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July 25, 2014

The Decameron Day 2 Story 2 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

The Decameron Day 2 Story 2 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

Storyteller: Filostrato

Beautiful ladies, the story that attracts my interest most contains a mixture of piety, misfortune, and love, and perhaps it serves no other purpose than its usefulness, but the story will be especially helpful to those who journey along the uncertain roads of love where those who do not regularly say the Our Father of St. Julian may very often find a good bed but a bad lodging (pp. 78).

There was a merchant named Rinaldo d'Asti, who was on his way home from a business trip in Bologna. On his way home he happened upon a group of three men that he assumed to be merchants; they were actually thieves. They knew he was a merchant and devised a plan to rob him. They lulled him into a false sense of security by speaking only of honesty and just dealings. As they traveled along together, they spoke of many things. One topic they spoke about was the prayers that men say to God.

One of the bandits asked Rinaldo what kind of prayers he usually says when he is on the road.

Rinaldo replied that he only knew a few prayers. He said that before he leaves the inn in the morning, he makes sure to say a prayer to Our Father and a Hail Mary for the souls of St. Julian's mother and father. He then prays to God and St. Julian to allow him to find an adequate lodging for the next night. He said that he has had troubles in the past while traveling, but he has always managed to get to the inn safely.

The man, who had asked the previous question, asked him if he had said his prayers that particular morning.

Rinaldo said that of course he had said them.

The man, who had been asking the questions, said to himself that Rinaldo was going to need all the help he could get. He then said to Rinaldo that he had never said the prayer that Rinaldo says and he has always found good lodging. He tells Rinaldo that he recites the Dirpisti or the De profundi, instead. He continues by sarcastically saying that we'll see who finds the better lodging tonight.

They continued on their journey until they came to a river crossing that was concealed and deserted.

The bandits decided that it was time to rob the merchant. They attacked Rinaldo and stole his money, horse, and clothes. Then they crossed the river and rode off down the road.

Rinaldo's servant saw what happened, and instead of helping Rinaldo, he rode off to Castel Guiglielmo. Rinaldo was left alone, wearing only a shirt. As the snow began to fall he looked for shelter, but found none. He began walking toward Castel Guiglielmo. He did not reach there until after dark, and the castle had already been closed up. He looked around and spotted a house, and decided he would stay there that night. He tried opening the door, but it was locked; so he gathered some hay together, making himself a bed for the night. Rinaldo blamed St. Julian for his predicament, and thought that St. Julian was not worth his faith.

Now, it happened that the house belonged to the Marquis Azzo's lover, who was a widow. That night the Marquis had planned on a romantic evening with the lady, but he was called away on urgent business. He sent word to her, telling her not to wait for him. The lady decided to take the bath that he had secretly drawn for her.

The bath tub happened to be on the same wall that Rinaldo was sleeping next to. She could hear him muttering to himself, and his teeth chattering. She sent one of her maids upstairs to look out the window and see what was making the noise. The maid saw Rinaldo, and she asked him who he was.

Rinaldo told her, and he begged her to have pity on him. She felt sorry for him, and went to tell her lady about him. The lady felt sorry for him also, and told her maid to let him in and feed him the Marquis' dinner. She also told her maid that he could spend the night there.

The maid let him in, and because he was shivering so badly, she had him take a bath. The lady had some of her deceased husband's clothes brought to him, and they fit him perfectly. Rinaldo once again thanked God and St. Julian for looking out for him.

While Rinaldo was bathing and getting dressed, the lady had a fire lit. She invited him to join her in front of the fire to eat his dinner with her. Rinaldo thanked her for her kindness. She asked him about his misfortune, and he told her the whole store in detail. The lady knew he was telling the truth, because she had heard about his servant in the castle. She told him that she knew where his servant was, and would be easily found in the morning.

While Rinaldo was eating, the lady looked at him and found him to be very handsome. After dinner, she consulted with her maid on whether she should take advantage of him or not. The maid told her to go for it. She went back to where Rinaldo was, and began trying to seduce him. She told him that he looked like her husband, and she wanted to kiss him. Rinaldo told her that he would allow her to fulfill her desires. They retired to the bedroom, and slept together many times that night.

The next morning, the lady wanted him to leave before anyone became suspicious. She gave him some really old clothes to wear, and some money. She told him to keep what happened between them the previous night a secret, and then Rinaldo left. He easily found his servant, and after changing into his own clothes Rinaldo and his servant prepared to leave. Just as they were about to leave, the three thieves that had robbed Rinaldo were being brought into the city. They had been caught on different charges, and they willingly admitted everything they had done to Rinaldo. Rinaldo's horse, clothes, and money were all returned to him. The only thing that was not was a pair of garters, because they could not remember where they had put them. As Rinaldo and his servant were leaving the city, these three thieves were hung.


Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella, Signet Classic, 1982.