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or, Prince Galeotto
By Giovanni Boccaccio
The original, squashed down to read in about 40 minutes
Illustration to a 15th Century edition (Bibliotheque Nationale)
This collection of tales by an Italian lawyer is often held to be one of the first to try and depict realistic, spirited, characters. His stories have been re-used by, among others, Shakespeare, George Eliot, Keats and Tennyson. Decameron is meant to mean '100', but, this being an abridgement, you only get six of them.
Possession of The Decameron is still forbidden by federal law in the USA following an 1873 ruling on obscenity brought by the 'New York Society for the Suppression of Vice'. It has also been banned in South Africa and Australia.
or, Prince Galeotto
BEGINNETH here the book wherein are contained one hundred tales told in ten days by seven ladies and three men.
The Seven Beautiful Maidens
In the year of our Lord 1348 a terrible plague broke out in Florence, which, from being the finest city in Italy, became the most desolate. It was a strange malady that no drugs could cure; and it was communicated, not merely by conversing with those strickened by the pestilence, but even by touching their clothes, or anything they had worn. As soon as the purple spots, which were the sign of the disease, appeared on the body, death was certain to ensue within three days.
So great were the terror and disorder and distress, that all laws, human and divine, were disregarded. Everybody in Florence did just as he pleased. The wilder sort broke into the houses of rich persons, and gave themselves over to riotous living, exclaiming that, since it was impossible to avoid dying from the plague, they would at least die merrily. Others shut themselves up from the rest of the world, and lived on spare diet, and many thousands fled from their houses into the open country, leaving behind them all their goods and wealth, and all their relatives and friends. Brother fled from brother, wife from husband, and, what was more cruel, even parents forsook their own children. It was perilous to walk the streets, for they were strewn with the bodies of plague-strickened wretches, and I have seen with my own eyes the very dogs perish that touched their rags.
Between March and July a hundred thousand persons died in Florence, though, before the calamity, the city was not supposed to have contained so many inhabitants. But I am weary of recounting out late miseries, and, passing by everything that I can well omit, I shall only observe that, when the city was almost depopulated, seven beautiful young ladies, in deep mourning, met one Tuesday evening in Saint Mary's Church, where indeed they composed the whole of the congregation. They were all related to each other, either by the ties of birth, or by the more generous bonds of friendship. Pampinea, the eldest, was twenty-eight years of age; Fiammetta was a little younger; Filomena, Emilia, Lauretta, and Neifile were still more youthful; and Elisa was only eighteen years old.
After the service was over, they got into a corner of the church, and began to devise what they should do, for they were now alone in the world.
"I would advise," said Pampinea, "that we should leave Florence, for the city is now dangerous to live in, not merely by reason of the plague, but because of the lawless men that prowl about the streets and break into our houses. Let us retire together into the country, where the air is pleasanter, and the green hills and the waving corn-fields afford a much more agreeable prospect than these desolate walls."
"I doubt," said Filomena, "if we could do this unless we got some man to help us."
"But how can we?" exclaimed Elisa. "Nearly all the men of our circle are dead, and the rest have gone away."
While they were talking, three handsome young cavaliers- Pamfilo, Filostrato, and Dioneo- came into the church, looking for their sweethearts, who by chance were Neifile, Pampinea, and Filomena.
"See," said Pampinea with a smile, "fortune is on our side. She has thrown in our way three worthy gentlemen, who, I am sure, will come with us if we care to invite them."
She then acquainted the cavaliers with her design, and begged them to help her to carry it out. At first they took it all for a jest; but when they found that the ladies were in earnest, they made arrangements to accompany them. So the next morning, at the break of day, the ladies and their maids, and the cavaliers and their men-servants, set out from Florence, and after travelling for two miles they came to the appointed place. It was a little wooded hill, remote from the highway, on the top of which was a stately palace with a beautiful court, and fine galleries, and splendid rooms adorned with excellent paintings. And around it were fair green meadows, a delightful garden, fountains of water, and pleasant trees.
Finding that everything in the palace had been set in order for their reception, the ladies and their cavaliers took a walk in the garden, and diverted themselves by singing love-songs, and weaving garlands of flowers. At three o'clock, dinner was laid in the banqueting hall, and when this was over, Dioneo took a lute and Fiammetta a viol, and played a merry air, while the rest of the company danced to the music. When the dance was ended, they began to sing, and so continued dancing and singing until nightfall. The cavaliers then retired to their chambers, and the ladies to theirs, after arranging that Pampinea should be the queen of their company for the following day, and direct all their feasts and amusements.
