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The Husband In The Clothes-chest
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The Cow And The Calf
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Indiscretion Reproved, But Not Punished
By The Provost Of Wastennes.
_Of a woman who heard her husband say that an innkeeper at Mont St.
Michel was excellent at copulating, so went there, hoping to try for
herself, but her husband took means to prevent it, at which she was much
displeased, as you will hear shortly._
Often a man says things for which he is sorry afterwards, and so it
happened formerly that a good fellow who lived in a village near Mont
St. Michel, talked one night at a supper, at which were present his
wife, and several strangers and neighbours, of an inn-keeper of Mont
St. Michel, and declared, affirmed, and swore on his honour, that this
inn-keeper had the finest, biggest, and thickest member in all the
country round, and could use it so well that four, five, or six times
cost him no more trouble than taking off his hat. All those who were at
table listened to this favourable account of the prowess of mine host
of Mont St. Michel, and made what remarks they pleased about it, but the
person who took the most notice was the lady of the house, the wife of
the man who related the story, who had listened attentively, and to
whom it seemed that a woman would be most happy and fortunate who had a
husband so endowed.
And she also thought in her heart that if she could devise some cunning
excuse she would some day go to Mont St. Michel, and put up at the inn
kept by the man with the big member, and it would not be her fault if
she did not try whether the report were true.
To execute what she had so boldly devised, at the end of six or eight
days she took leave of her husband, to go on a pilgrimage to Mont St.
Michel; and she invented some clever excuse for her journey, as women
well know how to do. Her husband did not refuse her permission to go,
though he had his suspicions.
At parting, her husband told her to make an offering to Saint Michael,
and that she was to lodge at the house of the said landlord, and he
recommended her to him a hundred thousand times.
She promised to accomplish all he ordered, and upon that took leave and
went away, much desiring, God knows, to find herself at Mont St. Michel.
As soon as she had left, the husband mounted his horse, and went as fast
as he could, by another road to that which his wife had taken, to Mont
St. Michel, and arrived secretly, before his wife, at the inn kept by
the man already mentioned, who most gladly welcomed him. When he was in
his chamber, he said to his host,
"My host, you and I have been friends for a long time. I will tell you
what has brought me to your town now. About five or six days ago, a lot
of good fellows were having supper at my house, and amongst other talk,
I related how it was said throughout the country that there was no man
better furnished than you"--and then he told him as nearly as possible
all that had been said. "And it happened," he continued, "that my wife
listened attentively to what I said, and never rested till she obtained
permission to come to this town. And by my oath, I verily suspect that
her chief intention is to try if she can, if my words were true that
I said about your big member. She will soon be here I expect, for she
longs to come; so I pray you when she does come you will receive her
gladly, and welcome her, and do all that she asks. But at all events do
not deceive me; take care that you do not touch her. Appoint a time
to come to her when she is in bed, and I will go in your place, and
afterwards I will tell you some good news."
"Let me alone," said the host. "I will take care and act my part well."
"At all events," said the other, "be sure and serve me no trick, for I
know well enough that she will be ready to."
"By my oath," said the host, "I assure you I will not come near her,"
and he did not.
Soon after came our wench and her maid, both very tired, God knows;
and the good host came forth, and received his guests as he had been
enjoined, and as he had promised. He caused mademoiselle to be taken to
a fair chamber, and a good fire to be made, and brought the best wine
in the house, and sent for some fine fresh cherries, and came to banquet
with her whilst supper was getting ready. When he saw his opportunity,
he began to make his approaches to her, but in a roundabout way. To cut
matters short, an agreement was made between them that he should come
secretly at midnight to sleep with her.
This being arranged, he went and told the husband of the dame, who, at
the hour named, went in mine host's instead, and did the best he could,
and rose before daybreak and returned to his own bed.
When it was day, the wench, quite vexed and melancholy, called her maid,
and they rose, and dressed as hastily as they could, and would have paid
the host, but he said he would take nothing from her. And with that
she left without hearing Mass, or seeing St. Michael, or breakfasting
either; and without saying a single word, returned home. But you must
know that her husband was there already, and asked her what good news
there was at Mont St. Michel. She, feeling as annoyed as she could be,
hardly deigned to reply.
"And what sort of welcome," asked her husband, "did mine host give you?
By God, he is a good fellow!"
"A good fellow!" she said. "Nothing very wonderful! I will not give him
more praise than is his due."
"No, dame?" he replied. "By St. John, I should have thought that for
love of me he would have given you a hearty welcome."
"I care not about his welcome," she said. "I do not go on a pilgrimage
for the sake of his, or any one else's welcome. I only think of my
"Devotion, wife!" he answered. "By Our Lady, you had none! I know very
well why you are so vexed and sorrowful. You did not find what you
expected--that is the exact truth. Ha, ha, madam! I know the cause of
your pilgrimage. You wanted to make trial of the physical gifts of our
host of St. Michel, but, by St. John, I was on my guard, and always will
be if I can help it. And that you may not think that I lied when I told
you that he had such a big affair, by God, I said nothing but what is
true. But you wanted something more than hearsay evidence, and, if I had
not stopped you, you would in your 'devotion' have tried its power for
yourself. You see I know all, and to remove any doubts you may have
on the subject, I may tell you that I came last night at the appointed
hour, and took his place--so be content with what I was able to do, and
remain satisfied with what you have. This time I pardon you, but take
care that it never occurs again."
The damsel, confused and astonished at being thus caught, as soon as she
could speak, begged his pardon, and promised never to do anything of the
sort again. And I believe that she never did.
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