The Seven Sages Stories

too literally translated by Hans R. Runte

from French verse Version K

(2534 rhymed octosyllabic couplets = 5068 verses)

(MS. Paris, BnF 1553, fol. 338v-367v [late 13th cent.])

as edited by Mary B. Speer (AB 495-1988)



                  Part I


1. Arbor by the queen

2. Canis by Bancillas

3. Senescalcus by the queen

4. Medicus by Ausire

5. Aper by the queen

6. Puteus by Malquidas

7. Roma by the queen

8. Tentamina by Gentullus

9. Gaza by the queen


                   Part II


10. Avis by Cathon

11. Sapientes by the queen

12. Vidua by Jessé

13. Virgilius by the queen

14. Inclusa by Berous

15. Vaticinium by the prince





the queen’s/empress’s first story

(fol. 344r-344v)


[Line 985] “There was once a rich man, / a duke he was, and firmly a nobleman. / He was of very great wealth: / cities he had and castles, a hundred [of them]. / In one [of] his forest[s] he had a lodge / [990] and a tower of great strength; / there he went to have himself bled, / to relax and relieve his body. / In the center of his courtyard there was a pinetree / which was very high, with a great finish [?}. / This pinetree was very beautiful and branched, / twenty-four [?] feet it had in circumference. / The duke did it such great honor / [that] he had it surrounded all around by a wall; / and so there was only one entrance, / [1000] and that one was so well protected / that no one entered therein without leave / when the gate is bolted. / The duke sat down in the courtyard; / never in winter was there ice. / Underneath that pinetree he sat down / and held his assizes there. /

One day the duke had come there, / with him he had some of his friends. / This pinetree was so very beautiful and noble, / [1010] and people left it [a wide berth]. / No man dared to lean against it, / nor to erect anything against the branches. / In that country there was no man so rich / as to dare to throw [pine] ‘apples’ around. / For the reason that it was of such beauty,/ it was called the royal pine. / The duke stood up and looked at it; / a great while he stood there / and saw from a root rise up / [1020] and grow forth a little pinetree. / He called his companions; / great joy he had because of it, and he showed [it] to them. / Because of the [limited] area of the surrounding enclosure [?] / he had of the pinetree with vigor / cut branches which hung around / and reached above the wall. / Be aware, king, that the tall pinetree / is damaged by its sapling! /

For the little one they make a beautiful enclosure, / [1030] all with a compass and a wheel [?]. / They had it [the little tree] closed up and [protected by] earth work / and [had it] enclosed all around and well guarded. / Straight like an arrow it went up / until against a branch it struck. / There was the top growing sideways from below, / twisting and turning a bit. / The duke one day looked at it; / he called one of his sergeants: / ‘What means then, by Saint Marcel, / [1040] that up there this pine tree grows sideways?’ / And he replies, not at all acting foolishly: / ‘That branch takes its path away.’ / The duke said that he should cut it; / he replied [that] he would go straight [to it]. / The branch was thick and bushy, / there was more of it than a cart-full. / The rich man had it cut off / quickly, without delay. / Here you have, king, the branched pine tree / [1050] mutilated for [the little tree’s] nourishment. /

For days they go on cutting up the branches / while the little pine tree goes on growing. / The duke sat down under the little tree / which seemed to him a little bit more beautiful; / under the other one [was] the poor populace, / great and little [people] altogether. / Pine ‘apples’ were thrown around by who wanted to; there was no interdiction. / The little tree was in total safety / [1060] and the old one turned to [its] decline. / The little tree waged a great war against the old one, / underneath it it burrowed into the ground; / there it begins to take root / and to take such [roots] away from the old one / until it began to dry up. / The rich man had it cut down / and removed from the square / and given to the poor populace. / [1070] Here you have the tall, greening pine tree / which stumbled for [the good of] its child!

May God the Glorious help me, / emperor [Vespasian, king/emperor of Rome], may you act thus [as well].”




The first sage’s, Baucillas’s story

(fol. 345v-346v)


[Line 1165] “In the old time there was in Rome, / this I know, a very rich man. /  Beside the wall was his tower / and his very ancient palace. / His very strong palace enclosure was [made] of a wall, / [1170] and upon entering it had a beautiful door. / He took a wife of very high lineage / who was very courteous and wise. / Nine years he held her, they had no heir; / each one of them had a black heart because of it. / In the tenth [year], by chance, / the lady lifted the belt; / by a handsome servant was she engrossed. / All Rome was happy about it, / for he was frank and courteous, / [1180] he did not destroy the laws. / The lady was a noble benefactress / and for all she made beautiful donations; / poverty she did not want to excuse; / always she was in joy[ful mood], without anger. /

The child was born; great joy[ful noise]  they make, / and one brought him now / three nurses to serve him, / to feed [him] and to cherish [him]. / One of the three had bathed him, / [1190] and another one had put him to bed; / the third one serves to nurse him / and to outfit him well, / for, if God was to give him growth, / he would wrongfully lose because of food. /

That rich man had a bear / which was in his courtyard always, / well attached to a stone block, / and because of it his house was more beautiful. / At Whitsuntide held a celebration / [1200] those of Rome, a great and honest one. / At noon they had eaten, / so they were more joyful and happy. / This [rich] man was senechal of the land. / The young people requested from him / that he let them bait his bear, / and he did not want to refuse them. / Next to the Tiber in the center of a meadow, / there they led the bear. / There the knights assembled, / [1210] the cardinals and the clergy, / and then the noble burghers / and the ladies in new court dresses. / They lead there dogs and hunting dogs, / hounds with biting mouths, cruel [ones]. / And the rich man went there, / his wife with him he led. / A greyhound he had which was very beautiful, / it was only one year old, a puppy. / He ordered to lock up the house / [1220] so that it could not escape. / Thus now went in festive mood / those of the household, all of them, / except for the nurses, of whom there are three. / Those took the child without delay. / One lady had bathed it, / and the other one had put it to bed, / and the third one nursed it. / It fell asleep; she got up, / sat the cradle on the bench / [1230] [which was] carved, very beautiful it was. / They did not cover its face / so that it would not be surprised by heat. / Then they climbed high up on the wall. / This was to be their fateful hour, / for in the wall there had been for a long time, / […] / a cruel, satanic serpent, / in a crack down low. / The serpent from this wall comes forth / [1240] and saw the hall completely empty; / the noise it heard from the center of the meadow / and saw the hall deserted. / In there it came through the window; / it entered and saw the situation. / Of the beautiful child it had a clear view / (it was whiter than lily flowers) / [and] thought to itself: ‘You are not well; / if I can, you could be mine.’ / Then it did a jump straight toward the child! / [1250] The greyhound was not sleeping; / from the bed where it was, beautiful and high, / straight to the floor it did a jump. /

