Story 64

January 3, 2021

Parlamente’s story for today is designed to teach her listeners “to think twice before [they] refuse something” and “to recognize that the present is in constant change and to have thought for the future.” If not now, when?

In this story, a lady in Valencia (Spain) rejects the marriage proposal of a man who has loved her for five or six years and has received the approval of her family and friends. In despair, the man enters a Franciscan monastery. Astonished, the lady admits that she had only rejected him in order to test him, and she composes and sends him a poem in which she explains herself and asks him to return to her. (There are also poems in stories 13 and 24, and a song in story 19.) Receiving a negative response, she goes to the monastery, waits for him in a chapel, opens her arms to embrace him when he appears, faints, then awakes and finally speaks to him of her love. Although he is not unmoved, he remains firm in his commitment to the religious life and sends her away with two lines of verse that finally convince her of his resolve. She returns home “to lead a life as melancholy as the life now led by her cloistered suitor.”

Nomerfide expresses her regret that the man did not leave the monastery and marry the lady he had loved, a comment that prompts Simontaut and Hircan to decry the burdens of marriage.

Here’s a view of a cloister built in the fifteenth century at the Convento del Carmen in Valencia, now a museum and arts center.

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