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March 19, 2016

The Decameron Day 3 Story 6 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

The Decameron Day 3 Story 6 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

Storyteller: Fiammetta

In Naples, there lived a rich and noble man named Ricciardo Minutolo. He was married to a very beautiful woman, but could not help falling in love with an even more beautiful woman named Catella. She was married to a noble man named Filippel Sighinolfo, whom she loved with every fiber of her being. Ricciardo tried to win the favor of Catella, but to no avail. She was a very jealous woman when it came to her husband, and upon hearing this Ricciardo devised a plan. He pretended to not be interested in Catella anymore on the pretense that he had fallen for someone else. He convinced all of Naples that he was no longer in love Catella, and especially Catella. For the longest time, due to his unabashed love for her, Catella treated Ricciardo with disgust, but now that he was no longer in love with her she began to greet him in the same pleasant manner that she greeted everyone else.

One hot day, many groups of ladies and knights went to the seashore, as was their custom. Catella and her friends went and Ricciardo and his friends went. Catella's group invited Ricciardo's group to join them and after much pseudo-hesitation on Ricciardo's part they did. The ladies began to tease Ricciardo about his new love affair, and he pretended to get angry. Ricciardo made a joking comment about Catella's husband having an affair, and Catella flew into a rage and wanted to know everything. He made her promise not to tell anyone anything that he was about to tell her until she had seen it with her own eyes. She agreed.

Ricciardo and Catella went off to the side so that no one could hear them. Ricciardo told her that Filippello was trying to court his wife. Filippello had been sending her secret messages urging her to meet him at the baths. Ricciardo told his wife to tell Filippello that she would meet him at the baths at nones the following day. Ricciardo then told Catella that she should go in his wife's place, and after she had lain with her husband for a while to reveal herself so that he would know that he had been found out. She believed every word that he said and agreed to his plan.

The next morning, Ricciardo went to the baths and asked the woman who ran the baths to help him. In the baths, there was a dark room that had no window and it was there that his plan was to be carried out. A bed was made in there and Ricciardo went in there to wait for Catella. She went to the baths as instructed and the woman in charge took her to the dark room. The room was so dark that they she did not recognize him. They embraced and lay together for a long time; both were very happy. Satisfied, Catella flew into a rage and began yelling at the man that she thought was her husband. She finally understood why he couldn't keep it up at home; he was giving it all away elsewhere. She called him a lousy, filthy dog. Ricciardo kept silent during her tirade. He tried to pull her near and caress her again, but she told him that she would never let him touch her again. She also told him that she might as well send for Ricciardo and make love to him, since he had tried to make love to Ricciardo's wife. He could take it no longer; he grabbed her and held her close to him telling her the truth. She tried to get away, but he held on to her. She tried to scream and he put his hand over her mouth. He told her that there was nothing that she could do about this now, what's done is done. If she tried to tell anyone what had happened one of two things would ensue: one, he would tell them that she came there on her own free will, and let's face it people are more willing to believe something bad than good; second, he and her husband would become mortal enemies, meaning that one or both of them could die by the other's hand. He also told her that he did not deceive her because he wanted to take something from her; instead he wanted to give something to her-his love. She forgave him and they lay together again for a long time. Ricciardo's kisses and embraces were much sweeter than her husband's ever were, so she and Ricciardo kept right on seeing each.


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