to
order. The King bids the one to love, and the other to go to the Bridge
of Geese.

NOVEL X. - Dom Gianni at the instance of his gossip Pietro uses an
enchantment to transform Pietro's wife into a mare; but, when he comes to
attach the tail, Gossip Pietro, by saying that he will have none of the
tail, makes the enchantment of no effect.


NOVEL I. - A knight in the service of the King of Spain deems himself ill
requited. Wherefore the King, by most cogent proof, shews him that the
blame rests not with him, but with the knight's own evil fortune; after
which, he bestows upon him a noble gift.

NOVEL II. - Ghino di Tacco, captures the Abbot of Cluny, cures him of a
disorder of the stomach, and releases him. The abbot, on his return to
the court of Rome, reconciles Ghino with Pope Boniface, and makes him
prior of the Hospital.

NOVEL III. - Mitridanes, holding Nathan in despite by reason of his
courtesy, journey with intent to kill him, and falling in with him
unawares, is advised by him how to compass his end. Following his advice,
he finds him in a copse, and recognizing him, is shame-stricken, and
becomes his friend.

NOVEL IV. - Messer Gentile de' Carisendi, being come from Modena,
disinters a lady that he loves, who has been buried for dead. She, being
reanimated, gives birth to a male child; and Messer Gentile restores her,
with her son, to Niccoluccio Caccianimico, her husband.

NOVEL V. - Madonna Dianora craves of Messer Ansaldo a garden that shall
be as fair in January as in May. Messer Ansaldo binds himself to a
necromancer, and thereby gives her the garden. Her husband gives her
leave to do Messer Ansaldo's pleasure: he, being apprised of her
husband's liberality, releases her from her promise; and the necromancer
releases Messer Ansaldo from his bond, and will tale nought of his.

NOVEL VI. - King Charles the Old, being conqueror, falls in love with a
young maiden, and afterward growing ashamed of his folly bestows her and
her sister honourably in marriage.

NOVEL VII. - King Pedro, being apprised of the fervent love borne him by
Lisa, who thereof is sick, comforts her, and forthwith gives her in
marriage to a young gentleman, and having kissed her on the brow, ever
after professes himself her knight.

NOVEL VIII. - Sophronia, albeit she deems herself wife to Gisippus, is
wife to Titus Quintius Fulvus, and goes with him to Rome, where Gisippus
arrives in indigence, and deeming himself scorned by Titus, to compass
his own death, avers that he has slain a man. Titus recognizes him, and
to save his life, alleges that 'twas he that slew the man: whereof he
that did the deed being witness, he discovers himself as the murderer.
Whereby it comes to pass that they are all three liberated by Octavianus;
and Titus gives Gisippus his sister to wife, and shares with him all his

NOVEL IX. - Saladin, in guise of a merchant, is honourably entreated by
Messer Torello. The Crusade ensuing, Messer Torello appoints a date,
after which his wife may marry again: he is taken prisoner, and by
training hawks comes under the Soldan's notice. The Soldan recognizes
him, makes himself known to him, and entreats him with all honour. Messer
Torello falls sick, and by magic arts is transported in a single night to
Pavia, where his wife's second marriage is then to be solemnized, and
being present thereat, is recognized by her, and returns with her to his

NOVEL X. - The Marquis of Saluzzo, overborne by the entreaties of his
vassals, consents to take a wife, but, being minded to please himself in
the choice of her, takes a husbandman's daughter. He has two children by
her, both of whom he makes her believe that he has put to death.
Afterward, feigning to be tired of her, and to have taken another wife,
he turns her out of doors in her shift, and brings his daughter into the
house in guise of his bride; but, finding her patient under it all, he
brings her home again, and shews her her children, now grown up, and
honours her, and causes her to be honoured, as Marchioness.



Pietro and Agnolella (fifth day, third story)

Gianni and Restituta (fifth day, sixth story)

Calandrino singing (ninth day, fifth story)

Titus, Gisippus, and Sophronia (tenth day, eighth story)

Endeth here the fourth day of the Decameron, beginneth the fifth, in
which under the rule of Fiammetta discourse is had of good fortune
befalling lovers after divers direful or disastrous adventures.

All the east was white, nor any part of our hemisphere unillumined by the
rising beams, when the carolling of the birds that in gay chorus saluted
the dawn among the boughs induced Fiammetta to rise and rouse the other
ladies and the three gallants; with whom adown the hill and about the
dewy meads of the broad champaign she sauntered, talking gaily of divers
matters, until the sun had attained some height. Then, feeling his rays
grow somewhat scorching, they retraced their steps, and returned to the
villa; where, having repaired their slight fatigue with excellent wines
and comfits, they took their pastime in the pleasant garden until the
breakfast hour; when, all things being made ready by the discreet
seneschal, they, after singing a stampita,(1) and a balladette or two,
gaily, at the queen's behest, sat them down to eat. Meetly ordered and
gladsome was the meal, which done, heedful of their rule of dancing, they
trod a few short measures with accompaniment of music and song.
Thereupon, being all dismissed by the queen until after the siesta, some
hied them to rest, while others tarried taking their pleasure in the fair
garden. But shortly after none, all, at the queen's behest, reassembled,
according to their wont, by the fountain; and the queen, having seated
herself on her throne, glanced towards Pamfilo, and bade him with a smile
lead off with the stories of good fortune. Whereto Pamfilo gladly
addressed himself, and thus began.

(1) A song accompanied by music, but without dancing.


Cimon, by loving, waxes wise, wins his wife Iphigenia by capture on the
high seas, and is imprisoned at Rhodes. He is delivered by Lysimachus;
and the twain capture Cassandra and recapture Iphigenia in the hour of
their marriage. They flee with their ladies to Crete, and having there
married them, are brought back to their homes.

Many stories, sweet my ladies, occur to me as meet for me to tell by way
of ushering in a day so joyous as this will be: of which one does most
commend itself to my mind, because not only has it, one of those happy
endings of which to-day we are in quest, but 'twill enable you to
understand how holy, how mighty and how salutary are the forces of Love,
which not a few, witting not what they say, do most unjustly reprobate
and revile: which, if I err not, should to you, for that I take you to be
enamoured, be indeed welcome.

Once upon a time, then, as we have read in the ancient histories of the
Cypriotes, there was in the island of Cyprus a very great noble named
Aristippus, a man rich in all worldly goods beyond all other of his
countrymen, and who might have deemed himself incomparably blessed, but
for a single sore affliction that Fortune had allotted him. Which was
that among his sons he had one, the best grown and handsomest of them
all, that was well-nigh a hopeless imbecile. His true name was Galesus;
but, as neither his tutor's pains, nor his father's coaxing or
chastisement, nor any other method had availed to imbue him with any
tincture of letters or manners, but he still remained gruff and savage of
voice, and in his bearing liker to a beast than to a man, all, as in
derision, were wont to call him Cimon, which in their language signifies
the same as "bestione" (brute)(1) in ours. The father, grieved beyond
measure to see his son's life thus blighted, and having abandoned all
hope of his recovery, nor caring to have the cause of his mortification
ever before his eyes, bade him betake him to the farm, and there keep
with his husbandmen. To Cimon the change was very welcome, because the
manners and habits of the uncouth hinds were more to his taste than those
of the citizens. So to the farm Cimon hied him, and addressed himself to
the work thereof; and being thus employed, he chanced one afternoon as he
passed, staff on shoulder, from one domain to another, to enter a
plantation, the like of which for beauty there was not in those parts,
and which was then--for 'twas the month of May--a mass of greenery; and,
as he traversed it, he came, as Fortune was pleased to guide him, to a
meadow girt in with trees exceeding tall, and having in one of its
corners a fountain most fair and cool, beside which he espied a most
beautiful girl lying asleep on the green grass, clad only in a vest of
such fine stuff that it scarce in any measure veiled the whiteness of her
flesh, and below the waist nought but an apron most white and fine of
texture; and likewise at her feet there slept two women and a man, her
slaves. No sooner did Cimon catch sight of her, than, as if he had never
before seen form of woman, he stopped short, and leaning on his cudgel,
regarded her intently, saying never a word, and lost in admiration. And
in his rude soul, which, despite a thousand lessons, had hitherto
remained impervious to every delight that belongs to urbane life, he felt
the awakening of an idea, that bade his gross and coarse mind
acknowledge, that this girl was the fairest creature that had ever been
seen by mortal eye. And thereupon he began to distinguish her several
parts, praising her hair, which shewed to him as gold, her brow, her nose
and mouth, her throat and arms, and above all her bosom, which was as yet
but in bud, and as he gazed, he changed of a sudden from a husbandman
into a judge of beauty, and desired of all things to see her eyes, which
the weight of her deep slumber kept close shut, and many a time he would
fain have awakened her, that he might see them. But so much fairer seemed
she to him than any other woman that he had seen, that he doubted she
must be a goddess; and as he was not so devoid of sense but that he
deemed things divine more worthy of reverence than things mundane, he
forbore, and waited until she should awake of her own accord; and though
he found the delay overlong, yet, enthralled by so unwonted a delight, he
knew not how to be going. However, after he had tarried a long while, it
so befell that Iphigenia--such was the girl's name--her slaves still
sleeping, awoke, and raised her head, and opened her eyes, and seeing
Cimon standing before her, leaning on his staff, was not a little
surprised, and said:--"Cimon, what seekest thou in this wood at this
hour?" For Cimon she knew well, as indeed did almost all the
country-side, by reason alike of his uncouth appearance as of the rank
and wealth of his father. To Iphigenia's question he answered never a
word; but as soon as her eyes were open, nought could he do but intently
regard them, for it seemed to him that a soft influence emanated from
them, which filled his soul with a delight that he had never before
known. Which the girl marking began to misdoubt that by so fixed a
scrutiny his boorish temper might be prompted to some act that should
cause her dishonour: wherefore she roused her women, and got up,
saying:--"Keep thy distance, Cimon, in God's name." Whereto Cimon made
answer:--"I will come with thee." And, albeit the girl refused his
escort, being still in fear of him, she could not get quit of him; but he
attended her home; after which he hied him straight to his father's
house, and announced that he was minded on no account to go back to the
farm: which intelligence was far from welcome to his father and kinsmen;
but nevertheless they suffered him to stay, and waited to see what might
be the reason of his change of mind. So Cimon, whose heart, closed to all
teaching, love's shaft, sped by the beauty of Iphigenia, had penetrated,
did now graduate in wisdom with such celerity as to astonish his father
and kinsmen, and all that knew him. He began by requesting his father to
let him go clad in the like apparel, and with, in all respects, the like
personal equipment as his brothers: which his father very gladly did.
Mixing thus with the gallants, and becoming familiar with the manners
proper to gentlemen, and especially to lovers, he very soon, to the
exceeding great wonder of all, not only acquired the rudiments of
letters, but waxed most eminent among the philosophic wits. After which
(for no other cause than the love he bore to Iphigenia) he not only
modulated his gruff and boorish voice to a degree of smoothness suitable
to urbane life, but made himself accomplished in singing and music; in
riding also and in all matters belonging to war, as well by sea as by
land, he waxed most expert and hardy. And in sum (that I go not about to
enumerate each of his virtues in detail) he had not completed the fourth
year from the day of his first becoming enamoured before he was grown the
most gallant, and courteous, ay, and the most perfect in particular
accomplishments, of the young cavaliers that were in the island of
Cyprus. What then, gracious ladies, are we to say of Cimon? Verily nought
else but that the high faculties, with which Heaven had endowed his noble
soul, invidious Fortune had bound with the strongest of cords, and
circumscribed within a very narrow region of his heart; all which cords
Love, more potent than Fortune, burst and brake in pieces; and then with
the might, wherewith he awakens dormant powers, he brought them forth of
the cruel obfuscation, in which they lay, into clear light, plainly
shewing thereby, whence he may draw, and whither he may guide, by his
beams the souls that are subject to his sway.

