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March 20, 2016

The Decameron Day 4 Story 7 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

The Decameron Day 4 Story 7 by Giovanni Boccaccio- Summary

Storyteller: Emilia

In Florence, there lived a poor girl by the name of Simona, who despite her immense beauty had to support herself by spinning wool. She fell in love with a man by the name of Pasquino; he worked for a wool merchant delivering the wool to be spun. She kept her feelings for Pasquino a secret from everyone, including Pasquino. Pasquino purposely supervised Simona more than any of the other spinners; she enjoyed the attention. He ended up falling in love with her.

One day, he asked her to join him in a garden, and she agreed. She told her father that she was going to mass at the Indulgences of San Gallo with her friend Lagina, but instead they went to the garden to meet Pasquino and his friend Puccio, who was called Stramba which means crooked. Stramba and Lagina fell for each other instantly so the couples separated.

Pasquino and Simona settled down next to a sage bush. When they were finished having sex Pasquino took a sage leaf and rubbed it against his teeth whilst telling Simona that sage was good at removing everything that stuck to your teeth and gums after eating. Suddenly his face changed and he became blind and unable to speak and then he was dead. Simona began to scream. Stramba and Lagina came quickly and when they arrived they saw that Pasquino was swollen and covered with dark blotches. Stramba immediately accused Simona of poisoning him. Stramba was yelling so loud that people came running up to see what had happened, and not knowing any better they believed everything that Stramba said.

She was arrested and taken to the palace of the podesta. A judge was assigned to her case and he asked her what had happened. She told him everything, but he couldn't make up his mind if she was guilty or not so he took her back to where Pasquino's body was in the park and had her go over her story again. She retold him the story and even picked a sage leaf and rubbed it against her teeth and gums the way that Pasquino had. Stramba and a few of his friends sneered at her recounting and demanded that she be burned at the stake. Simona continued to rub her gums with the sage leaf, and like Pasquino she died. Everyone was stunned, including the judge. When he finally regained his senses, the judge announced that the sage bush was poisonous and ordered that it be chopped down and burned. Underneath the bush was a huge toad, whose venomous breath had made the bush poisonous. No one wanted to touch the toad, so they surrounded it with wood and burned it along with the bush. Pasquino and Simona were buried in the Church of San Paolo.


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