The greyhound joins the serpent, / but the serpent stings it strongly; / and the greyhound bit it back / [so] that it made it feel [its] teeth. / Very great was the scuffle / of the greyhound and the serpent, / so much [so] that they bit the cradle / [1260] and turned [it] upside down. / The head- and footboards were not low, / for they were made with a measuring device. / so that the child slept every day / and never a single ill felt. / Very strong was the battle. / The greyhound is in need of [not] losing, / for the serpent bit it much / and with the needle[-sharp teeth] stung it. / But the little greyhound jumps well, / [1270] at this assault it does not fail, / for by the head it had it taken. / At that point it had conquered the serpent! / Right there it devoured it all, / the place was from it bloodied. / Then it dreamt of sleeping in its bed, / for how to turn [back] up the cradle it did not know. /

The bear was baited, so they leave. / The people did not remain there any longer, / for it was well time and [the] season / [1280] [when] everyone went back into his house. / The nurses climbed down / from the wall and entered the hall. / When they have come into the hall / they were gravely besides themselves. / The pieces they saw of the evil deed / and the cradle that was turned upside down; / the place they saw bloody. / Everyone of them was horrified. / So they believe well in their mind / [1290] that the dog had killed the child. / Said one to the other: ‘What will we do? / There is no advice  but that we flee.’ / At that they turned away from there, / much grieving and wheeping. / But they did not look for cloaks, / coverlets nor dresses nor clothing; / instead they deliberately opened the house / and turn away from there fleeing. /

Out of the country they want to flee / [1300] and get out of the city, / but the lady came before them / on an ambling horse. / ‘Hola!’ she said. ‘Where are you going? / Tell me it! Do not hide it from me! / Where have you left my child? / Tell me it right now!’ / When those have heard her, / they are very profoundly astonished. / ‘Ha!’ they say, ‘[My] lady, mercy, / [1310] for the love of God who does not lie! / We went atop this wall / (that was for our bad luck) / to look at the assembled barons. / Each one has deserved death for it, / for the greyhound, truthfully, / strangled your child.’ / When the lady heard it, there was nothing more; / to the ground she falls, fainted. /

And thereafter the lord came back / [1320] with his retenue at a gallop; / his wife he saw much suffering / and very severely crying. / He came to her and calls upon her about this: ‘Hey! What do you have [to cry about], beautiful friend?’ / And the lady answered him / who had [her] heart tainted and blackened: / ‘Sire, well must I be grief-stricken: / the thing I have desired more [than anything else], / [is] my young child, handsome [and] sweet friend, / [1330] whom your greyhound has killed.’ / When he heard it there, very great sorrow he had. / Sad, pensive and sighing, / he now gets off [his horse] at the stone block / and entered his house; / and he saw the pieces of the evil deed / and the cradle which was upside down. / Then he believes well in his mind / that the dog killed the child. / And the greyhound came before him, / [1340] jumping and exhibiting great joy, / and very willingly would it have told him, / but it was not right that it speak. / The lord looked at the dog / which showed him such great joy. / He sees its face, it was bloody. / At his side he had his sword; / now he drew his sword / and cut its head off! / Then he is sitting on his bed, / [1350] very angry and very pensive. / Here it was only a solitary little [moment] / [before] the handsome child wakes up. / From underneath the cradle it launched a cry, / and he ran there right immediately, / the cradle he has right away turned over: / the child threw him a laugh. /

[My] lord, know that now he had joy / greater than [he] who would have given him Troy! / Then he had called his people: / [1360] ‘[My] lords, God  has looked at us!’ / So right now they run there / and found the child playing; / and of the serpent the pieces saw, / much they look at them and examine them. / They find the head and the teeth, / which were very sharp at the tip, / and they know well that the greyhound / saved the child from the fiend. / Now was the lord very sad / [1370]  and very pensive and sighing /  for [the reason] that he had killed his dog / and killed it so very wrongly. / With the sword with which he had killed / his beautiful greyhound so wrongly / he had his […] cut back / and quickly cut. / Then he said that he will go into exile, / and will do his penance for it / exactly as if [he had killed] a man; / [1380] ‘never seek I to have a lesser burden.’”

“Good king, listen to my reason: / when that one came straight to his house, if he had turned the cradle over, / he would have found the child in the cradle. / As soon as the child was found alive, / he would not have killed his dog. / Bad haste is worth nothing, / so help me God and Saint Aignien. / There is no good sense against mesure, / [1390] that tells us Scripture. / Do not kill your child, / for that would [bring] very great grief; / if you kill it so wrongly, / there will here be bad comfort.” 