The next morning Queen Pampinea called them all up at nine o'clock, saying it was unwholesome to sleep in the daytime, and led them into a meadow of deep grass shadowed by tall trees.
"As the sun is high and hot," she continued, "and nothing is to be heard but the chirping of grasshoppers among the olives, it would be folly to think of walking. So let us sit down in a circle and tell stories. By the time the tales have gone round, the heat of the sun will have abated, and we can then divert ourselves as best we like. Now, Pamfilo," she said, turning to the cavalier on her right hand, "pray begin."
Cymon and Iphigenia: A Tale of Love
Of all the stories that have come into my mind, said Pamfilo, there is one which I am sure you will all like, for it shows how strange and wonderful is the power of love. Some time ago, there lived in the island of Cyprus a man of great rank and wealth, called Aristippus, who was very unhappy because his son Cymon, though very tall and handsome, was feeble in intellect. Finding that the most skilful teacher could not beat the least spark of knowledge into the head of his son, Aristippus made Cymon live out of his sight, among the slaves in his country-house.
There Cymon used to drudge like one of the slaves, whom, indeed, he resembled in the harshness of his voice and the uncouthness of his manners. But one day as he was tramping round the farm, with his staff upon his shoulder, he came upon a beautiful maiden sleeping in the deep grass of a meadow, with two women and a manservant slumbering at her feet. Cymon had never seen the face of a woman before, and, leaning upon his staff, he gazed in blank wonder at the lovely girl, and strange thoughts and feelings began to work within him. After watching her for a long time, he saw her eyes slowly open, and there was a sweetness about them that filled him with joy.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" she said. "Please go away. You frighten me!"
"I will not go away," he answered; "I cannot!"
And though she was afraid of him, he would not leave her until he had led her to her own house. He then went to his father and said he wanted to live like a gentleman, and not like a slave. His father was surprised to find that his voice had grown soft and musical, and his manners winning and courteous. So he dressed him in clothes suitable to his high station, and let him go to school. Four years after he had fallen in love, Cymon became the most accomplished young gentleman in Cyprus. He then went to the father of Iphigenia, for such was her name, and asked for her in marriage. But her father replied that she was already promised to Pasimondas, a young nobleman of Rhodes, and that their nuptials were about to be celebrated.
"O Iphigenia," said Cymon to himself, on hearing the unhappy news, "it is now time for me to show you how I love you! Love for you has made a man of me, and marriage with you would make me as happy and as glorious as a god! Have you I will, or else I will die!"
He at once prevailed upon some young noblemen, who were his friends, to help him in fitting out a ship of war. With this he waylaid the vessel in which Iphigenia embarked for Rhodes. Throwing a grappling iron upon this ship, Cymon drew it close to his own. Then, without waiting for anyone to second him, he jumped among his enemies, and drove them like sheep before him, till they threw down their arms.
"I have not come to plunder you," said Cymon, "but to win the noble maiden, Iphigenia, whom I love more than aught else in the world. Resign her to me, and I will do you no harm!"
Iphigenia came to him all in tears.
"Do not weep, my sweet lady," he said to her tenderly. "I am your Cymon, and my long and constant love is worth more than all Pasimondas's promises."
She smiled at him through her tears, and he led her on board his ship, and sailed away to Crete, where he and his friends had relations and acquaintances. But in the night a violent tempest arose, and blotted out all the stars of heaven, and whirled the ship about, and drove it into a little bay upon the island of Rhodes, a bow-shot from the place where the Rhodian ship had just arrived.
Before they could put out to sea again, Pasimondas came with an armed host and took Cymon a prisoner, and led him to the chief magistrate of the Rhodians for that year, Lysimachus, who sentenced him and his friends to perpetual imprisonment, on the charge of piracy and abduction.
While Cymon was languishing in prison, with no hope of ever obtaining his liberty, Pasimondas prepared for his nuptials with Iphigenia. Now Pasimondas had a younger brother called Hormisdas, who wanted to marry a beautiful lady, Cassandra, with whom the chief magistrate Lysimachus was also in love. Pasimondas thought it would save a good deal of trouble and expense if he and his brother were to marry at the same time. So he arranged that this should be done. Thereupon Lysimachus was greatly angered. After a long debate with himself, honour gave way to love, and he resolved at all hazards to carry off Cassandra.
