The Sore Finger Cured
By Philippe De Laon.
_Of a monk who feigned to be very ill and in danger of death, that he
might obtain the favours of a certain young woman in the manner which is
It is usually the case, thank God, that in many religious communities
there are certain good fellows who can play "base instruments".
Apropos of this, there was formerly in a conve
t at Paris, a good
brother, a preacher, who was accustomed to visit his female neighbours.
One day his choice lighted on a very pretty woman, a near neighbour,
young, buxom, and spirited, and but recently married to a good fellow.
Master monk fell in love with her, and was always thinking and devising
ways and means by which he could compass his desires--which were, in
short, to do you know what. Now he decided, "That is what I'll do." Then
he changed his mind. So many plans came into his head that he could not
decide on any; but of one thing he was sure, and that was that words
alone would never seduce her from the paths of virtue. "For she is too
virtuous, and too prudent. I shall be obliged, if I want to gain my
ends, to gain them by cunning and deception."
Now listen to the plan the rascal devised, and how he dishonestly
trapped the poor, little beast, and accomplished his immoral desires, as
He pretended one day to have a bad finger--that which is nearest to the
thumb, and is the first of the four on the right hand--and he wrapped it
in linen bandages, and anointed it with strong-smelling ointments.
He went about with it thus for a day or two, hanging about the church
porch, when he thought the aforesaid woman was coming, and God knows
what pain he pretended to suffer.
The silly wench looked on him with pity, and seeing by his face that he
appeared to be in great pain, she asked him what was the matter; and the
cunning fox pitched up a piteous tale.
The day passed, and on the morrow, about the hour of vespers, when the
good woman was at home alone, the patient came and sat by her, and acted
the sick man, that anyone who had seen him would have believed that he
was in great danger. Sometimes he would walk to the window, then back
again to the woman, and put on so many strange tricks that you would
have been astonished and deceived if you had seen him. And the poor
foolish girl, who pitied him so that the tears almost started from her
eyes, comforted him as best she could,
"Alas, Brother Aubrey, have you spoken to such and such physicians?"
"Yes, certainly, my dear," he replied. "There is not a doctor or surgeon
in Paris who has not studied my case."
"And what do they say? Will you have to suffer this pain for a long
"Alas! yes; until I die, unless God helps me; for there is but one
remedy for ray complaint, and I would rather die than reveal what
that is,--for it is very far from decent, and quite foreign to my holy
"What?" cried the poor girl. "Then there is a remedy! Then is it not
very wrong and sinful of you to allow yourself to suffer thus? Truly it
seems so to me, for you are in danger of losing sense and understanding,
so sharp and terrible is the pain."
"By God, very sharp and terrible it is," said Brother Aubrey, "but
there!--God sent it; praised be His name. I willingly suffer and
bear all, and patiently await death, for that is the only remedy
indeed--excepting one I mentioned to you--which can cure me."
"But what is that?"
"I told you that I should not dare to say what it is,--and even if I
were obliged to reveal what it is, I should never have the will or power
to put it in execution."
"By St. Martin!" said the good woman, "it appears to me that you are
very wrong to talk like that. Pardieu! tell me what will cure you, and
I assure you that I will do my utmost to help you. Do not wilfully throw
away your life when help and succour can be brought. Tell me what it is,
and you will see that I will help you--I will, pardieu, though it should
cost me more than you imagine." The monk, finding his neighbour was
willing to oblige him, after a great number of refusals and excuses,
which, for the sake of brevity, I omit, said in a low voice.
"Since you desire that I should tell you, I will obey. The doctors all
agreed that there was but one remedy for my complaint, and that was to
put my finger into the secret place of a clean and honest woman, and
keep it there for a certain length of time, and afterwards apply a
certain ointment of which they gave me the receipt. You hear what the
remedy is, and as I am by disposition naturally modest, I would rather
endure and suffer all my ills than breathe a word to a living soul. You
alone know of my sad lot, and that in spite of me."
"Well!" said the good woman, "what I said I would do I will do. I will
willingly help to cure you, and am well pleased to be able to relieve
you of the terrible pain which torments you, and find you a place in
which you can put your sore finger."
"May God repay you, damsel," said the monk. "I should never have dared
to make the request, but since you are kind enough to help me, I shall
not be the cause of my own death. Let us go then, if it please you, to
some secret place where no one can see us."
"It pleases me well," she replied.
So she led him to a fair chamber, and closed the door, and laid upon the
bed, and the monk lifted up her clothes, and instead of the finger
of his hand, put something hard and stiff in the place. When he had
entered, she feeling that it was very big, said,
"How is it that your finger is so swollen? I never heard of anything
"Truly," he replied, "it is the disease which made it like that."
"It is wonderful," she said.
Whilst this talk was going on, master monk accomplished that for which
he had played the invalid so long. She when she felt--et cetera--asked
what that was, and he replied,
"It is the boil on my finger which has burst. I am cured I think--thank
God and you."
"On my word I am pleased to hear it," said the woman as she rose
from the bed. "If you are not quite cured, come back as often as you
like;--for to remove your pain there is nothing I would not do. And
another time do not be so modest when it is a question of recovering