November 15, 2020
Today, Longarine tells us about a beautiful young woman who, after several years of neglect by her husband, falls in love, first, with “a handsome prince” who is ordered away from her by the king and, then, with a “good-looking young man” with whom she spends time in secret. When her husband finds out and threatens to kill them both, she manages to calm his fury with a clever speech in which she points out that although the “law of man” judges men’s and women’s honor differently, there is no such double standard in the eyes of God, and that her husband’s wrongs are far worse than hers. Like story 13, this one features gifts of a ring (soon pawned by the young man who “was not so well endowed with riches as he was with good looks”!) and of a diamond (the woman’s pledge of goodwill to her young lover, although she eventually turns her affections to another man). Our storytellers all agree that this woman was not virtuous, but some express sympathy for her. Ennasuite points out “how heart-rending it is to love without having your love returned.” Longarine then asks Geburon to tell a story of a virtuous woman.
This story is set in the court of François I, brother of Marguerite de Navarre. As Nicolas Russell points out in his introduction to the second day of storytelling, many of these stories have close ties to our author’s family. We’ll see more of François I on Tuesday, in story 17.