Story 18

November 18, 2020

Today, Hircan tells us about a noble lord tested twice by the lady he loves, who first requires him to go to bed with her but receive only “her discourse and chaste kisses,” and then tricks him into getting into bed with an attractive young girl who “[flings] her arms around his neck” and speaks passionate words that “would have been enough to put the holiest hermit off his paternosters!” The lord passes both tests, demonstrating the constancy of his love, and receives the lady’s favors in the end.

As our storytellers discuss this man’s constancy and virtue and consider which trial was the most difficult for him, Simontaut declares that he “acted like an idiot the first time, and like a madman the second,” and Saffredant insists that he must have been impotent, going on to say that “when a man desires that sort of thing from a woman, the greatest honour he can do her is to take her by force.”

By their tales and comments, we are getting to know our storytellers’ characters well by now, especially this misogynist trio! For a reminder of who these ten storytellers are,and how they have come together, be sure to read Nora Martin Peterson’s excellent introduction to the Prologue to the Heptameron!

One thought on “Story 18

  • Yes! A big thanks to our excellent presenters on the Prologue, and for each day and each story. This represents a lot of work “en amont” that is most appreciated. Visiting this site is also a pleasant visual experience with the photographs, portraits, and works of art, most of them in color, that help us imagine the world in which our characters evolved.
    Here again, I smiled and laughed during the story, as I admired Marguerite’s talent for comic staging and comic eloquence while also appreciating the detailed references to the legacy of courtly love: dire tests of restraints and temptations that show a lady truly in charge and who decides when to stop being a Dame sans mercy… Of course, our misogynist trio could not take it and had to unfold a myriad of typical arguments to condemn such restraint on the part of the lord and lash out at the lady’s capacity for agency.

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