The Heptameron

The Heptameron - Day 7

Heptameron Day 7
Heptameron Day 7

What Stories Are Told on the Seventh Day of the Heptameron?

On the Seventh Day of the Heptameron the storytellers recount stories of those who have acted quite contrary to their duty or desire.

Heptameron Day 7 Summary
Heptameron Day 7 Summary

The Life of Medieval Women

The Theme of the Seventh Day
The Theme of the Seventh Day

The Stories Told on the Seventh Day of Heptameron

  • The FIRST Tale, of the Seventh Day-- Great kindness of a husband, who consents to take back his wife twice over, in spite of her wanton love for a Canon of Autun.

  • The SECOND Tale, of the Seventh Day-- How a lady, while telling a story as of another, let her tongue trip in such a way as to show that what she related had happened to herself. (The fifteenth century's version of the Freudian slip)

  • The THIRD Tale, of the Seventh Day-- How the honourable behaviour of a young lord, who feigns sickness in order to be faithful to his wife, spoils a party in which he was to have made one with the King, and in this way saves the honour of three maidens of Paris.

  • The FOURTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- Story of a gentleman of Valencia in Spain, whom a lady drove to such despair that he became a monk, and whom afterwards she strove in vain to win back to herself.

  • The FIFTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- Merry mistake of a worthy woman, who in the church of St. John of Lyons mistakes a sleeping soldier for one of the statues on a tomb, and sets a lighted candle on his forehead.

  • The SIXTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- How an old serving-woman, thinking to surprise a Prothonotary with a lady, finds herself insulting Anthony de Bourbon and his wife Jane d'Albret.

  • The SEVENTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- How the Sire de Robertval, granting a traitor his life at the prayers of the man's wife, set them both down on a desert island, and how, after the husband's death, the wife was rescued and brought back to La Rochelle.

  • The EIGHT Tale, of the Seventh Day-- The wife of an apothecary at Pau, hearing her husband give some powder of cantharides to a woman who was godmother with himself, secretly administered to him such a dose of the same drug that he nearly died.

  • The NINTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- How the wife of one of the King's Equerries surprised her husband muffled in the hood of their servant-maid, and bolting meal in her stead.

  • The TENTH Tale, of the Seventh Day-- Of the love of a Duchess of Burgundy for a gentleman who rejects her advances, for which reason she accuses him to the Duke her husband, and the latter does not believe his oaths till assured by him that he loves the Lady du Vergier. Then the Duchess, having drawn knowledge of this amour from her husband, addresses to the Lady du Vergier in public, an allusion that causes the death of both lovers; and the Duke, in despair at his own lack of discretion, stabs the Duchess himself.

The Seventh Day

In the morning the Lady Oisille failed not to administer to them wholesome nutriment, which she did by reading of the acts and virtuous deeds of the glorious knights and apostles of Jesus Christ, as related by St. Luke, telling them withal that these relations should suffice to make them long for the return of such a time, and to make them weep for the uncomeliness of this age as compared with that. When she had sufficiently read and expounded to them the beginning of this excellent book, she begged them to go to the church in such union as that in which the Apostles were wont to pray, seeking of God the mercy which is never refused to those who ask for it in faith. Her counsel was approved by all, and they came to the church just as the Mass of the Holy Spirit was beginning; this seemed to them very apt to the occasion, and they hearkened to the service in great devotion.

Afterwards they went to dinner, where they called to mind the apostolic life, and took such great delight in it that it was as though their undertaking had been forgotten. But Nomerfide, who was the youngest, noticed this, and said, "The Lady Oisille has made us so devout that we are letting slip the hour at which we are wont to withdraw, in order to make ready for the relating of our tales."

Her words caused the whole company to rise, and, after they had been for a while in their rooms, they failed not to repair to the meadow as on the day before. When they were seated at their ease, the Lady Oisille said to Saffredent, "Although I am certain that you will say nothing to the advantage of women, yet I must call upon you to tell the tale that you had in readiness yester evening."

"I protest, madam," replied Saffredent, "against winning the repute of a slanderer through telling the truth, or losing the favour of virtuous ladies through relating the deeds of the wanton. I have felt what it is to lack their presence, and had I equally lacked their fair favours, I had not been alive to-day."

So saying, he turned his eyes away from her who was the cause of his happiness and of his woe; and, looking upon Ennasuite, caused her to blush as deeply as though his words had been directed to her. Yet was he none the less understood by her whom he desired should understand him. The Lady Oisille then assured him that he might freely speak the truth at the cost of any person concerned; whereupon he thus began:—

The FIRST Tale, of the Seventh Day