Story 29

November 29, 2020

Nomerfide tells the story of an aged farmer’s beautiful young wife who, surprised when her husband comes home while she is in the arms of the parish priest, has the priest climb up through a trap door and hide in a loft in their house. The priest covers the trap door with a winnowing basket but, when the farmer has fallen asleep and the priest peers out to see if the coast is clear, he and the basket both fall through the trap door, making a loud noise and rousing the farmer. The priest tells the farmer he has come to return the winnowing basket, thanks him, and makes his escape.

In the discussion of this tale, Marguerite de Navarre refers to the Roman de la Rose (see also the discussion of story 24), the allegorical poem begun by Guillaume de Lorris in the thirteenth century and continued by Jean de Meung, which launched a debate about the nature and role of women in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Querelle des femmes, of which the Heptameron is a part. Here, though, our storytellers focus more on class than on gender, as Parlamente marvels that “simple folk of low station in life,” as Geburon calls them, are troubled by love “when they have their energies taken up by so many other things.”

Maria Colino includes this story in her comic book-version of six tales from the Heptameron (Centre nationale de la bande dessinée, 2001). Here’s the page on which the priest falls through the trap door, along with a pitchfork rather than a winnowing basket.

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