Story 62

January 1, 2021

To begin the new year, we read Longarine’s story about a woman who, in relating an incident that she says will amuse her listeners, including a royal lady known “for her ability to tell a good story in an elegant style, as well as for her ability to laugh at a good story told by others,” accidentally reveals herself as her tale’s protagonist. She tells of a young married noblewoman who repeatedly refuses the advances of a neighbor but is surprised and raped by him in bed one morning. He acts in such haste that he does not remove his spurs, boots, or leggings, and when he leaves in equal haste, his spur catches on the top sheet and pulls it off. “No woman has ever been as embarrassed as I was,” she says, “when I found myself completely naked!”

Our storytellers debate whether or not the woman sinned. Longarine says that the fact that she told this story means that she took pleasure from this encounter, for otherwise “she would have wanted to erase it completely from her memory.” Geburon, by contrast, believes she bears no responsibility since she had no choice but to give in, exclaiming, “There she was, asleep in bed, and this man threatens her with death and public humiliation!” Nomerfide points out likewise that she had refused her neighbor so firmly that he “had to resort to deception and violence.” Like Longarine, however, Parlamente, says that the woman must have enjoyed herself, or she wouldn’t have transformed this incident into a humorous story, insisting “one should not give credit to a woman, unless she holds firm to the very end.”

Freudenberger shows the fully dressed man climbing out of bed, leaving the woman exposed as her maid enters the room. She covers her mouth but will not do so later, of course, when she tells her tale…

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