While the Black Death rages through fourteenth-century Florence, a group of young people retreat to the healthful air of the countryside and amuse themselves by telling tales of romance and adventure. This is the premise of Boccaccio's Decameron, a landmark of early Renaissance literature and one of the world's great story collections. Vast in scope, teeming with colorful characters, and rich in worldly wisdom, these 25 tales from the original 100 encompass a variety of ...
While the Black Death rages through fourteenth-century Florence, a group of young people retreat to the healthful air of the countryside and amuse themselves by telling tales of romance and adventure. This is the premise of Boccaccio's Decameron, a landmark of early Renaissance literature and one of the world's great story collections.
Vast in scope, teeming with colorful characters, and rich in worldly wisdom, these 25 tales from the original 100 encompass a variety of genres — folktales, ancient myths, fables, and anecdotes ranging from earthy satires of hypocritical clergy to gripping tales of murder and revenge and stories of passionate love. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats drew upon Boccaccio's masterpiece for inspiration, and the grand old storyteller’s fables continue to captivate modern readers.
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Table of Contents
Story I. Ser Ciappelletto cheats a holy friar by false confession, and dies;
and, having lived as a very bad man, is, on his death, reputed a saint,
and called San Ciappelletto.
Story IV. A monk lapses into a sin meriting the most severe punishment,
justly censures the same fault in his abbot, and thus evades the penalty. I
Story X. Master Alberto da Bologna honourably puts to shame a lady
who sought occasion to put him to shame in that he was in love with her.
Story II. Rinaldo d'Asti is robbed, arrives at Castel Guglielmo, and is
entertained by a widow lady; his property is restored to him, and he
returns home safe and sound.
Story V. Andreuccio da Perugia comes to Naples to buy horses, meets with
three serious adventures in one night, comes safe out ofthem all,
and returns home with a ruby.
Story VI. Madame Beritola loses two sons, is found with two kids on an
island, goes thence to Lunigiana, where one of her sons takes service with
her master, and lies with his daughter, for which he is put in prison. Sicily
rebels against King Charles, the son is recognized by the mother, marries
the master's daughter, and, his brother being discovered, is reinstated
in great honour.
Story VIII. The Count ofAntwerp, labouring under a false accusation,
goes into exile. He leaves his two children in different places in England,
and takes service in Ireland. Returning to England an unknown man,
he finds his sons prosperous. He serves as a groom in the army
ofthe King of France; his innocence is established, and he is restored
to his former honours.
Story I. Masetto da Lamporecchio feigns to be dumb, and obtains a gardener's place at a convent of women, who with one accord make haste to lie with him.
Story IX. Gillette of Narbonne cures the King of France ofa fistula, craves for spouse Bertrand de Rou8sillon, who marries her against his will, and hies him in despite to Florence, where, as he courts a young woman, Gillette lies with him in her stead, and has two sons by him; for which cause he afterwards takes her into favour and entreats her as his wife.
Story X. Alibech turns hermit, and is taught by Rustico, a monk, how the Devil is put in hell. She is afterwards conveyed thence, and becomes the wife of Neerbale.
Story 1. Tancred, Prince ofSalerno, slays his daughter's lover, and sends her his heart in a golden cup; she pours upon it a poisonous distillation, which she drinks and dies.
Story V. Lisabetta's brothers slay her lover: he appears to her in a dream, and shews her where he is buried: she privily disinters the head, and sets it in a pot ofbasil, whereon she daily weeps a great while. The pot being taken from her by her brothers, she dies not long after.
Story X. The wife of a leech, deeming her lover, who has taken an opiate, to be dead, puts him in a chest, which, with him therein, two usurers carry off to their house. He comes to himself, and is taken for a thief; but, the lady's maid giving the Signory to understand that she had put him in the chest which the usurers stole, he escapes the gallows, and the usurers are mulcted in moneys for the theft of the chest.
Story IV. Ricciardo Manardi is found by Messer Lizio da Valbona with his daughter, whom he marries, and remains at peace with her father.
Story IX. Federigo degli Alberighi loves and is not loved in return: he wastes his substance with 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.
Story 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.
Story 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 those with which St. Lawrence was roasted.
Story 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 ofthe house drawn sword in hand, and the husband afterwards escorts Leonetto home.
Story lX. Lydia, wife ofNicostratus, loves Pyrrhus, who to assure himself thereof, asks three things of her, all ofwhich she does, and therewithal enioys him in the presence of Nicostratus, and makes Nicostratus believe that what he saw was not real.
Story I. Gulfardo borrows moneys ofGuasparruolo, which he had 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.
Story II. The priest ofVarlungo 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.
Story 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 ofa 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.
Story III. Mitridanes, holding Nathan in despite by reason of his courtesy, journeys 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.
Story 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.
Story 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, eigning to be tired of her, and to have taken another wife, he turns her out ofdoors 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.