No more was said of the matter that evening, but on the morrow, at daybreak, Currado, who had by no means slept off his wrath, got up still swelling therewith, and ordered his horses, mounted Chichibio on a hackney, and saying to him:—“We shall soon see which of us lied yesternight, thou or I,” set off with him for a place where there was much water, beside which there were always cranes to be seen about dawn. Chichibio, observing that Currado’s ire was unabated, and knowing not how to bolster up his lie, rode by Currado’s side in a state of the utmost trepidation, and would gladly, had he been able, have taken to flight; but, as he might not, he glanced, now ahead, now aback, now aside, and saw everywhere nought but cranes standing on two feet. However, as they approached the river, the very first thing they saw upon the bank was a round dozen of cranes standing each and all on one foot, as is their wont, when asleep. Which Chichibio presently pointed out to Currado, saying:—“Now may you see well enough, Sir, that ’tis true as I said yesternight, that the crane has but one thigh and one leg; mark but how they stand over there.” Whereupon Currado:—“Wait,” quoth he, “and I will shew thee that they have each thighs and legs twain.” So, having drawn a little nigher to them, he ejaculated, “Oho!” Which caused the cranes to bring each the other foot to the ground, and, after hopping a step or two, to take to flight. Currado then turned to Chichibio, saying:—“How now, rogue? art satisfied that the bird has thighs and legs twain?” Whereto Chichibio, all but beside himself with fear, made answer:—“Ay, Sir; but you cried not, oho! to our crane of yestereve: had you done so, it would have popped its other thigh and foot forth, as these have done.” Which answer Currado so much relished, that, all his wrath changed to jollity and laughter:—“Chichibio,” quoth he, “thou art right, indeed I ought to have so done.”
Thus did Chichibio by his ready and jocund retort arrest impending evil, and make his peace with his master.
— Messer Forese da Rabatta and Master Giotto, the painter, journeying together from Mugello, deride one another’s scurvy appearance. —
Neifile being silent, and the ladies having made very merry over Chichibio’s retort, Pamfilo at the queen’s command thus spoke:—Dearest ladies, if Fortune, as Pampinea has shewn us, does sometimes bide treasures most rich of native worth in the obscurity of base occupations, so in like manner ’tis not seldom found that Nature has enshrined prodigies of wit in the most ignoble of human forms. Whereof a notable example is afforded by two of our citizens, of whom I purpose for a brief while to discourse. The one, Messer Forese da Rabatta by name, was short and deformed of person and withal flat-cheeked and flat-nosed, insomuch that never a Baroncio(1) had a visage so misshapen but his would have shewed as