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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio, by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Title: The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio
Author: Giovanni Boccaccio
Translator: John Payne
Release Date: December 3, 2007 [EBook #23700]
Language: English


Produced by Ted Garvin, Linda Cantoni, and the Online

Distributed Proofreading Team at

[Transcriber's Note: The original text does not observe the normal

convention of placing quotation marks at the beginnings of paragraphs

within a multiple-paragraph quotation. This idiosyncrasy has been

preserved in this e-text.

Archaic spellings have been preserved, but obvious printer errors have

been corrected.

In the untranslated Italian passage in Day 3, Story 10, the original

is missing the accents, which have been added using an Italian edition

of _Decameron_ (Milan: Mursia, 1977) as a guide.
John Payne's translation of _The Decameron_ was originally published

in a private printing for The Villon Society, London, 1886. The

American edition from which this e-text was prepared is undated.]


_Giovanni Boccaccio_

_Translated by_

_John Payne_



171 Madison Avenue






THE FIRST STORY. _Master Ciappelletto dupeth a holy friar with a false

confession and dieth; and having been in his lifetime the worst of

men, he is, after his death, reputed a saint and called Saint

Ciappelletto_ 16

THE SECOND STORY. _Abraham the Jew, at the instigation of Jehannot de

Chevigné, goeth to the Court of Rome and seeing the depravity of the

clergy, returneth to Paris and there becometh a Christian_ 25
THE THIRD STORY. _Melchizedek the Jew, with a story of three rings,

escapeth a parlous snare set for him by Saladin_ 28

THE FOURTH STORY. _A monk, having fallen into a sin deserving of very

grievous punishment, adroitly reproaching the same fault to his abbot,

quitteth himself of the penalty_ 30
THE FIFTH STORY. _The Marchioness of Monferrato, with a dinner of hens

and certain sprightly words, curbeth the extravagant passion of the

King of France_ 33
THE SIXTH STORY. _An honest man, with a chance pleasantry, putteth to

shame the perverse hypocrisy of the religious orders_ 35

THE SEVENTH STORY. _Bergamino, with a story of Primasso and the Abbot

of Cluny, courteously rebuketh a fit of parsimony newly come to Messer

Cane della Scala_ 37
THE EIGHTH STORY. _Guglielmo Borsiere with some quaint words rebuketh

the niggardliness of Messer Ermino de' Grimaldi_ 40

THE NINTH STORY. _The King of Cyprus, touched to the quick by a Gascon

lady, from a mean-spirited prince becometh a man of worth and

valiance_ 42

THE TENTH STORY. _Master Alberto of Bologna civilly putteth a lady to

the blush who thought to have shamed him of being enamoured of her_ 43

THE FIRST STORY. _Martellino feigneth himself a cripple and maketh

believe to wax whole upon the body of St. Arrigo. His imposture being

discovered, he is beaten and being after taken [for a thief,] goeth in

peril of being hanged by the neck, but ultimately escapeth_ 49

THE SECOND STORY. _Rinaldo d'Asti, having been robbed, maketh his way

to Castel Guglielmo, where he is hospitably entertained by a widow

lady and having made good his loss, returneth to his own house, safe

and sound_ 52

THE THIRD STORY. _Three young men squander their substance and become

poor; but a nephew of theirs, returning home in desperation, falleth

in with an abbot and findeth him to be the king's daughter of England,

who taketh him to husband and maketh good all his uncles' losses,

restoring them to good estate_ 57
THE FOURTH STORY. _Landolfo Ruffolo, grown poor, turneth corsair and

being taken by the Genoese, is wrecked at sea, but saveth himself upon

a coffer full of jewels of price and being entertained in Corfu by a

woman, returneth home rich_ 63

THE FIFTH STORY. _Andreuccio of Perugia, coming to Naples to buy

horses, is in one night overtaken with three grievous accidents, but

escapeth them all and returneth home with a ruby_ 66

THE SIXTH STORY. _Madam Beritola, having lost her two sons, is found

on a desert island with two kids and goeth thence into Lunigiana,

where one of her sons, taking service with the lord of the country,

lieth with his daughter and is cast into prison. Sicily after

rebelling against King Charles and the youth being recognized by his

mother, he espouseth his lord's daughter, and his brother being

likewise found, they are all three restored to high estate_ 75

THE SEVENTH STORY. _The Soldan of Babylon sendeth a daughter of his to

be married to the King of Algarve, and she, by divers chances, in the

space of four years cometh to the hands of nine men in various places.