Now, albeit by his love for Iphigenia Cimon was betrayed, as young lovers
very frequently are, into some peccadillos, yet Aristippus, reflecting
that it had turned him from a booby into a man, not only bore patiently
with him, but exhorted him with all his heart to continue steadfast in
his love. And Cimon, who still refused to be called Galesus, because
'twas as Cimon that Iphigenia had first addressed him, being desirous to
accomplish his desire by honourable means, did many a time urge his suit
upon her father, Cipseus, that he would give her him to wife: whereto
Cipseus always made the same answer, to wit, that he had promised her to
Pasimondas, a young Rhodian noble, and was not minded to break faith with
him. However, the time appointed for Iphigenia's wedding being come, and
the bridegroom having sent for her, Cimon said to himself:--'Tis now for
me to shew thee, O Iphigenia, how great is my love for thee: 'tis by thee
that I am grown a man, nor doubt I, if I shall have thee, that I shall
wax more glorious than a god, and verily thee will I have, or die. Having
so said, he privily enlisted in his cause certain young nobles that were
his friends, and secretly fitted out a ship with all equipment meet for
combat, and put to sea on the look-out for the ship that was to bear
Iphigenia to Rhodes and her husband. And at length, when her father had
done lavishing honours upon her husband's friends, Iphigenia embarked,
and, the mariners shaping their course for Rhodes, put to sea. Cimon was
on the alert, and overhauled them the very next day, and standing on his
ship's prow shouted amain to those that were aboard Iphigenia's
ship:--"Bring to; strike sails, or look to be conquered and sunk in the
sea." Then, seeing that the enemy had gotten their arms above deck, and
were making ready to make a fight of it, he followed up his words by
casting a grapnel upon the poop of the Rhodians, who were making great
way; and having thus made their poop fast to his prow, he sprang, fierce
as a lion, reckless whether he were followed or no, on to the Rhodians'
ship, making, as it were, no account of them, and animated by love,
hurled himself, sword in hand, with prodigious force among the enemy, and
cutting and thrusting right and left, slaughtered them like sheep;
insomuch that the Rhodians, marking the fury of his onset, threw down
their arms, and as with one voice did all acknowledge themselves his
prisoners. To whom Cimon:--"Gallants," quoth he, "'twas neither lust of
booty nor enmity to you that caused me to put out from Cyprus to attack
you here with force of arms on the high seas. Moved was I thereto by that
which to gain is to me a matter great indeed, which peaceably to yield me
is to you but a slight matter; for 'tis even Iphigenia, whom more than
aught else I love; whom, as I might not have her of her father in
peaceable and friendly sort, Love has constrained me to take from you in
this high-handed fashion and by force of arms; to whom I mean to be even
such as would have been your Pasimondas: wherefore give her to me, and go
your way, and God's grace go with you."

Yielding rather to force than prompted by generosity, the Rhodians
surrendered Iphigenia, all tears, to Cimon; who, marking her tears, said
to her:--"Grieve not, noble lady; thy Cimon am I, who, by my long love,
have established a far better right to thee than Pasimondas by the faith
that was plighted to him." So saying, he sent her aboard his ship,
whither he followed her, touching nought that belonged to the Rhodians,
and suffering them to go their way. To have gotten so dear a prize made
him the happiest man in the world, but for a time 'twas all he could do
to assuage her grief: then, after taking counsel with his comrades, he
deemed it best not to return to Cyprus for the present: and so, by common
consent they shaped their course for Crete, where most of them, and
especially Cimon, had alliances of old or recent date, and friends not a
few, whereby they deemed that there they might tarry with Iphigenia in
security. But Fortune, that had accorded Cimon so gladsome a capture of
the lady, suddenly proved fickle, and converted the boundless joy of the
enamoured gallant into woeful and bitter lamentation. 'Twas not yet full
four hours since Cimon had parted from the Rhodians, when with the
approach of night, that night from which Cimon hoped such joyance as he
had never known, came weather most turbulent and tempestuous, which
wrapped the heavens in cloud, and swept the sea with scathing blasts;
whereby 'twas not possible for any to see how the ship was to be worked
or steered, or to steady himself so as to do any duty upon her deck.
Whereat what grief was Cimon's, it boots not to ask. Indeed it seemed to
him that the gods had granted his heart's desire only that it might be
harder for him to die, which had else been to him but a light matter. Not
less downcast were his comrades; but most of all Iphigenia, who, weeping
bitterly and shuddering at every wave that struck the ship, did cruelly
curse Cimon's love and censure his rashness, averring that this tempest
was come upon them for no other cause than that the gods had decreed,
that, as 'twas in despite of their will that he purposed to espouse her,
he should be frustrate of his presumptuous intent, and having lived to
see her expire, should then himself meet a woeful death.

While thus and yet more bitterly they bewailed them, and the mariners
were at their wits' end, as the gale grew hourly more violent, nor knew
they, nor might conjecture, whither they went, they drew nigh the island
of Rhodes, albeit that Rhodes it was they wist not, and set themselves,
as best and most skilfully they might, to run the ship aground. In which
enterprise Fortune favoured them, bringing them into a little bay, where,
shortly before them, was arrived the Rhodian ship that Cimon had let go.
Nor were they sooner ware that 'twas Rhodes they had made, than day
broke, and, the sky thus brightening a little, they saw that they were
about a bow-shot from the ship that they had released on the preceding
day. Whereupon Cimon, vexed beyond measure, being apprehensive of that
which in fact befell them, bade make every effort to win out of the bay,
and let Fortune carry them whither she would, for nowhere might they be
in worse plight than there. So might and main they strove to bring the
ship out, but all in vain: the violence of the gale thwarted them to such
purpose as not only to preclude their passage out of the bay but to drive
them, willing nilling, ashore. Whither no sooner were they come, than
they were recognized by the Rhodian mariners, who were already landed. Of
whom one ran with all speed to a farm hard by, whither the Rhodian
gallants were gone, and told them that Fortune had brought Cimon and
Iphigenia aboard their ship into the same bay to which she had guided
them. Whereat the gallants were overjoyed, and taking with them not a few
of the farm-servants, hied them in hot haste to the shore, where, Cimon
and his men being already landed with intent to take refuge in a
neighbouring wood, they took them all (with Iphigenia) and brought them
to the farm. Whence, pursuant to an order of the Senate of Rhodes, to
which, so soon as he received the news, Pasimondas made his complaint,
Cimon and his men were all marched off to prison by Lysimachus, chief
magistrate of the Rhodians for that year, who came down from the city for
the purpose with an exceeding great company of men at arms. On such wise
did our hapless and enamoured Cimon lose his so lately won Iphigenia
before he had had of her more than a kiss or two. Iphigenia was
entertained and comforted of the annoy, occasioned as well by her recent
capture as by the fury of the sea, by not a few noble ladies of Rhodes,
with whom she tarried until the day appointed for her marriage. In
recompense of the release of the Rhodian gallants on the preceding day
the lives of Cimon and his men were spared, notwithstanding that
Pasimondas pressed might and main for their execution; and instead they
were condemned to perpetual imprisonment: wherein, as may be supposed,
they abode in dolorous plight, and despaired of ever again knowing

However, it so befell that, Pasimondas accelerating his nuptials to the
best of his power, Fortune, as if repenting her that in her haste she had
done Cimon so evil a turn, did now by a fresh disposition of events
compass his deliverance. Pasimondas had a brother, by name Hormisdas, his
equal in all respects save in years, who had long been contract to marry
Cassandra, a fair and noble damsel of Rhodes, of whom Lysimachus was in
the last degree enamoured; but owing to divers accidents the marriage had
been from time to time put off. Now Pasimondas, being about to celebrate
his nuptials with exceeding great pomp, bethought him that he could not
do better than, to avoid a repetition of the pomp and expense, arrange,
if so he might, that his brother should be wedded on the same day with
himself. So, having consulted anew with Cassandra's kinsfolk, and come to
an understanding with them, he and his brother and they conferred
together, and agreed that on the same day that Pasimondas married
Iphigenia, Hormisdas should marry Cassandra. Lysimachus, getting wind of
this arrangement, was mortified beyond measure, seeing himself thereby
deprived of the hope which he cherished of marrying Cassandra himself, if
Hormisdas should not forestall him. But like a wise man he concealed his
chagrin, and cast about how he might frustrate the arrangement: to which
end he saw no other possible means but to carry Cassandra off. It did not
escape him that the office which he held would render this easily
feasible, but he deemed it all the more dishonourable than if he had not
held the office; but, in short, after much pondering, honour yielded
place to love, and he made up his mind that, come what might, he would
carry Cassandra off. Then, as he took thought what company he should take
with him, and how he should go about the affair, he remembered Cimon,
whom he had in prison with his men, and it occurred to him that he could
not possibly have a better or more trusty associate in such an enterprise
than Cimon. Wherefore the same night he caused Cimon to be brought
privily to him in his own room, and thus addressed him:--"Cimon, as the
gods are most generous and liberal to bestow their gifts on men, so are
they also most sagacious to try their virtue; and those whom they find to
be firm and steadfast in all circumstances they honour, as the most
worthy, with the highest rewards. They have been minded to be certified
of thy worth by better proofs than thou couldst afford them, as long as
thy life was bounded by thy father's house amid the superabundant wealth
which I know him to possess: wherefore in the first place they so wrought
upon thee with the shrewd incitements of Love that from an insensate
brute, as I have heard, thou grewest to be a man; since when, it has been
and is their intent to try whether evil fortune and harsh imprisonment
may avail to change thee from the temper that was thine when for a short
while thou hadst joyance of the prize thou hadst won. And so thou prove
the same that thou wast then, they have in store for thee a boon
incomparably greater than aught that they vouchsafed thee before: what
that boon is, to the end thou mayst recover heart and thy wonted
energies, I will now explain to thee. Pasimondas, exultant in thy
misfortune and eager to compass thy death, hastens to the best of his
power his nuptials with thy Iphigenia; that so he may enjoy the prize
that Fortune, erstwhile smiling, gave thee, and forthwith, frowning, reft
from thee. Whereat how sore must be thy grief, if rightly I gauge thy
love, I know by my own case, seeing that his brother Hormisdas addresses
himself to do me on the same day a like wrong in regard of Cassandra,
whom I love more than aught else in the world. Nor see I that Fortune has
left us any way of escape from this her unjust and cruel spite, save what
we may make for ourselves by a resolved spirit and the might of our right
hands: take we then the sword, and therewith make we, each, prize of his
lady, thou for the second, I for the first time: for so thou value the
recovery, I say not of thy liberty, for without thy lady I doubt thou
wouldst hold it cheap, but of thy lady, the gods have placed it in thine
own hands, if thou art but minded to join me in my enterprise."