The queen’s/empress’s second story

(fol. 347r-348r)


[Line 1441] “There was once a king in Egypt / whom one held [to be] a sodomite. / Ten years and more he took care / not ever to touch a woman. / His body became feeble from it, / and he was as fat / as a bull, and he was big, / his stomach [was] hard as [was] his back. / The king could not stand, / [1450] sit, lie nor relax; / and every day he well pretended / that he did not want to change [his ways]. / He asked for physicians; they came there, / but they were of no value to him. / The king gave them a great [deal of] money, / this you can well know. / He who is stricken with infirmity / seeks very willingly health; / honor was for him of very little value / [1460] when his body dragged such pain [with it]. / 

In his house there was a friend, / a handsome young man of great virtue; / he was senechal of the land / and had under his jurisdiction the entire palace. / Now he came to his lord / and appealed to him out of love: / ‘[My] lord,’ he said, ‘[grant me] your mercy, / for you have made and fed, / certainly, [but] I am very anguished / [1470] when I see you suffering so. / If you could bear as much / as to be able to lie with a woman, / of one thing I am certain: / in half a year you would be healthy.’ / And the king said: ‘This I believe well, / may God help me and Saint Aignien! / But the woman has not [yet] been born / who under me would last. / So do you not see that I am fat? / [1480] One cannot feel on me [a single] bone!’ / ‘Sire,’ he said, ‘now listen to me / and listen to my word. / If you want to believe my advice, / I will make you such a plan / [that] in less than three months, by Saint Honorine, / you will be thin like a youngster.’ / And the king said: ‘All my honor / (woe me [if afterwards] lots of gold will remain for me) / would I give, that I promise you, / [1490] if I believed to be healed. / Of one thing am I certain: / he who is healthy is not entirely poor; / if he does not have a castle, he can always seek [one] / and go away to another land.’ /

The senechal did not tarry any longer, / he prepared his undertaking. / In a chamber he locked him up, / eleven weeks he kept him there. / Barley bread he had him eat, / [1500] totally unleavened, without yeast, / [he made him] drink water without wine / a little bit in the evening and in the morning. / He took to relieving the heart / and to tightening up the stomach. / In a new sheet he had him wrapped / and [had him] tightly squeezed on the sides / so much so that he came back to his natural state / like [any] other creature. / As soon as the king feels healed, / [1510] he wass very joyous and lively. / Then he called his senechal / to one part of his palace: / ‘Now it is my opinion that I should lie / with a woman, if I had her.’ / And he replied to his words: / ‘We will find her with difficulty / if of your [wealth] you do not give so much / or [if] you do not take her by forcing / her to put herself into [such an] adventure, / [1520] for one has doubts about you [as given] to hubris.’ / And the king said: ‘Give her so much / that she comes joyfully, / a hundred silver marks and sufficiently more, / and dress her nobly for me.’ /

The senechal had a beautiful wife; / he came to her and called her: / ‘Beautiful friend, listen to me. / It is my opinion that our king / is healed and asks for a woman. / [1530] The most beautiful you are in this realm. / A hundred silver marks he makes me give out for this; / let’s not let the money be carried off! / With the king you would lie / and the hundred marks you would win; / I will get you out of it before day[break]. / He himself, the emperor [sic], / if he were to meet you in the morning, / would not recognize you, that’s the end.’ /

The lady heard it, made a sigh: / [1540] ‘Sire, do you want to shame me? / Certainly, I would rather let me hang, / burn in fire and be put to ashes! / Never did a woman of my lineage / put to shame her lord, / nor, my it please God, the Son of Mary, / with you I will not at all begin!’ / And he replies like a bad [man]: / ‘You will do it, by Saint Gervais! / One must commit great cowardice / [1550] in order to win a hundred silver marks!’ / ‘Sire,’ she said, ‘what goes on with you? / When God healed man of shame / and He maintains him in honor, / he is richer than the emir. / Poverty can be temporary [?], but shame persists; / it cannot fall away by chance.’ / And he replies like an ill-mannered man: / ‘Certainly it behooves you to do it!’ / ‘So do you want it?’ said the lady. / [1560] ‘Yes, I want it,’ said he, ‘by my soul!’ / ‘So it will behoove me to lie [with him]. / May shame arise for you from it, / thus it will happen soon, / this I beg of Jesus who does not lie.’ /

He came from there straight to his lord / and calls to him out of love: / ‘Sire,’ he said, ‘a woman I have found, / the most beautiful of the land. / A hundred silver marks I have given her / [1570] and have bought very rich sheets.’ / The king replies: ‘Well it stands to reason / that she have of my wealth in great profusion. / Of a nobleman [like you?] one must be glad / and […] from the bad one [one must] flee.’ /

They made the beds to spend the night; / the emperor [sic] went to bed. / The senechal was a great vilain, / for he took his wife by the hand; / next to the king he bedded her. / [1580] [missing verse] / Much [the king] enjoyed her and embraced her / and said that he would marry her. /

A little before daybreak / here came her husband. / His wife he shakes and calls her; / he will hear soon other news! / ‘I do not know, [my] lady, whether you are sleeping.’ / And the king said: ‘What do you want with her?’ / ‘It behooves her to get up, that’s the end, / [1590] for it will already be high morning. / I have committed to her relatives / that at daylight they will have her in their family.’ / And the king said: ‘That was folly: / this time you will not have her! / By God who established the laws, / they will not have her before six months! / I will have her get married, / the woman will not hear [people] speak about it. / If I fail her, may she come to me about it, / [1600] may nothing ever hold her back.’ / ‘Sire, you would have shamed / and very severely mistreated me. / I would lose my inheritance over it / and would be treated much like a criminal!’ / The king replies: ‘This is worth nothing, / I will well protect you from it. / Light is the penitance for it, / for there is no castle [involved] in the promise.’ / When he hears it, he grimaces; / [1610] know you that he made a heavy lip [sulked]! / So now he did no longer know what to do, / but nevertheless could not shut up. /

‘Sire,’ he said, ‘now listen to me / and listen to my word. / I am your man, of this I assure you; / for you I must carry a very great burden. / A woman I could not find, / neither by making promises nor by giving gifts, / who would dare lie with you; / [1620] they would not think that they could suffer you. / It is mine whom you have; / now give her back to me!’ / When the king heard it, he made the sign of the cross / and was very much astonished. / Then he jumped up from his seat / and said to him within earshot of everyone: / ‘Ah!’ he said. ‘Son of a whore, / may God confound you, and Saint Germain [too]! / Greedy you are and ill-bred; / [1630] a bad reward must I extract from it, / for he must well have the shame / who pursues it with his power. / Of your folly I am astonished. / Now right away empty me my country [of you] / and so flee from here quickly! / Never of my wealth will you have anything. / In too evil a manner have you worked; / I have proven it to your wife / whom you have sold out of greed. / [1640] May God confound you, and Saint Denis [too]! / You will go away poor, / you will carry away neither gold nor silver. / Your wife will be honored / and of this country crowned [queen].’ / There you have him, from great height / out of greed into great sadness! /

May God the Glorious help me, / emperor, thus you will act. / You are rich and wealthy, / [1650] but you will be s poor beggar. / Your son wants to surpass you, / the crown he wants to bear during your lifetime.”




