December 15, 2020
Today’s story is a good one for the winter season, as it begins on the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28) and ends with a romp in the snow.
It features a tapestry-maker in Tours who has a sexual relationship with his chambermaid, hiding it from his trusting wife and persuading the chambermaid that his wife is in full support. The tale ranges from the atrocious to the amusing, as the husband forces himself upon the chambermaid in her attic room, having brought hardened canes to commemorate the slaughter of the innocents which he proceeds to beat against the bed, and later frolics with her in his snowy garden early one morning, then doing the same with his wife so that she can insist to their spying neighbor that it was she whom the neighbor had seen having a sexy snowball fight. The discussion following the story is dominated by the married couple Parlamente and Hircan, who disagree strongly about its interpretation, with Parlamente denouncing the tapestry-maker’s deception of his wife and chambermaid and Hircan praising his ability to satisfy both women in one morning.
Here is a tapestry showing the massacre of the innocents, made in Brussels around 1530 in the workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Vatican Museum, photo by Jean-Pol Grandmont).