These words restored to Cimon all that he had lost of heart and hope, nor
pondered he long, before he replied:--"Lysimachus, comrade stouter or
more staunch than I thou mightst not have in such an enterprise, if such
indeed it be as thou sayst: wherefore lay upon me such behest as thou
shalt deem meet, and thou shalt marvel to witness the vigour of my
performance." Whereupon Lysimachus:--"On the third day from now," quoth
he, "their husbands' houses will be newly entered by the brides, and on
the same day at even we too will enter them in arms, thou with thy men,
and I with some of mine, in whom I place great trust, and forcing our way
among the guests and slaughtering all that dare to oppose us, will bear
the ladies off to a ship which I have had privily got ready." Cimon
approved the plan, and kept quiet in prison until the appointed time;
which being come, the nuptials were celebrated with great pomp and
magnificence, that filled the houses of the two brothers with festal
cheer. Then Lysimachus having made ready all things meet, and fired Cimon
and his men and his own friends for the enterprise by a long harangue,
disposed them in due time, all bearing arms under their cloaks, in three
companies; and having privily despatched one company to the port, that,
when the time should come to embark, he might meet with no let, he
marched with the other two companies to the house of Pasimondas, posted
the one company at the gate, that, being entered, they might not be shut
in or debarred their egress, and, with the other company and Cimon,
ascended the stairs, and gained the saloon, where the brides and not a
few other ladies were set at several tables to sup in meet order:
whereupon in they rushed, and overthrew the tables and seized each his
own lady, and placed them in charge of their men, whom they bade bear
them off forthwith to the ship that lay ready to receive them. Whereupon
the brides and the other ladies and the servants with one accord fell a
sobbing and shrieking, insomuch that a confused din and lamentation
filled the whole place. Cimon, Lysimachus and their band, none
withstanding, but all giving way before them, gained the stairs, which
they were already descending when they encountered Pasimondas, who,
carrying a great staff in his hand, was making in the direction of the
noise; but one doughty stroke of Cimon's sword sufficed to cleave his
skull in twain, and lay him dead at Cimon's feet, and another stroke
disposed of hapless Hormisdas, as he came running to his brother's aid.
Some others who ventured to approach them were wounded and beaten off by
the retinue. So forth of the house, that reeked with blood and resounded
with tumult and lamentation and woe, sped Simon and Lysimachus with all
their company, and without any let, in close order, with their fair booty
in their midst, made good their retreat to the ship; whereon with the
ladies they one and all embarked, for the shore was now full of armed men
come to rescue the ladies, and, the oarsmen giving way, put to sea elate.
Arrived at Crete, they met with a hearty welcome on the part of their
many friends and kinsfolk; and, having married their ladies, they made
greatly merry, and had gladsome joyance of their fair booty. Their doings
occasioned, both in Cyprus and in Rhodes, no small stir and commotion,
which lasted for a long while: but in the end, by the good offices of
their friends and kinsfolk in both islands, 'twas so ordered as that
after a certain term of exile Cimon returned with Iphigenia to Cyprus,
and in like manner Lysimachus returned with Cassandra to Rhodes; and long
and blithely thereafter lived they, each well contented with his own wife
in his own land.

(1) One of the augmentative forms of bestia.


Gostanza loves Martuccio Gomito, and hearing that he is dead, gives way
to despair, and hies her alone aboard a boat, which is wafted by the wind
to Susa. She finds him alive in Tunis, and makes herself known to him,
who, having by his counsel gained high place in the king's favour,
marries her, and returns with her wealthy to Lipari.

Pamfilo's story being ended, the queen, after commending it not a little,
called for one to follow from Emilia; who thus began:--

Meet and right it is that one should rejoice when events so fall out that
passion meets with its due reward: and as love merits in the long run
rather joy than suffering, far gladlier obey I the queen's than I did the
king's behest, and address myself to our present theme. You are to know
then, dainty ladies, that not far from Sicily there is an islet called
Lipari, in which, no great while ago, there dwelt a damsel, Gostanza by
name, fair as fair could be, and of one of the most honourable families
in the island. And one Martuccio Gomito, who was also of the island, a
young man most gallant and courteous, and worthy for his condition,
became enamoured of Gostanza; who in like manner grew so afire for him
that she was ever ill at ease, except she saw him. Martuccio, craving her
to wife, asked her of her father, who made answer that, Martuccio being
poor, he was not minded to give her to him. Mortified to be thus rejected
by reason of poverty, Martuccio took an oath in presence of some of his
friends and kinsfolk that Lipari should know him no more, until he was
wealthy. So away he sailed, and took to scouring the seas as a rover on
the coast of Barbary, preying upon all whose force matched not his own.
In which way of life he found Fortune favourable enough, had he but known
how to rest and be thankful: but 'twas not enough that he and his
comrades in no long time waxed very wealthy; their covetousness was
inordinate, and, while they sought to gratify it, they chanced in an
encounter with certain Saracen ships to be taken after a long defence,
and despoiled, and, most part of them, thrown into the sea by their
captors, who, after sinking his ship, took Martuccio with them to Tunis,
and clapped him in prison, and there kept him a long time in a very sad

Meanwhile, not by one or two, but by divers and not a few persons,
tidings reached Lipari that all that were with Martuccio aboard his bark
had perished in the sea. The damsel, whose grief on Martuccio's departure
had known no bounds, now hearing that he was dead with the rest, wept a
great while, and made up her mind to have done with life; but, lacking
the resolution to lay violent hands upon herself, she bethought her how
she might devote herself to death by some novel expedient. So one night
she stole out of her father's house, and hied her to the port, and there
by chance she found, lying a little apart from the other craft, a fishing
boat, which, as the owners had but just quitted her, was still equipped
with mast and sails and oars. Aboard which boat she forthwith got, and
being, like most of the women of the island, not altogether without
nautical skill, she rowed some distance out to sea, and then hoisted
sail, and cast away oars and tiller, and let the boat drift, deeming that
a boat without lading or steersman would certainly be either capsized by
the wind or dashed against some rock and broken in pieces, so that escape
she could not, even if she would, but must perforce drown. And so, her
head wrapped in a mantle, she stretched herself weeping on the floor of
the boat. But it fell out quite otherwise than she had conjectured: for,
the wind being from the north, and very equable, with next to no sea, the
boat kept an even keel, and next day about vespers bore her to land hard
by a city called Susa, full a hundred miles beyond Tunis. To the damsel
'twas all one whether she were at sea or ashore, for, since she had been
aboard, she had never once raised, nor, come what might, meant she ever
to raise, her head.

Now it so chanced, that, when the boat grounded, there was on the shore a
poor woman that was in the employ of some fishermen, whose nets she was
just taking out of the sunlight. Seeing the boat under full sail, she
marvelled how it should be suffered to drive ashore, and conjectured that
the fishermen on board were asleep. So to the boat she hied her, and
finding therein only the damsel fast asleep, she called her many times,
and at length awakened her; and perceiving by her dress that she was a
Christian, she asked her in Latin how it was that she was come thither
all alone in the boat. Hearing the Latin speech, the damsel wondered
whether the wind had not shifted, and carried her back to Lipari: so up
she started, gazed about her, and finding herself ashore and the aspect
of the country strange, asked the good woman where she was. To which the
good woman made answer:--"My daughter, thou art hard by Susa in Barbary."
Whereupon the damsel, sorrowful that God had not seen fit to accord her
the boon of death, apprehensive of dishonour, and at her wits' end, sat
herself down at the foot of her boat, and burst into tears. Which the
good woman saw not without pity, and persuaded her to come with her into
her hut, and there by coaxing drew from her how she was come thither; and
knowing that she could not but be fasting, she set before her her own
coarse bread and some fish and water, and prevailed upon her to eat a
little. Gostanza thereupon asked her, who she was that thus spoke Latin;
whereto she answered that her name was Carapresa, and that she was from
Trapani, where she had served some Christian fishermen. To the damsel,
sad indeed though she was, this name Carapresa, wherefore she knew not,
seemed to be of happy augury, so that she began to take hope, she knew
not why, and to grow somewhat less fain of death: wherefore without
disclosing who or whence she was, she earnestly besought the good woman
for the love of God to have pity on her youth, and advise her how best to
avoid insult. Whereupon Carapresa, good woman that she was, left her in
her hut, while with all speed she picked up her nets; and on her return
she wrapped her in her own mantle, and led her to Susa. Arrived there,
she said to her:--"Gostanza, I shall bring thee to the house of an
excellent Saracen lady, for whom I frequently do bits of work, as she has
occasion: she is an old lady and compassionate: I will commend thee to
her care as best I may, and I doubt not she will right gladly receive
thee, and entreat thee as her daughter: and thou wilt serve her, and,
while thou art with her, do all thou canst to gain her favour, until such
time as God may send thee better fortune;" and as she said, so she did.

The old lady listened, and then, gazing steadfastly in the damsel's face,
shed tears, and taking her hand, kissed her forehead, and led her into
the house, where she and some other women dwelt quite by themselves,
doing divers kinds of handiwork in silk and palm leaves and leather.
Wherein the damsel in a few days acquired some skill, and thenceforth
wrought together with them; and rose wondrous high in the favour and good
graces of all the ladies, who soon taught her their language.

Now while the damsel, mourned at home as lost and dead, dwelt thus at
Susa, it so befell that, Mariabdela being then King of Tunis, a young
chieftain in Granada, of great power, and backed by mighty allies, gave
out that the realm of Tunis belonged to him, and having gathered a vast
army, made a descent upon Tunis with intent to expel the King from the
realm. Martuccio Gomito, who knew the language of Barbary well, heard the
tidings in prison, and learning that the King of Tunis was mustering a
mighty host for the defence of his kingdom, said to one of the warders
that were in charge of him and his comrades:--"If I might have speech of
the King, I am confident that the advice that I should give him would
secure him the victory." The warder repeated these words to his chief,
who forthwith carried them to the King. Wherefore by the King's command
Martuccio was brought before him, and being asked by him what the advice,
of which he had spoken, might be, answered on this wise:--"Sire, if in
old days, when I was wont to visit this country of yours, I duly observed
the manner in which you order your battle, methinks you place your main
reliance upon archers; and therefore, if you could contrive that your
enemy's supply of arrows should give out and your own continue plentiful,
I apprehend that you would win the battle." "Ay indeed," replied the
King, "I make no doubt that, could I but accomplish that, I should
conquer." "Nay but, Sire," returned Martuccio, "you may do it, if you
will. Listen, and I will tell you how. You must fit the bows of your
archers with strings much finer than those that are in common use, and
match them with arrows, the notches of which will not admit any but these
fine strings; and this you must do so secretly that your enemy may not
know it, else he will find means to be even with you. Which counsel I
give you for the following reason:--When your and your enemy's archers
have expended all their arrows, you wot that the enemy will fall to
picking up the arrows that your men have shot during the battle, and your
men will do the like by the enemy's arrows; but the enemy will not be
able to make use of your men's arrows, by reason that their fine notches
will not suffice to admit the stout strings, whereas your men will be in
the contrary case in regard of the enemy's arrows, for the fine string
will very well receive the large-notched arrow, and so your men will have
an abundant supply of arrows, while the enemy will be at a loss for

The King, who lacked not sagacity, appreciated Martuccio's advice, and
gave full effect to it; whereby he came out of the war a conqueror, and
Martuccio, being raised to the chief place in his favour, waxed rich and
powerful. Which matters being bruited throughout the country, it came to
the ears of Gostanza that Martuccio Gomito, whom she had long supposed to
be dead, was alive; whereby her love for him, some embers of which still
lurked in her heart, burst forth again in sudden flame, and gathered
strength, and revived her dead hope. Wherefore she frankly told all her
case to the good lady with whom she dwelt, saying that she would fain go
to Tunis, that her eyes might have assurance of that which the report
received by her ears had made them yearn to see. The lady fell heartily
in with the girl's desire, and, as if she had been her mother, embarked
with her for Tunis, where on their arrival they were honourably received
in the house of one of her kinswomen. Carapresa, who had attended her,
being sent to discover what she might touching Martuccio, brought back
word that he was alive, and high in honour and place. The gentlewoman was
minded that none but herself should apprise Martuccio of the arrival of
his Gostanza: wherefore she hied her one day to Martuccio, and
said:--"Martuccio, there is come to my house a servant of thine from
Lipari, who would fain speak with thee here privily, and for that he
would not have me trust another, I am come hither myself to deliver his
message." Martuccio thanked her, and forthwith hied him with her to her
house: where no sooner did the girl see him than she all but died for
joy, and carried away by her feelings, fell upon his neck with open arms
and embraced him, and, what with sorrow of his past woes and her present
happiness, said never a word, but softly wept. Martuccio regarded her for
a while in silent wonder; then, heaving a sigh, he said:--"Thou livest
then, my Gostanza? Long since I heard that thou wast lost; nor was aught
known of thee at home." Which said, he tenderly and with tears embraced
her. Gostanza told him all her adventures, and how honourably she had
been entreated by the gentlewoman with whom she had dwelt. And so long
time they conversed, and then Martuccio parted from her, and hied him
back to his lord the King, and told him all, to wit, his own adventures
and those of the girl, adding that with his leave he was minded to marry
her according to our law. Which matters the King found passing strange;
and having called the girl to him, and learned from her that 'twas even
as Martuccio had said:--"Well indeed," quoth he, "hast thou won thy
husband." Then caused he gifts most ample and excellent to be brought
forth, part of which he gave to Gostanza, and part to Martuccio, leaving
them entirely to their own devices in regard of one another. Then
Martuccio, in terms most honourable, bade farewell to the old lady with
whom Gostanza had dwelt, thanking her for the service she had rendered to
Gostanza, and giving her presents suited to her condition, and commending
her to God, while Gostanza shed many a tear: after which, by leave of the
King, they went aboard a light bark, taking with them Carapresa, and,
sped by a prosperous breeze, arrived at Lipari, where they were received
with such cheer as 'twere vain to attempt to describe. There were
Martuccio and Gostanza wedded with all pomp and splendour; and there long
time in easeful peace they had joyance of their love.