The second sage’s, Ausire’s story

(fol. 348v-349v)


[Line 1695] “Do you want to hear about Hippocrates, / who from great heights [?] came down to earth? / Never there was at that time / any man who was of greater sense, / for there was then no pain / [1700] nor fever nor languor / of which he did not heal woman and man. / Never will there be his equal in Rome, / for he healed the lepers, / those who carried the [warning] rattles. / And diarrhea he killed too; / all [kinds of] other people he healed. /

In Greece there was once a king / who was very wise and courteous. / He had a son, a young man / [1710] very comely, courteous and handsome; / a quartan fever made him languish / that the physician could not heal. / He made [that] Hippocrates was called for. / He was sick, he could not go to him; / one of his nephews he sent to him / who spoke with him. /

He came to Greece; / with great joy was he received. / He called on the young man about [his illness] / [1720] and now reasoned with him: / ‘Who is your father, [my] friend?’ / Then the noble young man said to him: / ‘Sire, according to my mother’s word, / the king of Greece was my father.’ / ‘[My] friend, I [cannot] heal you this day / if I do not know your father.’ / And he replies: ‘If there is something, / my lady [mother] will well tell you it.’ / He goes to speak to the queen / [1730] in her great stone chamber. / ‘[My] lady,’ he said, / ‘I implore you, / I have come to this country / to heal your son and make [him] healthy, / but before [that] I want to ask you / who the young man’s father is.’ / And she swears to Saint Marcel: / ‘You were too brave and daring, / [you] who ask me such a thing! / The king of Greece engendered him.’ / [1740] And he replies, he is in a great hurry: / ‘[My] lady, do not become angry because of it, / by God who on the cross was put. / In vain would be what I would do / if his father I did not know.’ / When she hears him, she embraced him, / in his ear she whispered: / ‘[My] friend, [by the] faith I owe Saint Denis, / he was the son of the king of Frisia.’ / ‘[My] lady,’ he said, ‘this stands well to reason. / [1750] So he will have bastard poison.’ / Then he had him eat beef meat / and whet his bread in water; / and he began to get healthy, / to heal and to recover. / And so he was assuaged / and of his illness fully relieved. /

The king gave him according to his great power / of his wealth at [his] departure. / And he turned away from there, / [1760] to Hippocrates he went. / The uncle saw him and calls him / and enquires about news from him: / ‘Have you healed the king’s son?’ / ‘Yes, handsome uncle, by my faith.’ / ‘And what did you make him use?’ / And he replies without delaying: / ‘I had him eat beef meat / and whet his bread in water.’ / Hippocrates said: ‘I am certain / [1770] that the queen has a vain heart. / She is crazy under her shirt; / he was the son of the king of Frisia!’ / Soon he realized then / [that] there was no man wiser than he; / he knew all lands / and knew their ways. /

To Hippocrates come the assembled barons, / the bishop and the wise clerk. / Simply they reasoned with him: / [1780] ‘Sire, we marvel much / when your body feels an illness, / you heal all [kinds of] people.’ / ‘[My] lords, ‘ he said, ‘I will tell you it / and will well speak to you about it.’ / Then he had a barrel punctured / in five hundred spots, without delaying. / With the clear water of a stream / he had the barrel filled up very well; / of some powder he took a fistful, / [1790] in every hole he put some of it, / and had them all plugged up / and [had] the spigots hammered in. / The powder made the water thicken / and by force made it curdle. / [And when] they pull out the spigots through the air, / not a [single] drop could come out. / ‘[My] lords, know with your intelligence / that I am very truly dying. / Diarrhea is a message of death; / [1800] there is in me no good comfort. / Every day I ate more powder / than I put in those holes / that I had all plugged up, / and I cannot close up my [hole].’ / Hippocrates was very jealous, / [he was] wicked and cowardly and disdainful, / for his knowledge he did not want to teach / to either the bishop or the clergy., / not even a little bit only. / [1810] And they made him understand, / much they begged him to speak [about his knowledge]; / and he said to them without delaying: / ‘One time per year, the other per month’ / (about that they were in puzzlement) / ‘and one time per week, / the other per day, that is healthy work.’ / More they could not learn about it / nor understand anything in his word. / They begged him to say [more], / [1820] and he said to them without delaying: / ‘One time per year: take poison, / that would be straight reason[ing]; / and one time per month: bleed, / one could not proceed better; / and one time per day: eat: / a man who would live with such regimen / would never feel [that] his body is ill / from now to the day he would die.’ /

Much was evil that Hippocrates; / [1830] he put himself in Judas’s place. / He had himself carried to a beautiful meadow / where there were herbs aplenty. / There was one of them of great value / which threw up a marvelous odor. / His nephew said to him: ‘By Saint Aignien, / those herbs will do you a great good. / It will be damaging if you die / with the great knowledge that you know. / You ought to teach me / [1840] and leave me [some] of your good books.’ / ‘Which herb is this, nephew, which blooms here?’ / And he replies like a noble: / ‘Uncle,’ he said, ‘I will collect it / and will bring it close to you, / for I know well without delaying / that you want to test me.’ / He knelt down to pick [the herb], / and Hippocrates began to ‘blacken’ [with rage]. / A knife he held, big and sharp, / [1850] in his heart he stuck it. / Here he fells him dead because of envy / and because of very heinous cruelty / for the sole [reason] that [his nephew] understood / and from his good knowledge learned [how to heal]. /

Much was Hippocrates disloyal, / of wickedness full [and of] evils, / for his books he had all cut up, / burned and thrown into the ground, / [he] who did not want that of his knowledge / [1860] no man knew after his time. / And devils took him away, / one year with his whole body they reigned. / If he had his books left / and taught from his good knowledge, / his soul would have been absolved / which was at great pain lost. /

Good king, by God who did not lie, / watch out [that] you do not act thus.”        




