Story 49

December 19, 2020

Today, Hircan tells about a haughty foreign countess who seems to spurn all men except the king but who keeps a series of lovers hidden in her dressing room, granting each one her favors and providing light nourishment for a week, then dismissing him and inviting another one in. When the men, each unable to keep quiet about what he believes is his unique good fortune, discover that they have all received the same treatment, they decide to shame the woman by greeting her, on her way to church, dressed all in black and with chains around their necks to symbolize the “prison” they have shared. The brazen countess feels no remorse, however, and the shame that the men “had desired to bring down on her fell upon them, and remained in their hearts.”

After hearing about this wicked woman, our female storytellers immediately start making the sign of the cross, but Oisille cautions them to remain humble and remember that she was abandoned by God. The conversation then turns to focus not on the countess but on her lovers, who were unable to refrain from boasting of their conquest and tried to shame her publicly.

Freudenberger’s illustration shows the men wearing chains and evidently delighting in their ploy as they accost the countess at the entrance to the church.

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