Ultimately, being restored to her father for a maid, she goeth to the

King of Algarve to wife, as first she did_ 85
THE EIGHTH STORY. _The Count of Antwerp, being falsely accused, goeth

into exile and leaveth his two children in different places in

England, whither, after awhile, returning in disguise and finding them

in good case, he taketh service as a horseboy in the service of the

King of France and being approved innocent, is restored to his former

estate_ 100

THE NINTH STORY. _Bernabo of Genoa, duped by Ambrogiuolo, loseth his

good and commandeth that his innocent wife be put to death. She

escapeth and serveth the Soldan in a man's habit. Here she lighteth

upon the deceiver of her husband and bringeth the latter to

Alexandria, where, her traducer being punished, she resumeth woman's

apparel and returneth to Genoa with her husband, rich_ 111

THE TENTH STORY. _Paganino of Monaco stealeth away the wife of Messer

Ricciardo di Chinzica, who, learning where she is, goeth thither and

making friends with Paganino, demandeth her again of him. The latter

concedeth her to him, an she will; but she refuseth to return with him

and Messer Ricciardo dying, she becometh the wife of Paganino_ 120


THE FIRST STORY. _Masetto of Lamporecchio feigneth himself dumb and

becometh gardener to a convent of women, who all flock to lie with

him_ 129

THE SECOND STORY. _A horsekeeper lieth with the wife of King Agilulf,

who, becoming aware thereof, without word said, findeth him out and

polleth him; but the polled man polleth all his fellows on like wise

and so escapeth ill hap_ 134

THE THIRD STORY. _Under colour of confession and of exceeding niceness

of conscience, a lady, being enamoured of a young man, bringeth a

grave friar, without his misdoubting him thereof, to afford a means of

giving entire effect to her pleasure_ 137

THE FOURTH STORY. _Dom Felice teacheth Fra Puccio how he may become

beatified by performing a certain penance of his fashion, which the

other doth, and Dom Felice meanwhile leadeth a merry life of it with

the good man's wife_ 143

THE FIFTH STORY. _Ricciardo, surnamed Il Zima, giveth Messer Francesco

Vergellesi a palfrey of his and hath therefor his leave to speak with

his wife. She keeping silence, he in her person replieth unto himself,

and the effect after ensueth in accordance with his answer_ 147

THE SIXTH STORY. _Ricciardo Minutolo, being enamoured of the wife of

Filippello Fighinolfi and knowing her jealousy of her husband,

contriveth, by representing that Filippello was on the ensuing day to

be with his own wife in a bagnio, to bring her to the latter place,

where, thinking to be with her husband, she findeth that she hath

abidden with Ricciardo_ 152

THE SEVENTH STORY. _Tedaldo Elisei, having fallen out with his

mistress, departeth Florence and returning thither, after awhile, in a

pilgrim's favour, speaketh with the lady and maketh her cognisant of

her error; after which he delivereth her husband, who had been

convicted of murdering him, from death and reconciling him with his

brethren, thenceforward discreetly enjoyeth himself with his mistress_


THE EIGHTH STORY. _Ferondo, having swallowed a certain powder, is

entombed for dead and being taken forth of the sepulchre by the abbot,

who enjoyeth his wife the while, is put in prison and given to believe

that he is in purgatory; after which, being raised up again, he

reareth for his own a child begotten of the abbot on his wife_ 169
THE NINTH STORY. _Gillette de Narbonne recovereth the King of France

of a fistula and demandeth for her husband Bertrand de Roussillon, who

marrieth her against his will and betaketh him for despite to

Florence, where, he paying court to a young lady, Gillette, in the

person of the latter, lieth with him and hath by him two sons;