Pietro Boccamazza runs away with Agnolella, and encounters a gang of
robbers: the girl takes refuge in a wood, and is guided to a castle.
Pietro is taken, but escapes out of the hands of the robbers, and after
some adventures arrives at the castle where Agnolella is, marries her,
and returns with her to Rome.

Ended Emilia's story, which none of the company spared to commend, the
queen, turning to Elisa, bade her follow suit; and she, with glad
obedience, thus began:--

'Tis a story, sweet ladies, of a woeful night passed by two indiscreet
young lovers that I have in mind; but, as thereon ensued not a few days
of joy, 'tis not inapposite to our argument, and shall be narrated.

'Tis no long time since at Rome, which, albeit now the tail,(1) was of
yore the head, of the world, there dwelt a young man, Pietro Boccamazza
by name, a scion of one of the most illustrious of the Roman houses, who
became enamoured of a damsel exceeding fair, and amorous withal--her name
Agnolella--the daughter of one Gigliuozzo Saullo, a plebeian, but in high
repute among the Romans. Nor, loving thus, did Pietro lack the address to
inspire in Agnolella a love as ardent as his own. Wherefore, overmastered
by his passion, and minded no longer to endure the sore suffering that it
caused him, he asked her in marriage. Whereof his kinsfolk were no sooner
apprised, than with one accord they came to him and strongly urged him to
desist from his purpose: they also gave Gigliuozzo Saullo to understand
that he were best to pay no sort of heed to Pietro's words, for that, if
he so did, they would never acknowledge him as friend or relative. Thus
to see himself debarred of the one way by which he deemed he might attain
to his desire, Pietro was ready to die for grief, and, all his kinsfolk
notwithstanding, he would have married Gigliuozzo's daughter, had but the
father consented. Wherefore at length he made up his mind that, if the
girl were willing, nought should stand in the way; and having through a
common friend sounded the damsel and found her apt, he brought her to
consent to elope with him from Rome. The affair being arranged, Pietro
and she took horse betimes one morning, and sallied forth for Anagni,
where Pietro had certain friends, in whom he placed much trust; and as
they rode, time not serving for full joyance of their love, for they
feared pursuit, they held converse thereof, and from time to time
exchanged a kiss. Now it so befell, that, the way being none too well
known to Pietro, when, perhaps eight miles from Rome, they should have
turned to the right, they took instead a leftward road. Whereon when they
had ridden but little more than two miles, they found themselves close to
a petty castle, whence, so soon as they were observed, there issued some
dozen men at arms; and, as they drew near, the damsel, espying them, gave
a cry, and said:--"We are attacked, Pietro, let us flee;" and guiding her
nag as best she knew towards a great forest, she planted the spurs in his
sides, and so, holding on by the saddle-bow, was borne by the goaded
creature into the forest at a gallop. Pietro, who had been too engrossed
with her face to give due heed to the way, and thus had not been ware, as
soon as she, of the approach of the men at arms, was still looking about
to see whence they were coming, when they came up with him, and took him
prisoner, and forced him to dismount. Then they asked who he was, and,
when he told them, they conferred among themselves, saying:--"This is one
of the friends of our enemies: what else can we do but relieve him of his
nag and of his clothes, and hang him on one of these oaks in scorn of the
Orsini?" To which proposal all agreeing, they bade Pietro strip himself:
but while, already divining his fate, he was so doing, an ambuscade of
full five-and-twenty men at arms fell suddenly upon them,
crying:--"Death, death!" Thus surprised, they let Pietro go, and stood on
the defensive; but, seeing that the enemy greatly outnumbered them, they
took to their heels, the others giving chase. Whereupon Pietro hastily
resumed his clothes, mounted his nag, and fled with all speed in the
direction which he had seen the damsel take. But finding no road or path
through the forest, nor discerning any trace of a horse's hooves, he
was--for that he found not the damsel--albeit he deemed himself safe out
of the clutches of his captors and their assailants, the most wretched
man alive, and fell a weeping and wandering hither and thither about the
forest, uttering Agnolella's name. None answered; but turn back he dared
not: so on he went, not knowing whither he went; besides which, he was in
mortal dread of the wild beasts that infest the forest, as well on
account of himself as of the damsel, whom momently he seemed to see
throttled by some bear or wolf. Thus did our unfortunate Pietro spend the
whole day, wandering about the forest, making it to resound with his
cries of Agnolella's name, and harking at times back, when he thought to
go forward; until at last, what with his cries and his tears and his
fears and his long fasting, he was so spent that he could go no further.
'Twas then nightfall, and, as he knew not what else to do, he dismounted
at the foot of an immense oak, and having tethered his nag to the trunk,
climbed up into the branches, lest he should be devoured by the wild
beasts during the night. Shortly afterwards the moon rose with a very
clear sky, and Pietro, who dared not sleep, lest he should fall, and
indeed, had he been secure from that risk, his misery and his anxiety on
account of the damsel would not have suffered him to sleep, kept watch,
sighing and weeping and cursing his evil luck.

Now the damsel, who, as we said before, had fled she knew not whither,
allowing her nag to carry her whithersoever he would, strayed so far into
the forest that she lost sight of the place where she had entered it, and
spent the whole day just as Pietro had done, wandering about the
wilderness, pausing from time to time, and weeping, and uttering his
name, and bewailing her evil fortune. At last, seeing that 'twas now the
vesper hour and Pietro came not, she struck into a path, which the nag
followed, until, after riding some two miles, she espied at some distance
a cottage, for which she made with all speed, and found there a good man,
well stricken in years, with his wife, who was likewise aged. Seeing her
ride up alone, they said:--"Daughter, wherefore ridest thou thus alone at
this hour in these parts?" Weeping, the damsel made answer that she had
lost her companion in the forest, and asked how far might Anagni be from
there? "My daughter," returned the good man, "this is not the road to
Anagni; 'tis more than twelve miles away." "And how far off," inquired
the damsel, "are the nearest houses in which one might find lodging for
the night?" "There are none so near," replied the good man, "that thou
canst reach them to-day." "Then, so please you," said the damsel, "since
go elsewhither I cannot, for God's sake let me pass the night here with
you." Whereto the good man made answer:--"Damsel, welcome art thou to
tarry the night with us; but still thou art to know that these parts are
infested both by day and by night by bands, which, be they friends or be
they foes, are alike ill to meet with, and not seldom do much despite and
mischief, and if by misadventure one of these bands should visit us while
thou wert here, and marking thy youth and beauty should do thee despite
and dishonour, we should be unable to afford thee any succour. This we
would have thee know, that if it should so come to pass, thou mayst not
have cause to reproach us." The damsel heard not the old man's words
without dismay; but, seeing that the hour was now late, she
answered:--"God, if He be so pleased, will save both you and me from such
molestation, and if not, 'tis a much lesser evil to be maltreated by men
than to be torn in pieces by the wild beasts in the forest." So saying,
she dismounted, and entered the cottage, where, having supped with the
poor man and his wife on such humble fare as they had, she laid herself
in her clothes beside them in their bed. She slept not, however; for her
own evil plight and that of Pietro, for whom she knew not how to augur
aught but evil, kept her sighing and weeping all night long. And towards
matins she heard a great noise as of men that marched; so up she got and
hied her into a large courtyard that was in rear of the cottage, and part
of which was covered with a great heap of hay, which she espying, hid
herself therein, that, if the men came there, they might not so readily
find her. Scarce had she done so than the men, who proved to be a strong
company of marauders, were at the door of the cottage, which they forced
open; and having entered, and found the damsel's nag, still saddled, they
asked who was there. The damsel being out of sight, the good man
answered:--"There is none here but my wife and I; but this nag, which has
given some one the slip, found his way hither last night, and we housed
him, lest he should be devoured by the wolves." "So!" said the chief of
the band, "as he has no owner, he will come in very handy for us."

Whereupon, in several parties, they ransacked the cottage from top to
bottom; and one party went out into the courtyard, where, as they threw
aside their lances and targets, it so befell that one of them, not
knowing where else to bestow his lance, tossed it into the hay, and was
within an ace of killing the damsel that lay hid there, as likewise she
of betraying her whereabouts, for the lance all but grazing her left
breast, insomuch that the head tore her apparel, she doubted she was
wounded, and had given a great shriek, but that, remembering where she
was, she refrained for fear. By and by the company cooked them a
breakfast of kid's and other meat, and having eaten and drunken,
dispersed in divers directions, as their affairs required, taking the
girl's nag with them. And when they were gotten some little way off, the
good man asked his wife:--"What became of the damsel, our guest of last
night, that I have not seen her since we rose?" The good woman answered
that she knew not where the damsel was, and went to look for her. The
damsel, discovering that the men were gone, came forth of the hay, and
the good man, seeing her, was overjoyed that she had not fallen into the
hands of the ruffians, and, as day was breaking, said to her:--"Now that
day is at hand, we will, so it like thee, escort thee to a castle, some
five miles hence, where thou wilt be in safety; but thou must needs go
afoot, because these villains, that are but just gone, have taken thy nag
with them." The damsel, resigning herself to her loss, besought them for
God's sake to take her to the castle: whereupon they set forth, and
arrived there about half tierce. Now the castle belonged to one of the
Orsini, Liello di Campo di Fiore by name, whose wife, as it chanced, was
there. A most kindly and good woman she was, and, recognizing the damsel
as soon as she saw her, gave her a hearty welcome and would fain have
from her a particular account of how she came there. So the damsel told
her the whole story. The lady, to whom Pietro was also known, as being a
friend of her husband, was distressed to hear of his misadventure, and
being told where he was taken, gave him up for dead. So she said to the
damsel:--"Since so it is that thou knowest not how Pietro has fared, thou
shalt stay here with me until such time as I may have opportunity to send
thee safely back to Rome."

