[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Decameron unit. Story source: The Decameron by Boccaccio, translated by J. M. Rigg (1903).
The Adventures of Ferondo (cont. again)
(see previous page for audio)Wherefore they sent word to his wife and kinsfolk, who came forthwith and mourned a while, after which Ferondo in his clothes was by the abbot's order laid in a tomb. The lady went home, saying that nothing should ever part her from a little son that she had borne Ferondo, and so she occupied herself with the care of her son and Ferondo's estate.
At night the abbot rose noiselessly and, with the help of a Bolognese monk in whom he reposed much trust and who was that very day arrived from Bologna, got Ferondo out of the tomb and bore him to a vault which admitted no light, having been made to serve as a prison for delinquent monks, and, having stripped him of his clothes and habited him as a monk, they laid him on a truss of straw and left him there until he should revive. Expecting which event and instructed by the abbot how he was then to act, the Bolognese monk (none else knowing aught of what was afoot) kept watch by the tomb.
The day after, the abbot with some of his monks paid a pastoral visit to the lady's house, where he found her in mourning weeds and sad at heart, and, after administering a little consolation, he gently asked her to redeem her promise. Free as she now felt herself and hampered neither by Ferondo nor by any other, the lady, who had noticed another beautiful ring on the abbot's finger, promised immediate compliance and arranged with the abbot that he should visit her the very next night.
So, at nightfall, the abbot donned Ferondo's clothes and, attended by his monk, paid his visit, and lay with her until matins to his immense delight and solace, and so returned to the abbey, and many visits he paid her on the same errand, whereby some that met him, coming or going that way, supposed that 'twas Ferondo perambulating those parts by way of penance, and fables not a few passed from mouth to mouth of the foolish rustics and sometimes reached the ears of the lady, who was at no loss to account for them.
As for Ferondo, when he revived, 'twas only to find himself he knew not where, while the Bolognese monk entered the tomb, gibbering horribly and armed with a rod wherewith, having laid hold of Ferondo, he gave him a severe thrashing.
Blubbering and bellowing for pain, Ferondo could only ejaculate: "Where am I?"
"In purgatory," replied the monk.
"How?" returned Ferondo; "am I dead then?" and the monk assuring him that 'twas even so, he fell a bewailing his own and his lady's and his son's fate, after the most ridiculous fashion in the world.
The monk brought him somewhat to eat and drink, of which when Ferondo caught sight, "Oh!" said he; "dead folk eat then, do they?"
"They do," replied the monk, "and this, which I bring thee, is what the lady that was thy wife sent this morning to the church by way of alms for masses for thy soul, and God is minded that it be assigned to thee."
"Now God grant her a happy year," said Ferondo; "dearly I loved her while I yet lived, and would hold her all night long in my arms, and cease not to kiss her, ay, and would do yet more to her when I was so minded." Whereupon he fell to eating and drinking with great avidity and, finding the wine not much to his taste, he said: "Now God do her a mischief! Why gave she not the priest of the wine that is in the cask by the wall?"
When he had done eating, the monk laid hold of him again and gave him another sound thrashing with the rod. Ferondo bellowed mightily, and then cried out: "Alas! Why servest thou me so?"
"God," answered the monk, "has decreed that thou be so served twice a day."
"For why?" said Ferondo.
"Because," returned the monk, "thou wast jealous, notwithstanding thou hadst to wife a woman that has not her peer in thy countryside."
"Alas," said Ferondo, "she was indeed all that thou sayst, ay, and the sweetest creature too — no comfit so honeyed — but I knew not that God took it amiss that a man should be jealous, or I had not been so."
"Of that," replied the monk, "thou shouldst have bethought thee while thou wast there and have amended thy ways, and should it fall to thy lot ever to return thither, be sure that thou so lay to heart the lesson that I now give thee: that thou be no more jealous."
"Oh!" said Ferondo; "dead folk sometimes return to earth, do they?"
"They do," replied the monk, "if God so will."