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

described hereafter._

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 proposed.

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

like it."

"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

your health."