But whom should he get as companions in this wild enterprise? He at once thought of Cymon and his friends, and he fetched them out of prison and armed them, and concealed them in his house. On the wedding-day he divided them into three parties. One went down to the shore and secured a ship; one watched at the gate of Pasimondas's house; and the third party, headed by Cymon and Lysimachus, rushed with drawn swords into the bridal chamber and killed the two bridegrooms, and bore the tearful but by no means unwilling brides to the ship, and sailed joyfully away for Crete.
There they espoused their ladies, amidst the congratulations of their relatives and friends; and though, by reason of their actions, a great quarrel ensued between the two islands of Cyprus and Rhodes, everything was at last amicably adjusted. Cymon then returned with Iphigenia to Cyprus, and Lysimachus carried Cassandra back to Rhodes, and all of them lived very happily to the end of their days.
Alibech and Rustico: A Tale of the Devil
Dioneo began to speak as follows: "Charming ladies, maybe you have never heard tell how one putteth the devil in hell; wherefore, I will tell it you.
In the city of Capsa there was a rich man, who had a fair young daughter, by name Alibech. She, being a heathen, one day asked of a Christian how one might best serve God. The Christian answered that the great happiness of serving God best came to those who eschewed the things of the world. So, the girl, being but very simple and no more than fourteen years old, set off next morning all alone, to go to the desert of Thebais.
After some days, she reached the cell of a young hermit, a very devout and good man, named Rustico. He received her, and bade her to rest. But temptations tarried not, and laying aside devout thoughts, he fell to bethinking what course he should take so as to bring her to his pleasures, without her taking him for a debauched fellow.
Accordingly, he gave her to understand that the most acceptable service that could be rendered to God was to put back the devil into hell. The girl asked him how this might be done; 'Thou shalt soon know; do thou as thou shalt see me do.' So saying, he proceeded to put off his garments and abode stark naked, as likewise did the girl.
Whereupon Rustico, seeing her so fair, felt an accession of desire, and therewith came a certain insurgence of the flesh, which Alibech marking with surprise, saying: "Rustico, what is this, which I see thee have, that so protrudes, and which I have not?" "Oh! my daughter," said Rustico, "'tis the Devil: he is tormenting me most grievously." "Praise be to God," said the girl, "I see that I am in better case than thou, for no such Devil have I." "But instead," returned Rustico, "thou hast somewhat else that I have not." "Oh!" said Alibech, "what may that be?" "Hell," answered Rustico, "wilt thou have compassion on me and permit me to put my devil in hell, such wilt afford me great solace, and render to God a most acceptable service." Which said, he took the girl to one of the beds and taught her how to incarcerate this spirit accursed of God.
She began to find the game agreeable, and said to Rustico: "Now see I plainly that 'twas true, what the worthy men said at Capsa, of the service of God being so delightful: indeed I cannot remember that ever I had so much pleasure as in putting the Devil in hell."
But when she saw that Rustico had no more occasion for her to put the Devil in hell, she said to him one day: "Rustico, if thy Devil is chastened and gives thee no more trouble, my hell, on the other hand, gives me no peace; so thou wouldst do well to lend me the aid of thy Devil to allay the fervent heat of it." Rustico, accordingly satisfied her bytimes, but, overmuch desire on the one part was matched to a lack of power on the other.
It befell that a fire broke out in Capsa and burnt Alibech's father and his family in his own house. Thereupon, a young man called Neerbale, hearing that Alibech was alive, set out in search of her before the court laid hands upon her father's estate. To Rustico's great satisfaction he brought her back to Capsa, where he took her to wife and succeeded, in her right, to the ample inheritance of her father.
There, being asked by the women as to how she had served God in the desert, she answered that she served Him at putting the devil in hell, and with words and gestures, expounded it to them. Thereafter, telling it from one to another they brought it to a common saying that the most acceptable service one could render to God was to put the devil in hell, which byword is yet current there.
Gisippus and Titus: A Tale of Friendship
As we have learned of love, said Filomena, I will now relate a story showing the great power of friendship.
At the time when Octavius Caesar, who afterwards became the Emperor Augustus, was governing Rome as a triumvir, a young Roman gentleman, Titus Quintius Fulvus, went to Athens to study philosophy. There he became acquainted with a noble young Athenian named Gisippus, and a brotherly affection sprang up between them, and for three years they studied together and lived under the same roof.