wherefore after, holding her dear, he entertaineth her for his wife_

THE TENTH STORY. _Alibech, turning hermit, is taught by Rustico, a

monk, to put the devil in hell, and being after brought away thence,

becometh Neerbale his wife_ 182


THE FIRST STORY. _Tancred, Prince of Salerno, slayeth his daughter's

lover and sendeth her his heart in a bowl of gold; whereupon, pouring

poisoned water over it, she drinketh thereof and dieth_ 194

THE SECOND STORY. _Fra Alberto giveth a lady to believe that the angel

Gabriel is enamoured of her and in his shape lieth with her sundry

times; after which, for fear of her kinsmen, he casteth himself forth

of her window into the canal and taketh refuge in the house of a poor

man, who on the morrow carrieth him, in the guise of a wild man of the

woods, to the Piazza, where, being recognized, he is taken by his

brethren and put in prison_ 201

THE THIRD STORY. _Three young men love three sisters and flee with

them into Crete, where the eldest sister for jealousy slayeth her

lover. The second, yielding herself to the Duke of Crete, saveth her

sister from death, whereupon her own lover slayeth her and fleeth with

the eldest sister. Meanwhile the third lover and the youngest sister

are accused of the new murder and being taken, confess it; then, for

fear of death, they corrupt their keepers with money and flee to

Rhodes, where they die in poverty_ 208

THE FOURTH STORY. _Gerbino, against the plighted faith of his

grandfather, King Guglielmo of Sicily, attacketh a ship of the King of

Tunis, to carry off a daughter of his, who being put to death of those

on board, he slayeth these latter and is after himself beheaded_ 213

THE FIFTH STORY. _Lisabetta's brothers slay her lover, who appeareth

to her in a dream and showeth her where he is buried, whereupon she

privily disinterreth his head and setteth it in a pot of basil.

Thereover making moan a great while every day, her brothers take it

from her and she for grief dieth a little thereafterward_ 216

THE SIXTH STORY. _Andrevuola loveth Gabriotto and recounteth to him a

dream she hath had, whereupon he telleth her one of his own and

presently dieth suddenly in her arms. What while she and a waiting

woman of hers bear him to his own house, they are taken by the

officers of justice and carried before the provost, to whom she

discovereth how the case standeth. The provost would fain force her,

but she suffereth it not and her father, coming to hear of the matter,

procureth her to be set at liberty, she being found innocent;

whereupon, altogether refusing to abide longer in the world, she

becometh a nun_ 220

THE SEVENTH STORY. _Simona loveth Pasquino and they being together in

a garden, the latter rubbeth a leaf of sage against his teeth and

dieth. She, being taken and thinking to show the judge how her lover

died, rubbeth one of the same leaves against her teeth and dieth on

like wise_ 225
THE EIGHTH STORY. _Girolamo loveth Salvestra and being constrained by

his mother's prayers to go to Paris, returneth and findeth his

mistress married; whereupon he entereth her house by stealth and dieth

by her side; and he being carried to a church, Salvestra dieth beside

him_ 228
THE NINTH STORY. _Sir Guillaume de Roussillon giveth his wife to eat

the heart of Sir Guillaume de Guardestaing by him slain and loved of

her, which she after coming to know, casteth herself from a high

casement to the ground and dying, is buried with her lover_ 232

THE TENTH STORY. _A physician's wife putteth her lover for dead in a

chest, which two usurers carry off to their own house, gallant and

all. The latter, who is but drugged, cometh presently to himself and

being discovered, is taken for a thief; but the lady's maid avoucheth

to the seignory that she herself had put him into the chest stolen by

the two usurers, whereby he escapeth the gallows and the thieves are

amerced in certain monies_ 235


THE FIRST STORY. _Cimon, loving, waxeth wise and carrieth off to sea

Iphigenia his mistress. Being cast into prison at Rhodes, he is

delivered thence by Lysimachus and in concert with him carrieth off

Iphigenia and Cassandra on their wedding-day, with whom the twain flee

into Crete, where the two ladies become their wives and whence they

are presently all four recalled home_ 244

THE SECOND STORY. _Costanza loveth Martuccio Gomito and hearing that

he is dead, embarketh for despair alone in a boat, which is carried by

the wind to Susa. Finding her lover alive at Tunis, she discovereth

herself to him and he, being great in favour with the king for

counsels given, espouseth her and returneth rich with her to Lipari_

THE THIRD STORY. _Pietro Boccamazza, fleeing with Agnolella, falleth

among thieves; the girl escapeth through a wood and is led [by

fortune] to a castle, whilst Pietro is taken by the thieves, but

presently, escaping from their hands, winneth, after divers

adventures, to the castle where his mistress is and espousing her,

returneth with her to Rome_ 256
THE FOURTH STORY. _Ricciardo Manardi, being found by Messer Lizio da

