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Boccaccio's The Decameron: Day 3, Story 9 (Summary)

Summary of Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron Day 3 Story 9


The Queen told the ninth story of the third day.

In France, there lived a man named Isnardo, who was the Count of Rossiglione. He was perpetually ill so he kept a doctor by the name of Master Gerardo of Narbonne constantly at his side. The doctor's daughter Giletta fell passionately in love with the Count's son Beltramo; so when the Count died and Beltramo was sent to live with the King of France, Giletta became very upset. Giletta's father died not long after the Count, leaving her alone and wealthy. She was not yet of marrying age, so her family kept a close eye on her, which prevented her from going to Paris to see Beltramo. When she finally reached marriageable age her family began trying to find her a husband, but Giletta still had her heart set on Beltramo so she refused them all.

She longed to be reunited with her beloved, but had no means of ascertaining it. One day, news came that the King had a tumor on his chest that had been treated incorrectly and had become very painful. Giletta, armed with the knowledge bestowed upon her by her father, mixed together some herbs and set out for Paris. She managed to obtain an audience with the King, and asked to see his affliction. The King showed her and she told him that she could cure him within eight days' time; he scoffed at her initially, but finally accented. They agreed that if she cured him within the eight days that she would be rewarded a husband of her choosing, and if she didn't cure him she would be burned.

It took less than the eight days for the King to regain his health, and as promised he agreed to give her Beltramo as a husband. Beltramo was not very happy about this, because she was not of the same nobility as he. The King managed to convince Beltramo take Giletta as his bride, and Beltramo begrudgingly married her. Once married he told the King that he wished to consummate his marriage in his homeland and the King granted his request. Beltramo mounted his horse and pretended to ride off to his lands, but instead went to Tuscany where he knew thst there was a war taking place. He remained there for a long time.

Giletta was upset by Beltramo's behavior, but she hoped that she would be able to earn his favor. She went to his estate in Rossiglione, which was in poor condition. She restored the properties to their former glory and sent word to Beltramo via two knights about all that she had done. She begged him to come home, but he refused saying that the only way he would be with her is if she wore his ring and bore him a son. The ring was a prized possession of his that he always wore because it was said to have some sort of power. Upon hearing this, the lady became very sad and made it known that she intended to leave Rossiglione and devote her life to pilgrimages. She dressed herself in pilgrim's garb and left Rossiglione in the company of one of her cousins and one of her chambermaids. She took with her a large sum of money and some precious jewels. They made their way to Florence and checked into an inn. She kept her identity a secret from everyone.




The following day she happened to see her husband Beltramo pass by the inn, and pretending not to know who he wa,s she asked the innkeeper about him. She told Giletta that he was the much beloved Count Beltramo. She was also informed that he was madly in love with a poor noblewoman in town, who lived with her mother. She decided to go to visit the poor noblewoman and her mother.

Giletta asked to speak with the mother privately, and when they were alone she told the mother everything and asked for her help. The mother was apprehensive at first because she was worried about her daughter's reputation, but decided that it was the right thing to do. Giletta told her that she would give her money for her daughter's dowry, so that she could finally marry. Giletta asked her to discretely send word to Beltramo that he could finally enjoy himself with his beloved, but she must first be assured of his love by sending her his ring. Once he sent the ring, she was to send word to him that he could come to her and make love to her. He came to her and unknowingly made love to his wife. They lay together several times, and each morning when he left he gave her a precious jewel. This continued until she found herself pregnant. The poor noblewoman and her mother were given five hundred pounds and some precious jewels, and then he would leave for the family's country home. Giletta remained in Florence until after she gave birth to her twin sons while Beltramo returned to Rossiglione.

She returned to Rossiglione with her husband's ring and their two sons on the night of Beltramo's All Saints' Day banquet. She dressed in her pilgrim clothes and went to the party. She walked up to Beltramo and fell at his feet in front of everyone. She showed him his ring and their two sons, who looked just like him, and begged him to fulfill his promise to her. He was shocked and confused, so in front of everyone, she related all that had happened to her up to that point. Beltramo knew that she spoke the truth and embraced and kissed her. He recognized her as his legitimate wife, and then had her and their sons changed into more suitable garments. He loved her dearly from that day onward.

Sources

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. New York: Signet Classics, 1982.

Published on March 19, 2016 by Sophia Brookshire © All Rights Reserved

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