The queen’s/empress’s third story

(fol. 349v-350r)


[Line 1909] “There was in the ancient time / a big and marvelous boar. / In a forest he was living / [which] was rather thick and large. / On the other side there was a plain, / and in the center of the mountain / there was planted a service tree / which every year used to bear fruit / so disfiguringly / that every branch hung down from it. / On All Saints day, heart of the season, / [1920] they fell down all around. / And that boar would return there, / three times a day it gorged itself there, / then it went [back] to its hiding place; / another daily [activity] it did not know how to do. / In the center of the wood, in the deepest [part], / no hunting dog ‘invites’ [the boar there] [?]. /

One day a boy came there; / he was only twelve years old, he was very handsome. / Right straight to the service tree he went / [1930] as if a boar was leading him. / He looks ahead and has chosen / under this tree the sorb apples. / He came forward and picked them, / and his two aprons he filled with them / so that not one of them he left there / that the boar would have discovered. / And here now came the boar! / It saw the child, began to snort. / He was very afraid of dying, / [1940] well he knew that fleeing was worth nothing; / so he did not know what to do more / than to climb up into the service tree. /

Now see here the boar in the place / which fears no noise nor threat. / When it did not find the sorb apples, / it struck his feet against the ground / and pretended [to be] an angry thing / and a very furious beast. / It saw the child up in the tree; / [1950] then it began with his mouth / to uproot the tree all around / so that it made it shake severely. / It thought to itself that, if it felled it, / it would take revenge on the child. / The one up there was deadly afraid, / for he expects no good comfort. / Of the sorb apples he took a fistful, / and throws them to it on the snout. / When it feels them, it ate them / [1960] and fleeing it then abandoned; / and the child throws to it again, / and the boar willingly eats. / Downward he goes climbing down, / at thee same time throwing sorb apples. / He comes to the lowest branche; / here he stops and holds on. / Sorb apples he still took / and very nicely held [them] toward it, / and the boar took them out of his hand / [1970] just as if it was bread. / One hand he put on his back / (the boar was fat as well as big); / the child begins to scratch it. / Then the boar  feels safe, / and the child climbed down / beside the boar, and scratches more. / The boar stretched largely out, / and he scratched it hard. / In one hand he held a knife / [1980] that he had, sharp and beautiful; / in the center of his heart he struck, / right away he threw it [down] dead. /

Good king, so is it not your opinion / [1990] that the boar had killed itself? / That through his great wickedness / the child has judged it, / that in such manner he has killed it, / be it rightfully or be it wrongfully? / So I see well, in my opinion, / that the boar killed itself. / All the time he was in his position, / for all the wealth of an admiral / the child did not climb down / [2000] the tree or climb up [it]. / And for this [reason] I make you understand / and advance for you this example, / that exactly thus will serve you / those seven sages and will lead you, / for your son they will make surpass [you] / and will make you lose your inheritance.”




The third sage’s, Malquidas’s story

(fol. 350v-352r)


[Line 2111] “In the ancient time there was in Rome, / know this, a very rich man / who was in a narrow street. / His house there was very beautiful, / but little could he enlarge it, / whatever he could pledge there. / For twenty silver marks in peace [time], without [any] war, / he bought an empty piece of land; / [2120] but  [counter-]offering of his wealth / [2119] could not be worth anything to him. / He made a high house / for the place that he had then from [the purchase]; / there was a staircase and a good upper story / and a beautiful vault[ed ceiling] and good flooring. /

A very noble man was this burgher / and in a great manner courteous. / He had taken a wife in his country, / for he wanted to increase his [circle of] friends. / But a man of low origin is crazy / [2130] who takes a wife of a great lineage; / by force of family relations / they have her often in vile conditions. / His wife he does not dare to punish / if he sees her getting crazy over something; / instead [such men] threaten to kill her / or to throw her out into a bad place. /

The lady made a friend knowledgeable [in love], / tall and big and elegant. / She made herself [out to be] sick one day / [2140] and said that she had pain in her heart; / to her mouth she threw her hand. / Much she knew of whore behavior! / All day long she acted demented / until it came to dusk. / To bed she went beside her lord, / for she knew much deceit and [fake] pain; / and when she had gone to bed, / much did the noble man comfort her / and cover her with his beautiful sheets. / [2150] She complained often in a low [voice]; / the noble man reasoned with her / and gently comforted her. / He [finally] fell asleep, [he] who was exhausted, / for on the market he had been. / She got up secretly / and put on a fine coat. / To the door she came and opened it; / her friend outside was waiting for her. / When he saw her he took her: / [2160] ‘Welcome to you,’ he said, ‘[my] friend.’ / Then the rich man woke up. / When his wife he did not find, / he jumped up and took his sword. / He came to the door, open he finds it, / so he looked at their whole undertaking. / He did not dare to touch them for Frisia [?], / for in Rome thus was the justice [system] / that one man did not dare to touch another, / [2170] instead it behooved him to let his peers judge. / He closed the door again and turned back from there / and from the inside bolted it; / then he went up to the window / in order to watch all their goings-on. /

[2175] Such was the custom in Rome / [2182] that people were taken at once / [2179] if they were found alone in the street / [2178] [after] curfew had been sounded; / [2176] there was no man, rich as he may be / [2177] [or] highly placed or related, / [2180] nor any lady, as well dressed as she may be, / [2181] if there were less than three of them, / *[who escaped that custom]. / [2183] To the community they were delivered / and the next day they were beaten. / Three hundred sentinels there were in Rome; / each one held a big lance. / They watched over the city. / Badly fared he who was found! / There was in Rome the law for the reason / [2190] that there was such wantonness: / to [certain] images gave / [certain] young men and they embraced [them]. / For that one had their noses cut off / and the heads severed from the torsos. / I tell you well without trickery / [that] from here began heresy.       