In the meantime, Gisippus fell in love with a young and beautiful Athenian maiden named Sophronia, and a marriage was arranged between them. Some days before the marriage, Gisippus took his friend with him on a visit to his lady. It was the first time that Titus had seen Sophronia, and as he looked upon her beauty he grew as much enamoured as ever a man in the world was with a woman. So great was his passion that he could neither eat nor sleep, and he grew so sick that at last he was unable to rise from his bed. Gisippus was extremely grieved at his illness, and knowing that it must have been caused by some secret malady of the mind, he pressed him to reveal the cause of his grief. At length Titus, unable to restrain himself any longer, said, with his face streaming with tears:
"O Gisippus, I am unworthy of the name of friend! I have fallen in love with Sophronia, and it is killing me. How base I am! But pardon me, my dear friend, for I feel that I shall soon be punished for my disloyalty by death!"
Gisippus stood for some time in suspense by the bed side of Titus, divided between the claims of love and the claims of friendship. But at last he resolved to save his friend's life at the cost of his own happiness. Some days afterwards, Sophronia was brought to his house for the bridal ceremony to be consummated. Going softly into the bridal chamber where the bride was lying, he put out the candles, and then went silently to Titus, and told him that he might be the bridegroom. Titus was so overcome with shame that he refused to go; but Gisippus so passionately entreated him, that at last he consented. Going into the dark bridal chamber, he softly asked Sophronia if she would be his wife. She, thinking it was Gisippus, replied, "Yes." Then, taking a ring of value, and putting it upon her finger, Titus said: "And I will be your husband."
In the morning, Sophronia discovered the trick that had been put upon her. Stealing out of the house, she went to her father and mother, and told them that Gisippus had deceived her, and married her to Titus. Great was the resentment against Gisippus throughout Athens, for Sophronia came of a very ancient and noble family.
But seeing that what had been done could not be undone, the parents of the bride at last allowed Titus to lead her to Rome, where the scandal would not be known. But when Titus was gone, they resolved to take vengeance upon Gisippus. A powerful party was formed against him, who succeeded in getting him stripped of all his possessions, driven from Athens, and condemned to perpetual exile.
Friendless and beggared, Gisippus slowly travelled on foot to Rome, intending to ask Titus to help him. He found that his friend was now a rich and powerful man, enjoying the favour of the young Prince Octavius, and living in a splendid palace. Gisippus did not dare to enter it, as his clothes were now worn to rags, so he stood humbly by the gate like a beggar, hoping that his friend would recognise him and speak to him. But Titus came out in a hurry, and never even stopped to look at him; and Gisippus, thinking that he was now despised, went away confounded with grief and despair.
Wandering at random about the streets, he came at nightfall to a cavern where thieves were wont to gather, and laid down on the hard ground and wept himself to sleep. While he was sleeping, two thieves entered with their booty and began to quarrel about it, whereupon one killed the other and fled. In the morning some watchmen found Gisippus sleeping beside the dead body, and arrested him.
"Yes, I killed him," said Gisippus, who was now resolved to die, and thought that this would be a better way than taking his own life. Thereupon, the judge sentenced him to be crucified, which was the usual manner of death in these cases. By a strange chance, however, Titus came into the hall to defend a poor client. He instantly recognised Gisippus, and, wondering greatly at the sad change of his fortune, he determined at all costs to save him. But the case had gone so far that there was only one way of doing this. And Titus took it. Stepping resolutely up to the judge, he greatly astonished everyone by exclaiming:
"Recall thy sentence. This person is innocent; I killed the man!"
Gisippus turned round in astonishment, and seeing Titus, he concluded that he was trying to save him for friendship's sake. But he was determined that he would not accept the sacrifice.
"Do not believe him, sir. I was the murderer. Let the punishment fall on me," he said to the judge.
The judge was amazed to see two men contending for the torture of crucifixion with as much eagerness as if it had been the highest honour in the world; and suddenly a notorious thief, who had been standing in the court, came forward and made this surprising declaration:
"This strange debate has so moved me that I will confess everything," he said. "You cannot believe, sir, that either of these men committed the murder. What should a man of the rank and wealth of Titus have to do in a thieves' cavern? He was never there. But this poor, ragged stranger was sleeping in a corner when I and my fellow entered. Thieves, you know, sometimes fall out, especially over their booty. This was what happened last night; and, to put an end to the quarrel, I used a knife."
The appearance of a third self-accuser so perplexed the judge that he put the case before Octavius Caesar, and Caesar called the three men up before him. Thereupon Titus and Gisippus related to him at length the strange story of their friendship, and he set the two friends at liberty, and even pardoned the thief for their sakes.
