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The Woman, The Priest, The Servant, And The
By Monseigneur De Villiers.
_Of a gentleman who caught, in a trap that he laid, his wife, the
priest, her maid, and a wolf; and burned them all alive, because his
wife committed adultery with the priest._
In a town in this kingdom, in the duchy of Auvergne, there formerly
lived a gentleman, who, to his misfortune, had a very pretty young wife.
This damsel was acquainted with a priest, a neighbour, who lived half a
league off, and they were so neighbourly together that the good priest
took the gentleman's place whenever he was absent.
And this damsel had a waiting-maid who was acquainted with all their
doings, and often carried messages to the priest, and advised him of the
place and hour when he could safely come to her mistress.
The matter was not so well hid as the lovers would have liked, for a
gentleman, who was a near relative of him to whom this dishonour was
done, was informed of the affair, and told the person most concerned all
that he knew.
You may fancy that the good gentleman, when he heard that in his absence
his wife was helped by the priest, was not overpleaaed, and if it had
not been for his cousin would have taken terrible vengeance as soon as
he heard the news; but consented to put it off until he had taken them
both in the act.
He and his cousin arranged to go on a pilgrimage, four or six leagues
from home, and take his wife and the priest, in order to take note how
they behaved towards each other.
As they were returning from this pilgrimage, during which the cure had
made love as he best could,--that is to say by glances and other little
devices--the husband caused himself to be sent for by a messenger he had
instructed, to come at once to a lord of that country.
He pretended to be very vexed, and to leave with much regret,
--nevertheless, since the lord had sent for him he could not disobey. So
he went his way, and his cousin, the other gentleman, said that he would
keep him company, as that was his way to return home.
The priest and the lady much rejoiced to hear this news; they consulted
together and decided that the priest should take leave and quit the
house, in order that none of the people there might suspect him, and
about midnight he would return to the lady, as he was accustomed. No
sooner was this determined on than the priest said farewell, and left
Now you must know that the husband and his relative were hidden in a
gorge through which the priest would have to pass, and could neither go
or return any other way, without going out of the right road.
They saw the priest pass, and judged that he would return that night--as
indeed was his intention. They let him pass without saying a word, and
then prepared a large pitfall, with the help of some peasants who aided
them in the task. The trap was quickly and well made, and it was not
long before a wolf, passing that way, fell into the pit.
Soon after came the priest, clad in a short gown, and with a curtle axe
hung round his neck; and when he came to where the pitfall had been dug,
he fell into it on the wolf, at which he was much alarmed, and the wolf,
who was down there first, was as much afraid of the priest as the priest
was of it.
When the two gentlemen saw the priest lodged along with the wolf, they
were much delighted, and he who was most concerned, declared that the
priest should never come out alive, for he would kill him there. The
other blamed him for this, and did not wish the priest killed, and was
of opinion they should rather cut off his genitals; but the husband
wanted him killed, and this discussion lasted for a long time, while
they were awaiting the dawn, when they could see clearly.
Whilst they were thus waiting, the lady, who expected the priest, and
did not know why he tarried so long, sent her servant-maid in order to
make him hurry.
The maid, whilst on her road to the cure's house, fell into the trap
with the wolf and the cure. She was much astonished to find herself in
"Alas!" said the priest, "I am lost. We have been found out, and someone
has laid this trap for us."
The husband and his cousin, who heard and saw all, were both as pleased
as they could be; and they felt as sure as though the Holy Spirit had
revealed it to them, that the mistress would fellow the maid, for they
had heard the maid say that her mistress had sent her to the priest to
know why he had failed to come at the hour agreed upon between them.
The mistress, finding that neither the cure or the maid came, and that
dawn was approaching, suspected that there was something, and that she
should find them in a little wood there was on the road--which was where
the trap was laid--and determined to go there and try and find out if
there was any news.
She walked along towards the priest's house, and when she came to the
spot where the trap was laid, she tumbled in along with the others.
When they found themselves all assembled, it need not be said that they
were much astonished, and each did his or her utmost to get out of the
pit, but it was no good, and they looked upon themselves as being as
good as dead, as well as dishonoured.
Then the two prime movers in the affair--that is to say the husband of
the lady, and his cousin--came to the edge of the pit, and saluted the
company, and told them to be comfortable, and asked them if they were
ready for breakfast.
The husband, who was anxious for his revenge, managed to send his cousin
to look after their horses, which were at a house near by, and when he
had got rid of him, he made all the haste he could, and threw a
quantity of brushwood into the pit, and set it on fire, and burned them
all--wife, priest, waiting-woman and wolf.
After that he left that part of the country, and went to the King to ask
his pardon, which he easily obtained.
And some say that the King remarked that it was a pity the poor wolf
should have been burned alive for the faults of the others.
Next: The Obliging Brother
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