The burgher was in his house / who was not crazy nor an imbecile; / and the lady came to  the door, / [2200] she could not enter, for it was of iron. / So she held herself well [to be] disgraced / and feared that she was shamed; / and nevertheless she said to him: ‘Sire, / for nothing would you increase my anger. / By your mercy, open this door / and re[unite] me with you! / I cannot heal from my pain; / my heart will leave me before day[break].’ / ‘Certainly,’ he  said, ‘you will not enter here! / [2210] Never again will you lie with me! / Shame on him, whoever he may be, / who believes in a bad woman. / I have watched your entire undertaking; / for a long time he has had intercourse with you!’ / ‘Ha!’ said the lady. ‘Sweet friend, / do not be toward me so angry: / there was not ever the oath / which is for people’s confidence in / that I do not do such a thing without hesitation / [2220] [and in] that I did not get out of  the house to [my] shame; / but at night, which was calm, / so help me God, Mary’s Son, / I did not get out of the house secretly. / Do not have bad hope toward me. / I hear those watchmen sounding their horn / and going through these intersections. / If they find me, I am lost / and vilely destroyed; / and my relatives will hate you for it / [2230] and will kill you, if it comes [to that].’ / ‘By [my] faith, ‘ he said, ‘you will not enter here! / Never again will you lie with me!’ /

When she heard [it], she will not enter there, / nor reconcile herself with him, / in her heart thinks and looks for a stratagem / how she could deceive him. / So the lady called to him / and simply reasoned with him: / ‘Ha!’ she said. ‘Sweet friend, / [2240] to God who granted pardon to Longinus, / I commend your body and your life, / for you have sweetly nurished me. / From you it behooves me to sever myself; / die I must and end. / I see a well, I will now jump into it; / right now I will drown myself! / Better still [than] being drowned in the well, / may I be disgraced in [the eyes of] the people,’ /

Then she turns that way / [2250] like she who had learned from a fox. / A heavy stone she took, / into the well she throws it now; / the falling [sound] was marvelous. / Now the noble man was worried; / he believes well that she has jumped into the well / and that in there she had drowned herself. / ‘Ha, poor me!’ he said. ‘Badly have I fared / and have ignobly been put to shame, / for my wife has jumped into the well!’ / [2260] Then he runs down and opens the door. /

 The burgher very soon opened the door, / she hid herself behind; / he came out of there, she entered in / and bolted the door from inside. / Then she went up to the window / to look [around] at all the goings-on. / He came to the well and calls out to her: / ‘Where are you, beautiful friend? / Now there, stretch out your hand! / [2270] Great grief will I have if you die here.’ / ‘[You] fool,’ she said, ‘I am up here! / By my stratagem have I put you down. / Now you will in the morning be led / through these streets like a criminal [?]!’ / ‘Ha!’ he said. ‘My beautiful sister, / quickly has your heart been [so] completely turned! / You loved me su much, so it seemed; / do not let me being put to torment, / for if I am out here found, / [2280] I will be hanged and executed! / Open the door for me quickly! / I pardon you wholly for my mistreatment.’ / The lady said: ‘You will not enter here, / nor will you ever lie with me [again]!’ /

She began to call the watchmen / and toshout fiercely, / and the watchmen go over / there where they heard the lady. / They saw the burgher outside / [2290] and ask him: ‘Who are you?’ / The lady replies from the [upper] storey: / ‘It is my lord, the ass-fancier. / All night long he goes up and down the main street; / he has clothed many a woman, / know this well, from my property! / He is toward me totally disloyal!’ / But the noble man was loved / and honored by good people. / One sergeant said: ‘Lady, [have] mercy! / [2300] For the love of God who did not lie, / do not commit so great a dishonor, / but receive your lord back. / If he were to be led to a judge, / he would be shamed and chastised. / We want rather to perjure us / than to have him beaten tomorrow. / By your mercy, open that door / and receive your lord [back].’ / ‘Ha!’ she said. ‘Son of a whore, / [2310] may God and Saint Germain confound you! / Now I know well without delay / that from him you have taken a hefty [sum of] money. / I will tell it to the judge, / so help me God and Saint Denis.’ / When those heard it, they turned around / and led the noble man with them. / They delivered him to the community: / here he is in a bad situation! / As soon as he was by his peers judged, / [2320] he could not be spared, / for he was the next day beaten / and led through the streets. / He had shame; he became distressed, / the heart of his body died. /

Good king, by God who did not lie, / watch out [that] you do not act thus. / Do not kill your child, / for the love of God omnipotent! / If you kill it, know this, / [2330] you will repent it. / You would no longer be able to reverse [your act]. / no more so than he who cannot enter / his house of which he was lord, / then died of it like a great martyr.”    




The queen’s/empress’s fourth story

(fol. 352r-352v)


[Line 2359] “Seven pagan kings were laying siege to / the city of Rome in such a way / that they wanted to burn it, / to have the chair of Saint Peter, / to put to torment the apostolic clergy, / the cardinals and other people. / The community took advice about it / andput together a great stratagem. / A man there was of great age, / old, ancient, who was very wise. / ‘[My] lords,’ he said, ‘by Saint Amant, / [2370] listen to what appears to me! / Seven pagan kings have laid siege on us, / [they] who are not at all our friends. / And we are in here seven Sages, / noble men of high origin. / May each one of the Sages keep watch one day / [so] that the whoring pagan people / may not be able to cause grief in here, / [nor] to cross the wall and the moat; / or if this is not [done], may there be capture / [2380] of his body [before] coming to a judicial process.’ / And they reply now: / ‘We will do it [according to] your commandment.’ / The Sages were in [a state of] anxiety; / the city they defend for six months. / Never could [the pagans] enter therein, / nor cross the wall and moat. / When they wanted to attack, / [the Sages] make them flee with their stratagem. / For those inside [the situation] goes to worry / [2390] that provisions may go missing for them. /

One day they came to Genus/Janus, / to the master Sage, in the palace. / Because of this Janus one says January, / the month which is before February. / ‘Sire,’ they go, ‘ now it is in you / to defend [us] tomorrow vigorously.’ / ‘[My] lords,’ he said, ‘it is rather up to God, / the glorious [in his] majesty. / Do you know what I command you, / [2400] to you all together? / That tomorrow you be well armed, / [that] big and small all [be] ready, / and I will make a great contraption / in order to frighten the Saracens.’ / ‘Sire,’ they go, ‘you have spoken well. / We will act according to your wishes.’ / He had a vestment cut / and had it dyed in ink. / Tails he made [them] buy / [2410] of squirrels, more than a thousand; / he had them attached together / and arranged very cleverly. / And also he had two masks / which were very ugly things; / their tongues were vermilion. / This was held [to be] a great marvel! / Above he had a mirror made / which shone brilliantly against the day.

