Series of illustrations for “Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio.
Day1. Chapter 4.
The Monk and the Abbott
Dioneo believes that their purpose in storytelling is to amuse and entertain.
So he plans to do this by telling the story of a monk who used the naughty behaviour of another to get out of a sticky situation.
A young monk in Lunigiana came upon a beautiful peasant girl gathering herbs nearby his monastery.
He falls in lust with her and convinces her to return to his cell so they can indulge themselves.
The Abbot hears them having fun in his room. The Abbot decides to hang onto that information for later.
The young monk knows he’s in trouble when he hears someone in the hallway. He looks through a crack in the door and sees the Abbot. Uh-oh.
But he’s a quick thinker and comes up with a plan. He tells the girl he’s going to find her a way out.
Then he goes to the Abbot and hands him his key (the monks do this whenever they’re leaving).
He tells the Abbot that he will pick up the remaining firewood he’d left outside.
The Abbot makes a beeline for the young monk’s room. You can probably imagine what he does when he finds the lovely young girl there.
Shmoop blushes to say it, but it’s essential to the punch line: the Abbot is too old and large to assume the “missionary position.” He lets the girl be alpha for this one.
The young monk doesn’t go for the firewood. He stands in the corridor and watches.
When Abbot’s done with the girl, he decides to scold the young monk anyway.
But the young monk’s ready for him. He pretends that the Abbots scolding him for his “technique” and not for the fact that he’d had a girl in his room.
I didn’t realize that we monks had women to “support,” he jokes. He promises to do better next time.
So the young monk gets away with his offence and finds ways to bring the girl back for more visits.