Valbona with his daughter, espouseth her and abideth in peace with her

father_ 261
THE FIFTH STORY. _Guidotto da Cremona leaveth to Giacomino da Pavia a

daughter of his and dieth. Giannole di Severino and Minghino di

Mingole fall in love with the girl at Faenza and come to blows on her

account. Ultimately she is proved to be Giannole's sister and is given

to Minghino to wife_ 265
THE SIXTH STORY. _Gianni di Procida being found with a young lady,

whom he loved and who had been given to King Frederick of Sicily, is

bound with her to a stake to be burnt; but, being recognized by

Ruggieri dell' Oria, escapeth and becometh her husband_ 269

THE SEVENTH STORY. _Teodoro, being enamoured of Violante, daughter of

Messer Amerigo his lord, getteth her with child and is condemned to be

hanged; but, being recognized and delivered by his father, as they are

leading him to the gallows, scourging him the while, he taketh

Violante to wife_ 273

THE EIGHTH STORY. _Nastagio degli Onesti, falling in love with a lady

of the Traversari family, spendeth his substance, without being

beloved in return, and betaking himself, at the instance of his

kinsfolk, to Chiassi, he there seeth a horseman give chase to a damsel

and slay her and cause her to be devoured of two dogs. Therewithal he

biddeth his kinsfolk and the lady whom he loveth to a dinner, where

his mistress seeth the same damsel torn in pieces and fearing a like

fate, taketh Nastagio to husband_ 278

THE NINTH STORY. _Federigo degli Alberighi loveth and is not loved. He

wasteth his substance in prodigal hospitality till there is left him

but one sole falcon, which, having nought else, he giveth his mistress

to eat, on her coming to his house; and she, learning this, changeth

her mind and taking him to husband, maketh him rich again_ 282
THE TENTH STORY. _Pietro di Vinciolo goeth to sup abroad, whereupon

his wife letteth fetch her a youth to keep her company, and her

husband returning, unlooked for, she hideth her gallant under a

hen-coop. Pietro telleth her how there had been found in the house of

one Arcolano, with whom he was to have supped, a young man brought in

by his wife, and she blameth the latter. Presently, an ass, by

mischance, setteth foot on the fingers of him who is under the coop

and he roareth out, whereupon Pietro runneth thither and espying him,

discovereth his wife's unfaith, but ultimately cometh to an accord

with her for his own lewd ends_ 286


THE FIRST STORY. _A gentleman engageth to Madam Oretta to carry her

a-horseback with a story, but, telling it disorderly, is prayed by her

to set her down again_ 296

THE SECOND STORY. _Cisti the baker with a word of his fashion maketh

Messer Geri Spina sensible of an indiscreet request of his_ 297

THE THIRD STORY. _Madam Nonna de' Pulci, with a ready retort to a not

altogether seemly pleasantry, imposeth silence on the Bishop of

Florence_ 299
THE FOURTH STORY. _Chichibio, cook to Currado Gianfigliazzi, with a

ready word spoken to save himself, turneth his master's anger into

laughter and escapeth the punishment threatened him by the latter_ 301
THE FIFTH STORY. _Messer Forese da Rabatta and Master Giotto the

painter coming from Mugello, each jestingly rallieth the other on his

scurvy favour_ 303
THE SIXTH STORY. _Michele Scalza proveth to certain young men that the

cadgers of Florence are the best gentlemen of the world or the Maremma

and winneth a supper_ 304
THE SEVENTH STORY. _Madam Filippa, being found by her husband with a

lover of hers and brought to justice, delivereth herself with a prompt

and pleasant answer and causeth modify the statute_ 306
THE EIGHTH STORY. _Fresco exhorteth his niece not to mirror herself in

the glass if, as she saith, it irketh her to see disagreeable folk_

THE NINTH STORY. _Guido Cavalcanti with a pithy speech courteously

flouteth certain Florentine gentlemen who had taken him by surprise_


THE TENTH STORY. _Fra Cipolla promiseth certain country folk to show

them one of the angel Gabriel's feathers and finding coals in place

thereof, avoucheth these latter to be of those which roasted St.