Meanwhile Pietro, perched on his oak in as woeful a plight as might be,
had espied, when he should have been in his first sleep, a full score of
wolves, that, as they prowled, caught sight of the nag, and straightway
were upon him on all sides. The horse, as soon as he was ware of their
approach, strained on the reins till they snapped, and tried to make good
his escape; but, being hemmed in, was brought to bay, and made a long
fight of it with his teeth and hooves; but in the end they bore him down
and throttled him and forthwith eviscerated him, and, the whole pack
falling upon him, devoured him to the bone before they had done with him.
Whereat Pietro, who felt that in the nag he had lost a companion and a
comfort in his travail, was sorely dismayed, and began to think that he
should never get out of the forest. But towards dawn, he, perched there
in the oak, almost dead with cold, looking around him as he frequently
did, espied about a mile off a huge fire. Wherefore, as soon as 'twas
broad day, he got down, not without trepidation, from the oak, and bent
his steps towards the fire; and being come to it, he found, gathered
about it, a company of shepherds, eating and making merry, who took pity
on him and made him welcome. And when he had broken his fast and warmed
himself, he told them the mishap that had befallen him, and how it was
that he was come there alone, and asked them if there was a farm or
castle in those parts, whither he might betake him. The shepherds said
that about three miles away there was a castle belonging to Liello di
Campo di Fiore, where his lady was then tarrying. Pietro, much comforted,
requested to be guided thither by some of their company; whereupon two of
them right gladly escorted him. So Pietro arrived at the castle, where he
found some that knew him; and while he was endeavouring to set on foot a
search for the damsel in the forest, the lady summoned him to her
presence, and he, forthwith obeying, and seeing Agnolella with her, was
the happiest man that ever was. He yearned till he all but swooned to go
and embrace her, but refrained, for bashfulness, in the lady's presence.
And overjoyed as he was, the joy of the damsel was no less. The lady
received him with great cheer, and though, when she had heard the story
of his adventures from his own lips, she chid him not a little for having
set at nought the wishes of his kinsfolk; yet, seeing that he was still
of the same mind, and that the damsel was also constant, she said to
herself:--To what purpose give I myself all this trouble? they love one
another, they know one another; they love with equal ardour; their love
is honourable, and I doubt not is well pleasing to God, seeing that the
one has escaped the gallows and the other the lance, and both the wild
beasts: wherefore be it as they would have it. Then, turning to them, she
said:--"If 'tis your will to be joined in wedlock as man and wife, mine
jumps with it: here shall your nuptials be solemnized and at Liello's
charges, and for the rest I will see that your peace is made with your
kinsfolk." So in the castle the pair were wedded, Pietro only less blithe
than Agnolella, the lady ordering the nuptials as honourably as might be
in her mountain-home, and there they had most sweet joyance of the first
fruits of their love. So some days they tarried there, and then
accompanied by the lady with a strong escort, they took horse and
returned to Rome, where, very wroth though she found Pietro's kinsfolk
for what he had done, the lady re-established solid peace between him and
them; and so at Rome Pietro and Agnolella lived together to a good old
age in great tranquillity and happiness.

(1) In reference to the forlorn condition of the city while the seat of
the papacy was at Avignon, 1308-1377.


Ricciardo Manardi is found by Messer Lizio da Valbona with his daughter,
whom he marries, and remains at peace with her father.

In silence Elisa received the praise bestowed on her story by her fair
companions; and then the queen called for a story from Filostrato, who
with a laugh began on this wise:--Chidden have I been so often and by so
many of you for the sore burden, which I laid upon you, of discourse
harsh and meet for tears, that, as some compensation for such annoy, I
deem myself bound to tell you somewhat that may cause you to laugh a
little: wherefore my story, which will be of the briefest, shall be of a
love, the course whereof, save for sighs and a brief passage of fear
mingled with shame, ran smooth to a happy consummation.

Know then, noble ladies, that 'tis no long time since there dwelt in
Romagna a right worthy and courteous knight, Messer Lizio da Valbona by
name, who was already verging upon old age, when, as it happened, there
was born to him of his wife, Madonna Giacomina, a daughter, who, as she
grew up, became the fairest and most debonair of all the girls of those
parts, and, for that she was the only daughter left to them, was most
dearly loved and cherished by her father and mother, who guarded her with
most jealous care, thinking to arrange some great match for her. Now
there was frequently in Messer Lizio's house, and much in his company, a
fine, lusty young man, one Ricciardo de' Manardi da Brettinoro, whom
Messer Lizio and his wife would as little have thought of mistrusting as
if he had been their own son: who, now and again taking note of the
damsel, that she was very fair and graceful, and in bearing and behaviour
most commendable, and of marriageable age, fell vehemently in love with
her, which love he was very careful to conceal. The damsel detected it,
however, and in like manner plunged headlong into love with him, to
Ricciardo's no small satisfaction. Again and again he was on the point of
speaking to her, but refrained for fear; at length, however, he summoned
up his courage, and seizing his opportunity, thus addressed
her:--"Caterina, I implore thee, suffer me not to die for love of thee."
Whereto the damsel forthwith responded:--"Nay, God grant that it be not
rather that I die for love of thee." Greatly exhilarated and encouraged,
Ricciardo made answer:--"'Twill never be by default of mine that thou
lackest aught that may pleasure thee; but it rests with thee to find the
means to save thy life and mine." Then said the damsel:--"Thou seest,
Ricciardo, how closely watched I am, insomuch that I see not how 'twere
possible for thee to come to me; but if thou seest aught that I may do
without dishonour, speak the word, and I will do it." Ricciardo was
silent a while, pondering many matters: then, of a sudden, he
said:--"Sweet my Caterina, there is but one way that I can see, to wit,
that thou shouldst sleep either on or where thou mightst have access to
the terrace by thy father's garden, where, so I but knew that thou
wouldst be there at night, I would without fail contrive to meet thee,
albeit 'tis very high." "As for my sleeping there," replied Caterina, "I
doubt not that it may be managed, if thou art sure that thou canst join
me." Ricciardo answered in the affirmative. Whereupon they exchanged a
furtive kiss, and parted.

On the morrow, it being now towards the close of May, the damsel began
complaining to her mother that by reason of the excessive heat she had
not been able to get any sleep during the night. "Daughter," said the
lady, "what heat was there? Nay, there was no heat at all." "Had you
said, 'to my thinking,' mother," rejoined Caterina, "you would perhaps
have said sooth; but you should bethink you how much more heat girls have
in them than ladies that are advanced in years." "True, my daughter,"
returned the lady, "but I cannot order that it shall be hot and cold, as
thou perchance wouldst like; we must take the weather as we find it, and
as the seasons provide it: perchance to-night it will be cooler, and thou
wilt sleep better." "God grant it be so," said Caterina, "but 'tis not
wonted for the nights to grow cooler as the summer comes on." "What
then," said the lady, "wouldst thou have me do?" "With your leave and my
father's," answered Caterina, "I should like to have a little bed made up
on the terrace by his room and over his garden, where, hearing the
nightingales sing, and being in a much cooler place, I should sleep much
better than in your room." Whereupon:--"Daughter, be of good cheer," said
the mother; "I will speak to thy father, and we will do as he shall
decide." So the lady told Messer Lizio what had passed between her and
the damsel; but he, being old and perhaps for that reason a little
morose, said:--"What nightingale is this, to whose chant she would fain
sleep? I will see to it that the cicalas shall yet lull her to sleep."
Which speech, coming to Caterina's ears, gave her such offence, that for
anger, rather than by reason of the heat, she not only slept not herself
that night, but suffered not her mother to sleep, keeping up a perpetual
complaint of the great heat. Wherefore her mother hied her in the morning
to Messer Lizio, and said to him:--"Sir, you hold your daughter none too
dear; what difference can it make to you that she lie on the terrace? She
has tossed about all night long by reason of the heat; and besides, can
you wonder that she, girl that she is, loves to hear the nightingale
sing? Young folk naturally affect their likes." Whereto Messer Lizio made
answer:--"Go, make her a bed there to your liking, and set a curtain
round it, and let her sleep there, and hear the nightingale sing to her
heart's content." Which the damsel no sooner learned, than she had a bed
made there with intent to sleep there that same night; wherefore she
watched until she saw Ricciardo, whom by a concerted sign she gave to
understand what he was to do. Messer Lizio, as soon as he had heard the
damsel go to bed, locked a door that led from his room to the terrace,
and went to sleep himself. When all was quiet, Ricciardo with the help of
a ladder got upon a wall, and standing thereon laid hold of certain
toothings of another wall, and not without great exertion and risk, had
he fallen, clambered up on to the terrace, where the damsel received him
quietly with the heartiest of cheer. Many a kiss they exchanged; and then
got them to bed, where well-nigh all night long they had solace and
joyance of one another, and made the nightingale sing not a few times.
But, brief being the night and great their pleasure, towards dawn, albeit
they wist it not, they fell asleep, Caterina's right arm encircling
Ricciardo's neck, while with her left hand she held him by that part of
his person which your modesty, my ladies, is most averse to name in the
company of men. So, peacefully they slept, and were still asleep when day
broke and Messer Lizio rose; and calling to mind that his daughter slept
on the terrace, softly opened the door, saying to himself:--Let me see
what sort of night's rest the nightingale has afforded our Caterina? And
having entered, he gently raised the curtain that screened the bed, and
saw Ricciardo asleep with her and in her embrace as described, both being
quite naked and uncovered; and having taken note of Ricciardo, he went
away, and hied him to his lady's room, and called her, saying:--"Up, up,
wife, come and see; for thy daughter has fancied the nightingale to such
purpose that she has caught him, and holds him in her hand." "How can
this be?" said the lady. "Come quickly, and thou shalt see," replied
Messer Lizio. So the lady huddled on her clothes, and silently followed
Messer Lizio, and when they were come to the bed, and had raised the
curtain, Madonna Giacomina saw plainly enough how her daughter had
caught, and did hold the nightingale, whose song she had so longed to
hear. Whereat the lady, deeming that Ricciardo had played her a cruel
trick, would have cried out and upbraided him; but Messer Lizio said to
her:--"Wife, as thou valuest my love, say not a word; for in good sooth,
seeing that she has caught him, he shall be hers. Ricciardo is a
gentleman and wealthy; an alliance with him cannot but be to our
advantage: if he would part from me on good terms, he must first marry
her, so that the nightingale shall prove to have been put in his own cage
and not in that of another." Whereby the lady was reassured, seeing that
her husband took the affair so quietly, and that her daughter had had a
good night, and was rested, and had caught the nightingale. So she kept
silence; nor had they long to wait before Ricciardo awoke; and, seeing
that 'twas broad day, deemed that 'twas as much as his life was worth,
and aroused Caterina, saying:--"Alas! my soul, what shall we do, now that
day has come and surprised me here?" Which question Messer Lizio answered
by coming forward, and saying:--"We shall do well." At sight of him
Ricciardo felt as if his heart were torn out of his body, and sate up in
the bed, and said:--"My lord, I cry you mercy for God's sake. I wot that
my disloyalty and delinquency have merited death; wherefore deal with me
even as it may seem best to you: however, I pray you, if so it may be, to
spare my life, that I die not." "Ricciardo," replied Messer Lizio, "the
love I bore thee, and the faith I reposed in thee, merited a better
return; but still, as so it is, and youth has seduced thee into such a
transgression, redeem thy life, and preserve my honour, by making
Caterina thy lawful spouse, that thine, as she has been for this past
night, she may remain for the rest of her life. In this way thou mayst
secure my peace and thy safety; otherwise commend thy soul to God."
Pending this colloquy, Caterina let go the nightingale, and having
covered herself, began with many a tear to implore her father to forgive
Ricciardo, and Ricciardo to do as Messer Lizio required, that thereby
they might securely count upon a long continuance of such nights of
delight. But there needed not much supplication; for, what with remorse
for the wrong done, and the wish to make amends, and the fear of death,
and the desire to escape it, and above all ardent love, and the craving
to possess the beloved one, Ricciardo lost no time in making frank avowal
of his readiness to do as Messer Lizio would have him. Wherefore Messer
Lizio, having borrowed a ring from Madonna Giacomina, Ricciardo did there
and then in their presence wed Caterina. Which done, Messer Lizio and the
lady took their leave, saying:--"Now rest ye a while; for so perchance
'twere better for you than if ye rose." And so they left the young folks,
who forthwith embraced, and not having travelled more than six miles
during the night, went two miles further before they rose, and so
concluded their first day. When they were risen, Ricciardo and Messer
Lizio discussed the matter with more formality; and some days afterwards
Ricciardo, as was meet, married the damsel anew in presence of their
friends and kinsfolk, and brought her home with great pomp, and
celebrated his nuptials with due dignity and splendour. And so for many a
year thereafter he lived with her in peace and happiness, and snared the
nightingales day and night to his heart's content.