This [one] Sage got up in the morning / [2420] and robed himself in this contraption, / then climbed up on the Tower of Crescentius, / which was quite high and big. / With him he carried two swords; / they had rich hilts. / He puts himself toward the Saracens / at a parapet, all the way on the top. / The swords he began to strike [together] / so that he made fire [sparks] jump from them. / Said one [of the] pagan[s]: ‘The God up there / [2430] has tonight descended down / in order to come to the help of his people on earth. / To our misfortune did we engage in this war!’ / When they have seen this, they went away / and left the siege at that. / Well the fled in [a state of] folly: / they would not have lost a sorb apple there. / And those from Rome came out of there, / very hard they invaded them; / many they killed and wounded, / [2440] and great wealth they conquered there. /

Just so are you acting, lord king, / by the faith I owe you. / You carry on just such foolishness / as the one who plays ball. / When he holds it, immediately he throws it / to his companions in the street. / And so is he not quite a silly fool / when he launches it and runs after [it]? / You have the custom with the child: / [2450] when it cries and has great pain / and the breast is offered it, / immediately its war is apeased.”   




The fourth sage’s, Gentullus’s story

(fol. 352v-354v)


[Line 2479] “There was once a vassal; / rich was he and of great valor. / A wife he took of very great nobility / who all days comported herself with hautiness. / For twenty years he held her, they had no heir; / each one of them had from it a black heart. / And the lady died before [him], / and he remains, white-haired. / Another wife for the inheritance / the gave him, of high origin. / He loved her much and honored [her], / [2490] but she hardly appreciated it. / At all the annual feasts / this vassal held very greatly court / for knights and for burghers, / and for noble, courteous sergeants, / quite bigger [a court] than [that of] his lord. / Much was this vassal a noble man. /

The lady went away to her father, / for she wanted to speak to her mother. / ‘My lady, finally you have shamed me / [2500] and vilely disgraced. / You have given me a white-haired old man, / and here I am a young child. / I would believe, truly, that he had died [if somebody said so]! / I have from him no beautiful pleasure, / except for drinking and eating / and clothing and shoes, / but for that I hold him [to be] a noble man; / there is not his equal [from here] to Rome. / But he does not care about other enjoyment. / [2510] Do you not believe [me] that he annoys me with that? / Now he will not have waited any longer / that I act like a sophisticated friend!’ /

Said the mother: ‘Daughter, mercy, / for the love of God who did not lie! / Bad advice you have encountered, / so help me God of majesty. / Never did a woman of your lineage / bring shame to her lord, / nor, if it please God, Mary’s Son, / [2520] will you begin [doing it] to him.’ / And she replies with anger: / ‘You would have good suffering from it! / My father took you as a young man / when he was a new knight, / and I have this one in his old age. / To shame will I use my youth! / Now he will not have waited any longer / that I act like a sophisticated friend! /

Said the mother: ‘You will not do [so], / [2530] but you will suffer more. / Daughter, tell me, by Saint Simon, / whether he has a thing in his house / that he loves more than anything.’ / ‘Yes, mother, by Saint Aignien, / he has a pear tree in his garden / where we go to enjoy ourselves / and often to play board games. / There is nobody, should he strike off a leaf, / [2540] against whom he would not be angry; / and should somebody cut off a branch, / he would hurt him at the arm or the hip.’ / ‘Daughter,’ she said, ‘so cut it / when he will have gone out with the dogs. / Against it make a fire, / so the spot will be more beautiful. / Then you will notice his attitude / and will well hear his reaction. / So you will be able to make [him into] a pleasant friend / [2550] when you will have put him to the test.’ / ‘Certainly,’ she said, this [branch] will be cut / before night has fallen.’ /


[The first test]


[Back] into her house she went. / Well has the Devil inspired her! / The lady called a sergeant, / and he came to her running. / ‘Take the ax, come with me!’ / ‘Willingly, [my] lady, by my faith.’ / Into the garden they came, / [2560] beside the pear tree they stopped. / She was not at all slow of speech, / but said to him: ‘Cut [down] this pear tree!’ / Said the sergeant: ‘[My] lady, mercy, / for the love of God who did not lie, / my lord would disgrace me, / all my limbs he would cut off. / I would be punished bodily / and disinherited of [my] possessions.’ / The lady had taken the ax, / [2570] now she sliced [down] the pear tree / and truncated it into pieces; / for burning she carried it to the fire. /

The lord came [back] from the woods, / wet was he and drenched, / and saw the fire which burned clearly: / that was from the pear tree. / His wife he called about it: / ‘This green log, where was it found?’ / The lady replies without waiting: / [2580] ‘Sire, ‘ she said, ‘this is your pear tree.’ / ‘My pear tree?’ he said. ‘Who cut it down? / Certainly, very dearly will he pay for it!’ / ‘I, truly,’ she said, ‘sliced it down; / in my hands I put the ax.’ / ‘[My] lady,’ he said, ‘so thus it is: / I do not know any woman [from here] to Ponthieu, / except you, [who] would have cut it / [and] who would not have been [made to] pay.’ / ‘I did cut it down, however one may take [it], / [2590] however the thing may [have] occur[red].’ / The lord left it at that, / so that he no longer made a discussion about it. / In the bed were made peace / and pardon this time. /   

