— A scholar loves a widow lady, who, being enamoured of another, causes him to spend a winter’s night awaiting her in the snow. He afterwards by a stratagem causes her to stand for a whole day in July, naked upon a tower, exposed to the flies, the gadflies, and the sun. —
Over the woes of poor Calandrino the ladies laughed not a little, and had laughed yet more, but that it irked them that those that had robbed him of the pig should also take from him the capons. However, the story being ended, the queen bade Pampinea give them hers: and thus forthwith Pampinea began:—Dearest ladies, it happens oftentimes that the artful scorner meets his match; wherefore ’tis only little wits that delight to scorn. In a series of stories we have heard tell of tricks played without aught in the way of reprisals following: by mine I purpose in some degree to excite your compassion for a gentlewoman of our city (albeit the retribution that came upon her was but just) whose flout was returned in the like sort, and to such effect that she well-nigh died thereof. The which to hear will not be unprofitable to you, for thereby you will learn to be more careful how you flout others, and therein you will do very wisely.
’Tis not many years since there dwelt at Florence a lady young and fair, and of a high spirit, as also of right gentle lineage, and tolerably well endowed with temporal goods. Now Elena—such was the lady’s name—being left a widow, was minded never to marry again, being enamoured of a handsome young gallant of her own choosing, with whom she, recking nought of any other lover, did, by the help of a maid in whom she placed much trust, not seldom speed the time gaily and with marvellous delight. Meanwhile it so befell that a young nobleman of our city, Rinieri by name, who had spent much time in study at Paris, not that he might thereafter sell his knowledge by retail, but that he might learn the reasons and causes of things, which accomplishment shews to most excellent advantage in a gentleman, returned to Florence, and there lived as a citizen in no small honour with his fellows, both by reason of his rank and of his learning. But as it is often the case that those who are most versed in deep matters are the soonest mastered by Love, so was it with Rinieri. For at a festal gathering, to which one day he went, there appeared before his eyes this Elena, of whom we spoke, clad in black, as is the wont of our Florentine widows, and shewing to his mind