Story 66

January 5, 2021

Two more sleepers are awakened in today’s tale! The sleepers in this story from Ennasuite are Marguerite de Navarre’s daughter, Jeanne d’Albret, Princess of Navarre, and her new husband, Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, who were married in 1548 (a year before Marguerite de Navarre’s death in 1549). After retiring to their room, following many hours of dancing at the home of a nobleman with whom they are lodging on their journey to the Guyenne region in southwestern France, they are awakened by an old chambermaid who mistakes them for a girl in the household and a “protonotary apostolical,” that is, a clerk in the pope’s service, and gives them a good scolding, accidentally calling the princess a “wicked shameless good-for-nothing” and the duke a “degenerate apostate”! She is mortified when she finds out what she has done, but they laugh “long and heartily” and tell the tale many times, always respecting the old woman’s wishes never to reveal the names of the two for whom she had mistaken them.

Parlamente says she thinks she knows the protonotary in question and suggests that he is a womanizer, but good and honorable “apart from that,” a comment that prompts Hircan to retort that it is his womanizing that makes him such a good man!

Jeanne d’Albret and Antoine de Bourbon, who became Queen and King of Navarre in 1555, were the parents of Henri de Bourbon (or Henri de Navarre), who brought peace to France after more than thirty years of civil war after he became King Henri IV. He reigned from 1589 to 1610. Here is a portrait of Henri IV from 1610, the year of his assassination. It was painted by Frans Pourbus the Younger and hangs in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland (RCIN 402972).

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