Titus then took Gisippus to his house and forced him to accept a half of his great wealth, and married him to his sister Fulvia, a very charming and lovely young noblewoman.
For the rest of their lives Titus and Sophronia, and Gisippus and Fulvia, lived very happily together in the same palace in Rome, and every day added something to their contentment and felicity.
The Three Rings: A Tale of Ingenuity
It was now Neifile's turn to tell a story, and she said that as there had been much controversy at Florence during the plague concerning religion, this had put her in mind of the tale of Melchizedeck.
This man was a very rich Jew, who lived at Alexandria in the reign of great Sultan Saladin. Saladin, being much impoverished by his wars, had a mind to rob Melchizedeck. In order to get a pretext for plundering the Jew, he sent for him.
"I hear that thou art very wise in religious matters," said Saladin, "and I wish to know which religion thou judgest to be the true one-the Jewish, the Mohammedan, or the Christian?"
The Jew saw that Saladin wanted to trap him. If he said that the Jewish or the Christian faith was the true one, he would be condemned as an infidel. If, on the other hand, he agreed that the Mohammedan religion was preferable to the others, the sultan would say that a wealthy believer ought to contribute largely to the expenses of the state. After considering how best to avoid the snare, the wise Jew replied:
"Some time ago, your majesty, there was a man who had a ring of great beauty and value. And he declared in his will that the son to whom this ring was bequeathed should be the head of the family, and that his descendants should rule over the descendants of the other sons. For many generations his wishes were carried out; but at last the ring came into the possession of a man who had three sons, all virtuous and dutiful to their father, and equally beloved by him.
"Being at a loss which son to prefer above the others, the good man got a skilful craftsman to make two rings, which were so like the first that he himself scarcely knew the true one. On his deathbed he gave one of these rings privately to each of his sons. Each of them afterwards laid claim to the government of the family, and produced the ring which his father had given him. But the rings were so much alike that it was impossible to tell which was the true one, and even to this day no one has been able to decide upon the matter. Thus has it happened, sire, in regard to the three laws of faith derived from God-Jew, Mohammedan, and Christian. Each believes that he is the true heir of the Almighty; but it is just as uncertain which has received the true law as it is which has received the true ring."
Saladin was mightily pleased at the ingenious way in which Melchizedeck escaped from the snare that had been spread for him. Instead of taking by force the money that he wanted from the Jew, he desired him to advance it on loan. This Melchizedeck did, and Saladin soon afterwards repaid the money and gave him presents, besides maintaining him nobly at court and making him his life-long friend.
For some days the ladies and cavaliers entertained one another with dancing and singing and story-telling. And then, as the plague had abated in Florence, they returned to the city. But before they went Dioneo told them a very strange and moving tale.
Griselda: A Tale of Wifely Patience
Men, said Dioneo, are wont to charge women with fickleness and inconstancy; but there comes into my mind a story of a woman's constancy and a man's cruelty which, I think you will agree, is worth the telling. Gualtieri, the young Marquis of Saluzzo, was a man who did not believe that any woman could be true and constant all her life. And for this reason he would not marry, but spent his whole time in hawking and hunting. His subjects, however, did not want him to die without an heir, and leave them without a lord, and they were always pressing him to marry. They went so far at last as to offer to provide a lady for him. This made him very angry.
"If I want a wife, my friends," he said, "I will choose one myself. And, look you, whatever her birth and upbringing are, pay her the respect due to her as my lady, or you shall know to your cost how grievous it is to me to have taken a wife when I did not want one."
A few days afterwards he was riding through a village, not far from his palace, when he saw a comely shepherd girl carrying water from a well to her father's house.
"What is your name?" said the young marquis.
"Griselda," said the shepherd girl.
"Well, Griselda," said the Marquis of Saluzzo, "I am looking for a wife. If I marry you, will you study to please me and carry out all my demands, whatever they are, without a murmur or a sullen look?"
"Yes, my lord," said Griselda.
Thereupon, the marquis sent his servants to fetch some rich and costly robes, and, leading Griselda out by the hand, he clothed her in gorgeous apparel, and set a coronet upon her head, and putting her on a palfrey, he led her to his palace. And there he celebrated his nuptials with as much pomp and grandeur as if he had been marrying the daughter of the King of France.