Lawrence_ 311


THE FIRST STORY. _Gianni Lotteringhi heareth knock at his door by

night and awakeneth his wife, who giveth him to believe that it is a

phantom; whereupon they go to exorcise it with a certain orison and

the knocking ceaseth_ 323

THE SECOND STORY. _Peronella hideth a lover of hers in a vat, upon her

husband's unlooked for return, and hearing from the latter that he

hath sold the vat, avoucheth herself to have sold it to one who is

presently therewithin, to see if it be sound; whereupon the gallant,

jumping out of the vat, causeth the husband scrape it out for him and

after carry it home to his house_ 326

THE THIRD STORY. _Fra Rinaldo lieth with his gossip and being found of

her husband closeted with her in her chamber, they give him to believe

that he was in act to conjure worms from his godson_ 329
THE FOURTH STORY. _Tofano one night shutteth his wife out of doors,

who, availing not to re-enter by dint of entreaties, feigneth to cast

herself into a well and casteth therein a great stone. Tofano cometh

forth of the house and runneth thither, whereupon she slippeth in and

locking him out, bawleth reproaches at him from the window_ 333
THE FIFTH STORY. _A jealous husband, in the guise of a priest,

confesseth his wife, who giveth him to believe that she loveth a

priest, who cometh to her every night; and whilst the husband secretly

keepeth watch at the door for the latter, the lady bringeth in a lover

of hers by the roof and lieth with him_ 336

THE SIXTH STORY. _Madam Isabella, being in company with Leonetto her

lover, is visited by one Messer Lambertuccio, of whom she is beloved;

her husband returning, [unexpected,] she sendeth Lambertuccio forth of

the house, whinger in hand, and the husband after escorteth Leonetto

home_ 341

THE SEVENTH STORY. _Lodovico discovereth to Madam Beatrice the love he

beareth her, whereupon she sendeth Egano her husband into the garden,

in her own favour, and lieth meanwhile with Lodovico, who, presently

arising, goeth and cudgelleth Egano in the garden_ 344

THE EIGHTH STORY. _A man waxeth jealous of his wife, who bindeth a

piece of packthread to her great toe anights, so she may have notice

of her lover's coming. One night her husband becometh aware of this

device and what while he pursueth the lover, the lady putteth another

woman to bed in her room. This latter the husband beateth and cutteth

off her hair, then fetcheth his wife's brothers, who, finding his

story [seemingly] untrue, give him hard words_ 348
THE NINTH STORY. _Lydia, wife of Nicostratus, loveth Pyrrhus, who, so

he may believe it, requireth of her three things, all which she doth.

Moreover, she solaceth herself with him in the presence of Nicostratus

and maketh the latter believe that that which he hath seen is not

real_ 353
THE TENTH STORY. _Two Siennese love a lady, who is gossip to one of

them; the latter dieth and returning to his companion, according to

premise made him, relateth to him how folk fare in the other world_



THE FIRST STORY. _Gulfardo borroweth of Guasparruolo certain monies,

for which he hath agreed with his wife that he shall lie with her, and

accordingly giveth them to her; then, in her presence, he telleth

Guasparruolo that he gave them to her, and she confesseth it to be

true_ 365
THE SECOND STORY. _The parish priest of Varlungo lieth with Mistress

Belcolore and leaveth her a cloak of his in pledge; then, borrowing a

mortar of her, he sendeth it back to her, demanding in return the

cloak left by way of token, which the good woman grudgingly giveth him

back_ 367
THE THIRD STORY. _Calandrino, Bruno and Buffalmacco go coasting along

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