Story 60

December 30, 2020

To end the sixth day of storytelling, Geburon tells us about a woman who is married to a good-natured but gullible man in Paris. She has an affair with a royal cantor in the court of Louis XII, then leaves her husband and follows the cantor to a house near Blois. Her husband begs her to return, but she refuses. Worried that the Church will force them to reconcile, she fakes her own death. She provides a convincing scene to the women who attend her on her deathbed, who witness her tears and apparent repentance and her progressive loss of the abilities to eat, speak, see, and hear. She receives the last rites in silence but with “sanctimonious gesticulation” and is buried after dark in the local cemetery, then disinterred in secret. She proceeds to live with the cantor “for fourteen or fifteen years,” during which time her husband, believing her dead, remarries and has several children with a virtuous woman. Eventually, however, the truth comes out—“rumor keeps nothing hidden for long”—and the Church orders the husband to come to Blois. By this time, François I has become king, and so the case is heard by his wife, Claude de France, and his mother, Louise de Savoie, regent for her son while he was off fighting in Italy. The two ladies compel the woman to return home to her husband, where she is “treated far better than she ever deserved.”

Our storytellers discuss women who have love affairs with priests and confessors. Saffredent claims that such women “think they’re more saintly than other women” and promises to begin the next day with a tale that proves his point.

After bearing seven children between 1515 and 1523, Claude de France died in 1524 (in Blois). Here is a drawing of her at the at the Musée de Louvre in Paris (INV33431).

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