Griselda proved to be a good wife. She was so sweet-natured, and so gentle and kind in her manners, that her husband thought himself the happiest man in the world; and her subjects honoured her and loved her very dearly. In a very short time, her winning behaviour and her good works were the common subject of talk throughout the country, and great were the rejoicings when a daughter was born to her.
Unfortunately, her husband got a strange fancy into his head. He imagined she was good and gentle merely because everything went well with her; and, with great harshness, he resolved to try her patience by suffering. So he told her that the people were greatly displeased with her by reason of her mean parentage, and murmured because she had given birth to a daughter.
"My lord," said Griselda, "I know I am meaner than the meanest of my subjects, and that I am unworthy of the dignity to which you have advanced me. Deal with me, I pray, as you think best for your honour and happiness, and waste no thought upon me."
Soon afterwards one of his servants came to Griselda, and said: "Madam, I must either lose my own life, or obey my lord's commands. He has ordered me to take your daughter, and-"
He would not say anything more, and Griselda thought that he had orders to kill the child. Taking it out of the cradle, she kissed it, and tenderly laid it in the servant's arms. The marquis sent the little girl to one of his relatives at Bologna, to be brought up and educated. Some years afterwards Griselda gave birth to a boy. The marquis, naturally enough, was mightily pleased to have an heir; but he took also this child away from his wife.
"I am not able to live any longer with my people," he said. "They say they will not have a grandson of a poor shepherd as their future lord. I must dispose of this child as I did the other."
"My lord," replied Griselda, "study your own ease and happiness without the least care for me. Nothing is pleasing to me that is not pleasing to you."
The next day the marquis sent for his son in the same way as he had sent for his daughter, and had him brought up with her at Bologna. His people thought that the children had been put to death, and blamed him for his cruelty, and showed great pity for his wife. But Griselda would not allow them to attack her husband, but found excuses for him.
In spite of this, the marquis did not yet believe in the constancy and fidelity of his wife, and about sixteen years after their marriage he resolved to put her to a test.
"Woman," he said, "I am going to take another wife. I shall send you back to your father's cottage in the same state as I brought you from it, and choose a young lady of my own rank in life."
With the utmost difficulty Griselda kept back her tears, and humbly consented to be divorced. The marquis stripped her of her fine raiment, and sent her back to her father's hut dressed in a smock. Her husband then gave it out that he was about to espouse the daughter of the Count of Panago; and, sending for Griselda, he said:
"I am about to bring home my new bride, but I have no woman with me to set out the rooms and order the ceremony. As you are well acquainted with the government of my palace, I wish you to act as mistress for a day or two. Get everything in order, and invite what ladies you will to the festival. When the marriage is over, you must return to your father's hut."
These words pierced like daggers to the heart of Griselda. She was unable to part with her love for her husband as easily as she had parted with her high rank and great fortune.
"My lord," said Griselda, "I swore that I would be obedient to you, and I am ready to fulfil all your commands."
She went into the palace in her coarse attire and worked with the servants, sweeping the rooms and cleaning the furniture. After this was done, she invited all the ladies in the country to come to the festival. And on the day appointed for the marriage she received them, still clad in her coarse attire, but with smiling and gentle looks. At dinner-time the marquis arrived with his new lady-who was indeed a very beautiful girl. After presenting her to all the guests, many of whom congratulated him on making so good an exchange, he said, with a smile, to Griselda:
"What do you think of my bride?"
"My lord," she replied, "I like her extremely well. If she is as wise as she is fair, you may be the happiest man in the world with her. But I very humbly beg that you will not take with this lady the same heart- breaking measures you took with your last wife, because she is young and tenderly educated, while the other was from a child used to hardship.
"Pardon me! Pardon me! Pardon me!" said the marquis. "I know I have tried you harshly, Griselda. But I did not believe in the goodness and constancy of woman, and I would not believe in them until you proved me in the wrong. Let me restore, in one sweet minute, all the happiness that I have spent years in taking away from you. This young lady, my dear Griselda, is your daughter and mine! And look! Here is our son waiting behind her."
He led Griselda, weeping for joy, to her children. Then all the ladies in the hall rose up from the tables, and taking Griselda into a chamber, they clothed her in fine and noble raiment, and stayed with her many days, feasting and rejoicing. And the marquis sent for Griselda's father, the poor shepherd, and gave him a suite of rooms in the palace, where he lived in great happiness with his daughter and his grandchildren and his noble son-in-law.
● Copyright © 2014 Glyn Hughes.
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