Guidotto da Cremona dies leaving a girl to Giacomino da Pavia. She has
two lovers in Faenza, to wit, Giannole di Severino and Minghino di
Mingole, who fight about her. She is discovered to be Giannole's sister,
and is given to Minghino to wife.

All the ladies laughed so heartily over the story of the nightingale,
that, even when Filostrato had finished, they could not control their
merriment. However, when the laughter was somewhat abated, the queen
said:--"Verily if thou didst yesterday afflict us, to-day thou hast
tickled us to such purpose that none of us may justly complain of thee."
Then, as the turn had now come round to Neifile, she bade her give them a
story. And thus, blithely, Neifile began:--As Filostrato went to Romagna
for the matter of his discourse, I too am fain to make a short journey
through the same country in what I am about to relate to you.

I say, then, that there dwelt of yore in the city of Fano two Lombards,
the one ycleped Guidotto da Cremona and the other Giacomino da Pavia, men
advanced in life, who, being soldiers, had spent the best part of their
youth in feats of arms. Now Guidotto, being at the point of death, and
having no son or any friend or kinsman in whom he placed more trust than
in Giacomino, left him a girl of about ten years, and all that he had in
the world, and so, having given him to know not a little of his affairs,
he died. About the same time the city of Faenza, which had long been at
war and in a most sorry plight, began to recover some measure of
prosperity; and thereupon liberty to return thither on honourable terms
was accorded to all that were so minded. Whither, accordingly, Giacomino,
who had dwelt there aforetime, and liked the place, returned with all his
goods and chattels, taking with him the girl left him by Guidotto, whom
he loved and entreated as his daughter. The girl grew up as beautiful a
maiden as was to be found in the city; and no less debonair and modest
was she than fair. Wherefore she lacked not admirers; but above all two
young men, both very gallant and of equal merit, the one Giannole di
Severino, the other Minghino di Mingole, affected her with so ardent a
passion, that, growing jealous, they came to hate one another with an
inordinate hatred. Right gladly would each have espoused her, she being
now fifteen years old, but that his kinsmen forbade it; wherefore seeing
that neither might have her in an honourable way, each determined to
compass his end as best he might.

Now Giacomino had in his house an ancient maid, and a man, by name
Crivello, a very pleasant and friendly sort of fellow, with whom Giannole
grew familiar, and in due time confided to him all his love, praying him
to further the attainment of his desire, and promising to reward him
handsomely, if he did so. Crivello made answer:--"Thou must know that
there is but one way in which I might be of service to thee in this
affair: I might contrive that thou shouldst be where she is when
Giacomino is gone off to supper; but, were I to presume to say aught to
her on thy behalf, she would never listen to me. This, if it please thee,
I promise to do for thee, and will be as good as my word; and then thou
canst do whatever thou mayst deem most expedient." Giannole said that he
asked no more; and so 'twas arranged.

Meanwhile Minghino on his part had made friends with the maid, on whom he
had so wrought that she had carried several messages to the girl, and had
gone far to kindle her to his love, and furthermore had promised to
contrive that he should meet her when for any cause Giacomino should be
from home in the evening. And so it befell that no long time after these
parleys, Giacomino, by Crivello's management, was to go sup at the house
of a friend, and by preconcert between Crivello and Giannole, upon signal
given, Giannole was to come to Giacomino's house and find the door open.
The maid, on her part, witting nought of the understanding between
Crivello and Giannole, let Minghino know that Giacomino would not sup at
home, and bade him be near the house, so that he might come and enter it
on sight of a signal from her. The evening came; neither of the lovers
knew aught of what the other was about; but, being suspicious of one
another, they came to take possession, each with his own company of armed
friends. Minghino, while awaiting the signal, rested with his company in
the house of one of his friends hard by the girl's house: Giannole with
his company was posted a little farther off. Crivello and the maid, when
Giacomino was gone, did each their endeavour to get the other out of the
way. Crivello said to the maid:--"How is it thou takest not thyself off
to bed, but goest still hither and thither about the house?" And the maid
said to Crivello:--"Nay, but why goest thou not after thy master? Thou
hast supped; what awaitest thou here?" And so, neither being able to make
the other quit the post, Crivello, the hour concerted with Giannole being
come, said to himself:--What care I for her? If she will not keep quiet,
'tis like to be the worse for her. Whereupon he gave the signal, and hied
him to the door, which he had no sooner opened, than Giannole entered
with two of his companions, and finding the girl in the saloon, laid
hands on her with intent to carry her off. The girl struggled, and
shrieked amain, as did also the maid. Minghino, fearing the noise, hasted
to the spot with his companions; and, seeing that the girl was already
being borne across the threshold, they drew their swords, and cried out
in chorus:--"Ah! Traitors that ye are, ye are all dead men! 'Twill go
otherwise than ye think for. What means this force?" Which said, they
fell upon them with their swords, while the neighbours, alarmed by the
noise, came hurrying forth with lights and arms, and protested that 'twas
an outrage, and took Minghino's part. So, after a prolonged struggle,
Minghino wrested the girl from Giannole, and set her again in Giacomino's
house. Nor were the combatants separated before the officers of the
Governor of the city came up and arrested not a few of them; among them
Minghino and Giannole and Crivello, whom they marched off to prison.
However, peace being restored and Giacomino returned, 'twas with no
little chagrin that he heard of the affair; but finding upon
investigation that the girl was in no wise culpable, he was somewhat
reassured; and determined, lest the like should again happen, to bestow
the girl in marriage as soon as might be.

On the morrow the kinsfolk of the two lovers, having learned the truth of
the matter, and knowing what evil might ensue to the captives, if
Giacomino should be minded to take the course which he reasonably might,
came and gave him good words, beseeching him to let the kindly feeling,
the love, which they believed he bore to them, his suppliants, count for
more with him than the wrong that the hare-brained gallants had done him,
and on their part and their own offering to make any amend that he might
require. Giacomino, who had seen many things in his time, and lacked not
sound sense, made answer briefly:--"Gentlemen, were I in my own country,
as I am in yours, I hold myself in such sort your friend that nought
would I do in this matter, or in any other, save what might be agreeable
to you: besides which, I have the more reason to consider your wishes,
because 'tis against you yourselves that you have offended, inasmuch as
this damsel, whatever many folk may suppose, is neither of Cremona nor of
Pavia, but is of Faenza, albeit neither I nor she, nor he from whom I had
her, did ever wot whose daughter she was: wherefore, touching that you
ask of me, I will even do just as you bid me." The worthy men found it
passing strange that the girl should be of Faenza; and having thanked
Giacomino for his handsome answer, they besought him that he would be
pleased to tell them how she had come into his hands, and how he knew
that she was of Faenza. To whom Giacomino replied on this wise:--"A
comrade and friend I had, Guidotto da Cremona, who, being at the point of
death, told me that, when this city of Faenza was taken by the Emperor
Frederic, he and his comrades, entering one of the houses during the
sack, found there good store of booty, and never a soul save this girl,
who, being two years old or thereabouts, greeted him as father as he came
up the stairs; wherefore he took pity on her, and carried her with
whatever else was in the house away with him to Fano; where on his
deathbed he left her to me, charging me in due time to bestow her in
marriage, and give her all his goods and chattels by way of dowry: but,
albeit she is now of marriageable age, I have not been able to provide
her with a husband to my mind; though right glad should I be to do so,
that nought like the event of yesterday may again befall me."

Now among the rest of those present was one Guglielmo da Medicina, who
had been with Guidotto on that occasion, and knew well whose house it was
that Guidotto had sacked; and seeing the owner there among the rest, he
went up to him, and said:--"Dost hear, Bernabuccio, what Giacomino says?"
"Ay," answered Bernabuccio, "and I gave the more heed thereto, for that I
call to mind that during those disorders I lost a little daughter of just
the age that Giacomino speaks of." "'Tis verily she then," said
Guglielmo, "for once when I was with Guidotto I heard him describe what
house it was that he had sacked, and I wist that 'twas thine. Wherefore
search thy memory if there be any sign by which thou thinkest to
recognize her, and let her be examined that thou mayst be assured that
she is thy daughter." So Bernabuccio pondered a while, and then
recollected that she ought to have a scar, shewing like a tiny cross,
above her left ear, being where he had excised a tumour a little while
before that affair: wherefore without delay he went up to Giacomino, who
was still there, and besought him to let him go home with him and see the
damsel. Giacomino gladly did so, and no sooner was the girl brought into
Bernabuccio's presence, than, as he beheld her, 'twas as if he saw the
face of her mother, who was still a beautiful woman. However, he would
not rest there, but besought Giacomino of his grace to permit him to lift
a lock or two of hair above her left ear; whereto Giacomino consented. So
Bernabuccio approached her where she stood somewhat shamefast, and with
his right hand lifted her locks, and, seeing the cross, wist that in very
truth she was his daughter, and tenderly wept and embraced her, albeit
she withstood him; and then, turning to Giacomino, he said:--"My brother,
the girl is my daughter; 'twas my house that Guidotto sacked, and so
sudden was the assault that my wife, her mother, forgot her, and we have
always hitherto supposed, that, my house being burned that same day, she
perished in the flames." Catching his words, and seeing that he was
advanced in years, the girl inclined to believe him, and impelled by some
occult instinct, suffered his embraces, and melting, mingled her tears
with his. Bernabuccio forthwith sent for her mother and her sisters and
other kinswomen and her brothers, and having shewn her to them all, and
told the story, after they had done her great cheer and embraced her a
thousand times, to Giacomino's no small delight, he brought her home with
him. Which coming to the ears of the Governor of the city, the worthy
man, knowing that Giannole, whom he had in ward, was Bernabuccio's son
and the girl's brother, made up his mind to deal leniently with Giannole:
wherefore he took upon himself the part of mediator in the affair, and
having made peace between Bernabuccio and Giacomino and Giannole and
Minghino, gave Agnesa--such was the damsel's name--to Minghino to wife,
to the great delight of all Minghino's kinsfolk, and set at liberty not
only Giannole and Minghino but Crivello, and the others their
confederates in the affair. Whereupon Minghino with the blithest of
hearts wedded Agnesa with all due pomp and circumstance, and brought her
home, where for many a year thereafter he lived with her in peace and


Gianni di Procida, being found with a damsel that he loves, and who had
been given to King Frederic, is bound with her to a stake, so to be
burned. He is recognized by Ruggieri dell' Oria, is delivered, and
marries her.

Neifile's story, with which the ladies were greatly delighted, being
ended, the queen called for one from Pampinea; who forthwith raised her
noble countenance, and thus began:--Mighty indeed, gracious ladies, are
the forces of Love, and great are the labours and excessive and unthought
of the perils which they induce lovers to brave; as is manifest enough by
what we have heard to-day and on other occasions: howbeit I mean to shew
you the same once more by a story of an enamoured youth.

