Story 69

January 8, 2021

Hircan’s last tale is set at the Château of Odos in southwestern France (about thirty miles from Cauterets), which is where Marguerite de Navarre died in December 1549 at age 57.

In this story, an equerry of the king—an officer responsible for the care of horses—tries to seduce his wife’s chambermaid while she is sifting grain in a back room. The chambermaid, who wants to keep her job, asks the man to take her place while she makes sure the coast is clear. He puts on her smock and gets to work, and she runs to get his wife. When his wife sees her “newly acquired servant,” she bursts out laughing and asks how much she should pay him. He throws smock and sieve to the floor in a fit of rage and prepares to fire the chambermaid, but his wife steps in, and, in the end, they live together in peace.

The discussion following this tale focuses on women’s needs, as our storytellers consider whether wives whose husbands love them perfectly still seek “animal satisfaction.” Oisille offers to tell a story that provides an answer to this question. (It’s another long one, so put on another pot of coffee, dear readers!)

Here’s a look at the Château d’Odos, which was modified significantly in the nineteenth century but still has some features visible from its thirteenth- and fifteenth-century construction.

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