Hard by Naples is the island of Ischia, in which there dwelt aforetime
with other young damsels one, Restituta by name, daughter of one Marin
Bolgaro, a gentleman of the island. Very fair was she, and blithe of
heart, and by a young gallant, Gianni by name, of the neighbouring islet
of Procida, was beloved more dearly than life, and in like measure
returned his love. Now, not to mention his daily resort to Ischia to see
her, there were times not a few when Gianni, not being able to come by a
boat, would swim across from Procida by night, that he might have sight,
if of nought else, at least of the walls of her house. And while their
love burned thus fervently, it so befell that one summer's day, as the
damsel was all alone on the seashore, picking her way from rock to rock,
detaching, as she went, shells from their beds with a knife, she came to
a recess among the rocks, where for the sake, as well of the shade as of
the comfort afforded by a spring of most cool water that was there, some
Sicilian gallants, that were come from Naples, had put in with their
felucca. Who, having taken note of the damsel, that she was very fair,
and that she was not yet ware of them, and was alone, resolved to capture
her, and carry her away; nor did they fail to give effect to their
resolve; but, albeit she shrieked amain, they laid hands on her, and set
her aboard their boat, and put to sea. Arrived at Calabria, they fell a
wrangling as to whose the damsel should be, and in brief each claimed her
for his own: wherefore, finding no means of coming to an agreement, and
fearing that worse might befall them, and she bring misfortune upon them,
they resolved with one accord to give her to Frederic, King of Sicily,
who was then a young man, and took no small delight in commodities of
that quality; and so, being come to Palermo, they did.

Marking her beauty, the King set great store by her; but as she was
somewhat indisposed, he commanded that, till she was stronger, she should
be lodged and tended in a very pretty villa that was in one of his
gardens, which he called Cuba; and so 'twas done. The purloining of the
damsel caused no small stir in Ischia, more especially because 'twas
impossible to discover by whom she had been carried off. But Gianni, more
concerned than any other, despairing of finding her in Ischia, and being
apprised of the course the felucca had taken, equipped one himself, and
put to sea, and in hot haste scoured the whole coast from Minerva to
Scalea in Calabria, making everywhere diligent search for the damsel, and
in Scalea learned that she had been taken by Sicilian mariners to
Palermo. Whither, accordingly, he hied him with all speed; and there
after long search discovering that she had been given to the King, who
kept her at Cuba, he was sore troubled, insomuch that he now scarce
ventured to hope that he should ever set eyes on her, not to speak of
having her for his own, again. But still, holden by Love, and seeing that
none there knew him, he sent the felucca away, and tarried there, and
frequently passing by Cuba, he chanced one day to catch sight of her at a
window, and was seen of her, to their great mutual satisfaction. And
Gianni, taking note that the place was lonely, made up to her, and had
such speech of her as he might, and being taught by her after what
fashion he must proceed, if he would have further speech of her, he
departed, but not till he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the
configuration of the place; and having waited until night was come and
indeed far spent, he returned thither, and though the ascent was such
that 'twould scarce have afforded lodgment to a woodpecker, won his way
up and entered the garden, where, finding a pole, he set it against the
window which the damsel had pointed out as hers, and thereby swarmed up
easily enough.

The damsel had aforetime shewn herself somewhat distant towards him,
being careful of her honour, but now deeming it already lost, she had
bethought her that there was none to whom she might more worthily give
herself than to him; and reckoning upon inducing him to carry her off,
she had made up her mind to gratify his every desire; and to that end had
left the window open that his ingress might be unimpeded. So, finding it
open, Gianni softly entered, lay down beside the damsel, who was awake,
and before they went further, opened to him all her mind, beseeching him
most earnestly to take her thence, and carry her off. Gianni replied that
there was nought that would give him so much pleasure, and that without
fail, upon leaving her, he would make all needful arrangements for
bringing her away when he next came. Whereupon with exceeding great
delight they embraced one another, and plucked that boon than which Love
has no greater to bestow; and having so done divers times, they
unwittingly fell asleep in one another's arms.

Now towards daybreak the King, who had been greatly charmed with the
damsel at first sight, happened to call her to mind, and feeling himself
fit, resolved, notwithstanding the hour, to go lie with her a while; and
so, attended by a few of his servants, he hied him privily to Cuba.
Having entered the house, he passed (the door being softly opened) into
the room in which he knew the damsel slept. A great blazing torch was
borne before him, and so, as he bent his glance on the bed, he espied the
damsel and Gianni lying asleep, naked and in one another's arms. Whereat
he was seized with a sudden and vehement passion of wrath, insomuch that,
albeit he said never a word, he could scarce refrain from slaying both of
them there and then with a dagger that he had with him. Then, bethinking
him that 'twere the depth of baseness in any man--not to say a king--to
slay two naked sleepers, he mastered himself, and determined to do them
to death in public and by fire. Wherefore, turning to a single companion
that he had with him, he said:--"What thinkest thou of this base woman,
in whom I had placed my hope?" And then he asked whether he knew the
gallant, that had presumed to enter his house to do him such outrage and
despite. Whereto the other replied that he minded not ever to have seen
him. Thereupon the King hied him out of the room in a rage, and bade take
the two lovers, naked as they were, and bind them, and, as soon as 'twas
broad day, bring them to Palermo, and bind them back to back to a stake
in the piazza, there to remain until tierce, that all might see them,
after which they were to be burned, as they had deserved. And having so
ordered, he went back to Palermo, and shut himself up in his room, very

No sooner was he gone than there came unto the two lovers folk not a few,
who, having awakened them, did forthwith ruthlessly take and bind them:
whereat, how they did grieve and tremble for their lives, and weep and
bitterly bewail their fate, may readily be understood.

Pursuant to the King's commandment they were brought to Palermo, and
bound to a stake in the piazza; and before their eyes faggots and fire
were made ready to burn them at the hour appointed by the King. Great was
the concourse of the folk of Palermo, both men and women, that came to
see the two lovers, the men all agog to feast their eyes on the damsel,
whom they lauded for shapeliness and loveliness, and no less did the
women commend the gallant, whom in like manner they crowded to see, for
the same qualities. Meanwhile the two hapless lovers, both exceeding
shamefast, stood with bent heads bitterly bewailing their evil fortune,
and momently expecting their death by the cruel fire. So they awaited the
time appointed by the King; but their offence being bruited abroad, the
tidings reached the ears of Ruggieri dell' Oria, a man of peerless worth,
and at that time the King's admiral, who, being likewise minded to see
them, came to the place where they were bound, and after gazing on the
damsel and finding her very fair, turned to look at the gallant, whom
with little trouble he recognized, and drawing nearer to him, he asked
him if he were Gianni di Procida. Gianni raised his head, and recognizing
the admiral, made answer:--"My lord, he, of whom you speak, I was; but I
am now as good as no more." The admiral then asked him what it was that
had brought him to such a pass. Whereupon:--"Love and the King's wrath,"
quoth Gianni. The admiral induced him to be more explicit, and having
learned from him exactly how it had come about, was turning away, when
Gianni called him back, saying:--"Oh! my lord, if so it may be, procure
me one favour of him by whose behest I thus stand here." "What favour?"
demanded Ruggieri. "I see," returned Gianni, "that die I must, and that
right soon. I crave, then, as a favour, that, whereas this damsel and I,
that have loved one another more dearly than life, are here set back to
back, we may be set face to face, that I may have the consolation of
gazing on her face as I depart." Ruggieri laughed as he replied:--"With
all my heart. I will so order it that thou shalt see enough of her to
tire of her." He then left him and charged the executioners to do nothing
more without further order of the King; and being assured of their
obedience, he hied him forthwith to the King, to whom, albeit he found
him in a wrathful mood, he spared not to speak his mind, saying:--"Sire,
wherein have they wronged thee, those two young folk, whom thou hast
ordered to be burned down there in the piazza?" The King told him.
Whereupon Ruggieri continued:--"Their offence does indeed merit such
punishment, but not at thy hands, and if misdeeds should not go
unpunished, services should not go unrewarded; nay, may warrant
indulgence and mercy. Knowest thou who they are whom thou wouldst have
burned?" The King signified that he did not. Whereupon Ruggieri:--"But
I," quoth he, "am minded that thou shouldst know them, to the end that
thou mayst know with what discretion thou surrenderest thyself to a
transport of rage. The young man is the son of Landolfo di Procida,
brother of Messer Gianni di Procida, to whom thou owest it that thou art
lord and king of this island. The damsel is a daughter of Marin Bolgaro,
whose might alone to-day prevents Ischia from throwing off thy yoke.
Moreover, these young folk have long been lovers, and 'tis for that the
might of Love constrained them, and not that they would do despite to thy
lordship, that they have committed this offence, if indeed 'tis meet to
call that an offence which young folk do for Love's sake. Wherefore,
then, wouldst thou do them to death, when thou shouldst rather do them
all cheer, and honour them with lordly gifts?" The King gave ear to
Ruggieri's words, and being satisfied that he spoke sooth, repented him,
not only of his evil purpose, but of what he had already done, and
forthwith gave order to loose the two young folk from the stake, and
bring them before him; and so 'twas done. And having fully apprised
himself of their case, he saw fit to make them amends of the wrong he had
done them with honours and largess. Wherefore he caused them to be
splendidly arrayed, and being assured that they were both minded to wed,
he himself gave Gianni his bride, and loading them with rich presents,
sent them well content back to Ischia, where they were welcomed with all
festal cheer, and lived long time thereafter to their mutual solace and


Teodoro, being enamoured of Violante, daughter of Messer Amerigo, his
lord, gets her with child, and is sentenced to the gallows; but while he
is being scourged thither, he is recognized by his father, and being set
at large, takes Violante to wife.

While they doubted whether the two lovers would be burned, the ladies
were all fear and suspense; but when they heard of their deliverance,
they all with one accord put on a cheerful countenance, praising God. The
story ended, the queen ordained that the next should be told by Lauretta,
who blithely thus began:--

Fairest ladies, what time good King Guglielmo ruled Sicily there dwelt on
the island a gentleman, Messer Amerigo Abate da Trapani by name, who was
well provided, as with other temporal goods, so also with children. For
which cause being in need of servants, he took occasion of the appearance
in Trapani waters of certain Genoese corsairs from the Levant, who,
scouring the coast of Armenia, had captured not a few boys, to purchase
of them some of these youngsters, supposing them to be Turks; among whom,
albeit most shewed as mere shepherd boys, there was one, Teodoro, by
name, whose less rustic mien seemed to betoken gentle blood. Who, though
still treated as a slave, was suffered to grow up in the house with
Messer Amerigo's children, and, nature getting the better of
circumstance, bore himself with such grace and dignity that Messer
Amerigo gladly gave him his freedom, and still deeming him to be a Turk,
had him baptized and named Pietro, and made him his majordomo, and placed
much trust in him. Now among the other children that grew up in Messer
Amerigo's house was his fair and dainty daughter, Violante; and, as her
father was in no hurry to give her in marriage, it so befell that she
became enamoured of Pietro, but, for all her love and the great conceit
she had of his qualities and conduct, she nevertheless was too shamefast
to discover her passion to him. However, Love spared her the pains, for
Pietro had cast many a furtive glance in her direction, and had grown so
enamoured of her that 'twas never well with him except he saw her; but
great was his fear lest any should detect his passion, for he deemed
'twould be the worse for him. The damsel, who was fain indeed of the
sight of him, understood his case; and to encourage him dissembled not
her exceeding great satisfaction. On which footing they remained a great
while, neither venturing to say aught to the other, much as both longed
to do so. But, while they both burned with a mutual flame, Fortune, as if
their entanglement were of her preordaining, found means to banish the
fear and hesitation that kept them tongue-tied.

Messer Amerigo possessed, a mile or so from Trapani, a goodly estate, to
which he was wont not seldom to resort with his daughter and other ladies
by way of recreation; and on one of these days, while there they tarried
with Pietro, whom they had brought with them, suddenly, as will sometimes
happen in summer, the sky became overcast with black clouds, insomuch
that the lady and her companions, lest the storm should surprise them
there, set out on their return to Trapani, making all the haste they
might. But Pietro and the girl being young, and sped perchance by Love no
less than by fear of the storm, completely outstripped her mother and the
other ladies; and when they were gotten so far ahead as to be well-nigh
out of sight of the lady and all the rest, the thunder burst upon them
peal upon peal, hard upon which came a fall of hail very thick and close,
from which the lady sought shelter in the house of a husbandman. Pietro
and the damsel, finding no more convenient refuge, betook them to an old,
and all but ruinous, and now deserted, cottage, which, however, still had
a bit of roof left, whereunder they both took their stand in such close
quarters, owing to the exiguity of the shelter, that they perforce
touched one another. Which contact was the occasion that they gathered
somewhat more courage to disclose their love; and so it was that Pietro
began on this wise:--"Now would to God that this hail might never cease,
that so I might stay here for ever!" "And well content were I," returned
the damsel. And by and by their hands met, not without a tender pressure,
and then they fell to embracing and so to kissing one another, while the
hail continued. And not to dwell on every detail, the sky was not clear
before they had known the last degree of love's felicity, and had taken
thought how they might secretly enjoy one another in the future. The
cottage being close to the city gate, they hied them thither, as soon as
the storm was overpast, and having there awaited the lady, returned home
with her. Nor, using all discretion, did they fail thereafter to meet
from time to time in secret, to their no small solace; and the affair
went so far that the damsel conceived, whereby they were both not a
little disconcerted; insomuch that the damsel employed many artifices to
arrest the course of nature, but to no effect. Wherefore Pietro, being in
fear of his life, saw nothing for it but flight, and told her so.
Whereupon:--"If thou leave me," quoth she, "I shall certainly kill
myself." Much as he loved her, Pietro answered:--"Nay but, my lady,
wherefore wouldst thou have me tarry here? Thy pregnancy will discover
our offence: thou wilt be readily forgiven; but 'twill be my woeful lot
to bear the penalty of thy sin and mine." "Pietro," returned the damsel,
"too well will they wot of my offence, but be sure that, if thou confess
not, none will ever wot of thine." Then quoth he:--"Since thou givest me
this promise, I will stay; but mind thou keep it."

The damsel, who had done her best to keep her condition secret, saw at
length by the increase of her bulk that 'twas impossible: wherefore one
day most piteously bewailing herself, she made her avowal to her mother,
and besought her to shield her from the consequences. Distressed beyond
measure, the lady chid her severely, and then asked her how it had come
to pass. The damsel, to screen Pietro, invented a story by which she put
another complexion on the affair. The lady believed her, and, that her
fall might not be discovered, took her off to one of their estates;
where, the time of her delivery being come, and she, as women do in such
a case, crying out for pain, it so befell that Messer Amerigo, whom the
lady expected not, as indeed he was scarce ever wont, to come there, did
so, having been out a hawking, and passing by the chamber where the
damsel lay, marvelled to hear her cries, and forthwith entered, and asked
what it meant. On sight of whom the lady rose and sorrowfully gave him
her daughter's version of what had befallen her. But he, less credulous
than his wife, averred that it could not be true that she knew not by
whom she was pregnant, and was minded to know the whole truth: let the
damsel confess and she might regain his favour; otherwise she must expect
no mercy and prepare for death.

The lady did all she could to induce her husband to rest satisfied with
what she had told him; but all to no purpose. Mad with rage, he rushed,
drawn sword in hand, to his daughter's bedside (she, pending the parley,
having given birth to a boy) and cried out:--"Declare whose this infant
is, or forthwith thou diest." Overcome by fear of death, the damsel broke
her promise to Pietro, and made a clean breast of all that had passed
between him and her. Whereat the knight, grown fell with rage, could
scarce refrain from slaying her. However, having given vent to his wrath
in such words as it dictated, he remounted his horse and rode to Trapani,
and there before one Messer Currado, the King's lieutenant, laid
information of the wrong done him by Pietro, in consequence whereof
Pietro, who suspected nothing, was forthwith taken, and being put to the
torture, confessed all. Some days later the lieutenant sentenced him to
be scourged through the city, and then hanged by the neck; and Messer
Amerigo, being minded that one and the same hour should rid the earth of
the two lovers and their son (for to have compassed Pietro's death was
not enough to appease his wrath), mingled poison and wine in a goblet,
and gave it to one of his servants with a drawn sword, saying:--"Get thee
with this gear to Violante, and tell her from me to make instant choice
of one of these two deaths, either the poison or the steel; else, I will
have her burned, as she deserves, in view of all the citizens; which
done, thou wilt take the boy that she bore a few days ago, and beat his
brains out against the wall, and cast his body for a prey to the dogs."

Hearing the remorseless doom thus passed by the angry father upon both
his daughter and his grandson, the servant, prompt to do evil rather than
good, hied him thence.

Now, as Pietro in execution of his sentence was being scourged to the
gallows by the serjeants, 'twas so ordered by the leaders of the band
that he passed by an inn, where were three noblemen of Armenia, sent by
the king of that country as ambassadors to Rome, to treat with the Pope
of matters of the highest importance, touching a crusade that was to be;
who, having there alighted to rest and recreate them for some days, had
received not a few tokens of honour from the nobles of Trapani, and most
of all from Messer Amerigo. Hearing the tramp of Pietro's escort, they
came to a window to see what was toward; and one of them, an aged man,
and of great authority, Fineo by name, looking hard at Pietro, who was
stripped from the waist up, and had his hands bound behind his back,
espied on his breast a great spot of scarlet, not laid on by art, but
wrought in the skin by operation of Nature, being such as the ladies here
call a rose. Which he no sooner saw, than he was reminded of a son that
had been stolen from him by corsairs on the coast of Lazistan some
fifteen years before, nor had he since been able to hear tidings of him;
and guessing the age of the poor wretch that was being scourged, he set
it down as about what his son's would be, were he living, and, what with
the mark and the age, he began to suspect that 'twas even his son, and
bethought him that, if so, he would scarce as yet have forgotten his name
or the speech of Armenia. Wherefore, as he was within earshot he called
to him:--"Teodoro!" At the word Pietro raised his head: whereupon Fineo,
speaking in Armenian, asked him:--"Whence and whose son art thou?" The
serjeants, that were leading him, paused in deference to the great man,
and so Pietro answered:--"Of Armenia was I, son of one Fineo, brought
hither by folk I wot not of, when I was but a little child." Then Fineo,
witting that in very truth 'twas the boy that he had lost, came down with
his companions, weeping; and, all the serjeants making way, he ran to
him, and embraced him, and doffing a mantle of richest texture that he
wore, he prayed the captain of the band to be pleased to tarry there
until he should receive orders to go forward, and was answered by the
captain that he would willingly so wait.

Fineo already knew, for 'twas bruited everywhere, the cause for which
Pietro was being led to the gallows; wherefore he straightway hied him
with his companions and their retinue to Messer Currado, and said to
him:--"Sir, this lad, whom you are sending to the gallows like a slave,
is freeborn, and my son, and is ready to take to wife her whom, as 'tis
said, he has deflowered; so please you, therefore, delay the execution
until such time as it may be understood whether she be minded to have him
for husband, lest, should she be so minded, you be found to have broken
the law." Messer Currado marvelled to hear that Pietro was Fineo's son,
and not without shame, albeit 'twas not his but Fortune's fault,
confessed that 'twas even as Fineo said: and having caused Pietro to be
taken home with all speed, and Messer Amerigo to be brought before him,
told him the whole matter. Messer Amerigo, who supposed that by this time
his daughter and grandson must be dead, was the saddest man in the world
to think that 'twas by his deed, witting that, were the damsel still
alive, all might very easily be set right: however, he sent post haste to
his daughter's abode, revoking his orders, if they were not yet carried
out. The servant, whom he had earlier despatched, had laid the sword and
poison before the damsel, and, for that she was in no hurry to make her
choice, was giving her foul words, and endeavouring to constrain her
thereto, when the messenger arrived; but on hearing the injunction laid
upon him by his lord, he desisted, and went back, and told him how things
stood. Whereupon Messer Amerigo, much relieved, hied him to Fineo, and
well-nigh weeping, and excusing himself for what had befallen, as best he
knew how, craved his pardon, and professed himself well content to give
Teodoro, so he were minded to have her, his daughter to wife. Fineo
readily accepted his excuses, and made answer:--"'Tis my will that my son
espouse your daughter, and, so he will not, let thy sentence passed upon
him be carried out."

So Fineo and Messer Amerigo being agreed, while Teodoro still languished
in fear of death, albeit he was glad at heart to have found his father,
they questioned him of his will in regard of this matter.

When he heard that, if he would, he might have Violante to wife,
Teodoro's delight was such that he seemed to leap from hell to paradise,
and said that, if 'twas agreeable to them all, he should deem it the
greatest of favours. So they sent to the damsel to learn her pleasure:
who, having heard how it had fared, and was now like to fare, with
Teodoro, albeit, saddest of women, she looked for nought but death, began
at length to give some credence to their words, and to recover heart a
little, and answered that, were she to follow the bent of her desire,
nought that could happen would delight her more than to be Teodoro's
wife; but nevertheless she would do as her father bade her.

So, all agreeing, the damsel was espoused with all pomp and festal cheer,
to the boundless delight of all the citizens, and was comforted, and
nurtured her little boy, and in no long time waxed more beautiful than
ever before; and, her confinement being ended, she presented herself
before Fineo, who was then about to quit Rome on his homeward journey,
and did him such reverence as is due to a father. Fineo, mighty well
pleased to have so fair a daughter-in-law, caused celebrate her nuptials
most bravely and gaily, and received, and did ever thereafter entreat,
her as his daughter.

And so he took her, not many days after the festivities were ended, with
his son and little grandson, aboard a galley, and brought them to
Lazistan, and there thenceforth the two lovers dwelt with him in easeful
and lifelong peace.


Nastagio degli Onesti, loving a damsel of the Traversari family, by
lavish expenditure gains not her love. At the instance of his kinsfolk he
hies him to Chiassi, where he sees a knight hunt a damsel and slay her
and cause her to be devoured by two dogs. He bids his kinsfolk and the
lady that he loves to breakfast. During the meal the said damsel is torn
in pieces before the eyes of the lady, who, fearing a like fate, takes
Nastagio to husband.

Lauretta was no sooner silent than thus at the queen's behest began
Filomena:--Sweet ladies, as in us pity has ever its meed of praise, even
so Divine justice suffers not our cruelty to escape severe chastisement:
the which that I may shew you, and thereby dispose you utterly to banish
that passion from your souls, I am minded to tell you a story no less
touching than delightsome.

In Ravenna, that most ancient city of Romagna, there dwelt of yore
noblemen and gentlemen not a few, among whom was a young man, Nastagio
degli Onesti by name, who by the death of his father and one of his
uncles inherited immense wealth. Being without a wife, Nastagio, as 'tis
the way with young men, became enamoured of a daughter of Messer Paolo
Traversaro, a damsel of much higher birth than his, whose love he hoped
to win by gifts and the like modes of courting, which, albeit they were
excellent and fair and commendable, not only availed him not, but seemed
rather to have the contrary effect, so harsh and ruthless and unrelenting
did the beloved damsel shew herself towards him; for whether it was her
uncommon beauty or her noble lineage that puffed her up, so haughty and
disdainful was she grown that pleasure she had none either in him or in
aught that pleased him. The burden of which disdain Nastagio found so
hard to bear, that many a time, when he had made his moan, he longed to
make away with himself. However he refrained therefrom, and many a time
resolved to give her up altogether, or, if so he might, to hold her in
despite, as she did him: but 'twas all in vain, for it seemed as if, the
more his hope dwindled, the greater grew his love. And, as thus he
continued, loving and spending inordinately, certain of his kinsfolk and
friends, being apprehensive lest he should waste both himself and his

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