The lady got up in the morning, / and entered her pathway; / straight to her mother she went back / and this undertaking she told her: / ‘My lady, I sliced down the pear tree! / [2600] Into my hands I put the ax. / He took of it a little notice; / soon was gone his bad mood. / Now he will not have waited more / for me to act like a pleasing friend! / Said the mother: ‘You will not do [that], / but again you will be patient. / Daughter, now tell me, for the love of God, / whether there is another thing in your house / that he loves more than anything else.’ / [2610] ‘Yes, mother, know this well, / a beautiful white greyhound; / under the sky there is nothing that he holds that dear. / When a servant makes it cry, / one cannot make him angrier; / one cannot make him more afflicted / than by striking his greyhound. /

‘Daughter, think about how it could be dead. / This thing will be very strong. / If you can kill it, / [2620] know for sure, and [make your husband] forget it, / you will be able to make three friends, / nor will you ever be worse for it.’ / ‘Mother,’ she said, it will be killed, / so help me God and Saint Maurice!’ /


[The second test]


Into her house she went [back]. / The Devil has well spell-bound her! / The lord had gone out with the dogs, / for he loved them more than anything. / No sooner was it day that he went out / [2630] and no other thing disturbed him. / The lady put on a long dress, / newly washed and pleated it was; / in her sleeve she had a knife / that she had borrowed from a servant. / A fire she had made of coal; / the seats were around. / The cushions were well decorated, / for the coverings were laundered. / The lord had come [back] from the woods, / [2640] in front of the house he got off [his horse]; / now he sat down by the fire. / His wife had a very clear face. / She sat down on the other side, / for she knew many a stratagem and artifice. / Onto the coverlets jump the dogs, / they will never be mindfull of anything. / The greyhound comes before her, / and she caresses it, for they do not cry [?]. / She thrusts her dress forward, / and it jumps on it now. / [2650] The lady was a bad sister to it: / the knife she thrusts into its heart! / Dead it falls and throws forth a howl. / Said the lord: ‘Who did this?’ / ‘I, for sure,’ she said, ‘have killed it. / Look how it rendered me! / [The more] I have so many things washed / and laundered by three servants, / [the more] your dogs make everything [look] disgraceful; / [2660] and I do not dare to say anything [else]. / You are more believing in dogs / than in God who is a spirit.’ / ‘[My] lady,’ he said, ‘this know well: / that I am very angry about my dog! / And may God of majesty help me. / I do not know any woman in this realm [who], / if she had killed my greyhound, / would not [be subject to] strong justice.’ / ‘Sire, dead it is [and will remain], by Saint Denis, / [2670] [even] if I had now to be killed.’ / The discussion was left behind / this time and forgotten, / and the evil intention [was] pardoned, / which was very hard and heavy. /

The lady got up in the morning / and entered onto her pathway. / Straight to her mother she went / and told her this undertaking: / ‘My lady, the greyhound is dead; / [2680] he pardoned me [and excused] his strong anger. / So now he will not have waited any longer / that I make [myself into] a new friend! / I want to love the chaplain, / Guillaume, who is not bad. / This is my opinion, by Saint Simon: / there is no more handsome clergyman [from here] to Dijon!’ / ‘Daughter, by God the Creator, / suffer some more, for love[‘s sake], / for it will be All Saints [day] on Thursday / [2690] when your lord will be [in a] happy [mood]; / then he will hold a very great feast / of knights, and a very honorable [one]. / And I will tell you what you will do / and in what manner you will act: / when they will be sitting at the table / and the beautiful dishes [will be] put before them, / then pretend to get up / so that you make everything topple over. / This outrage will be great; / [2700] if you can accomplish it, / your lord[‘s reputation] will be put low / and you will be wholly above [what happened].’ / ‘[My] lady,’ she said, ‘I agree; / thus I will do it, by my faith.’ /


[The third test]


They wait until the right day. / This vassal was a very noble man; / he had invited all his friends / and the good people of the land, / the knights and the burghers, / [2710] and the noble, courteous sergeants. / Much did he endeavored to honor them, / for he was generous in giving. / The kitchen was prepared / and water was given for hand[washing]. / When they were all sitting at the table / and the beautiful dishes [were] put before them, / and the goblet[s were] filled / with spiced wine and [more] spiced wine, / and the lady sat down at the low end / [2720] (she had to eat with the senechal), / hear now how she acted / and of what ruse she was thinking: / her keys she attached to the tablecloth, / then jumped up without delay / so that she made everything fall / [and] the food spread out and spill! / All in there were beyond thinking / when they saw the fallen food. / ‘Who did this?’ said the lord. / [2730] ‘Now here is [a case of] very great disgrace!’ / ‘I,’ said the lady, ‘can go on no more, / may God and Saint Gervais help me.’ / ‘[My] lady,’ he said, ‘[this] now is worse. / There are already three [cases of] outrage!’ / The lord did not want to talk about it any more, / other food he had brought in. / Joyously the noble man served [it], / and they had a profusion to eat. /

And when the company had left / [2740] and the barons had gone, / then he called his wife. / ‘It behooves you, [my] lady, to be blood-let.’ / ‘Sire,’ she said, ‘blood-let yourself! / May it be, by Jesus the Glorious, that / never from my body blood go out, / nor a born man blood-let me!’ / ‘[My] lady, by my head, you will do so! / Right now I will blood-let you! / Through the ‘whorish’ blood that you have / [2750] and [through] the poison that you carry / [and] of which your veins are full / you have done to me these vile tricks; / for [it was] a great wrong [that] you cut down my pear tree, / and my greyhound, which was gentle, / you killed, and my food / you made vilely topple over. / By my beard that I have  white, / [all] this made you do bad blood!’ / She said [that] she would not be blood-let, / [2760] but he drew the furbished sword. / When the lady saw the sword, / she was severely frightened. / The lord said to the blood-letter / that he bleed her fully without delay. / His command he did; in an instant he tied her, / on the left arm he bled her. / He struck it and the blood spurted [forth] / so that one can see it from high [up]. / On the other arm he had [already] bled her, / [2770] so then was the lady frightened. / With the evil blood and with the poison / was soon filled a big basin. / The blood-letter wants to remove it, / because he saw her close to fainting, / but the lord blamed him for it / and very strongly insulted him: / ‘Vassal, too forward you were, / you who without my leave [wanted to] remove it! / Let the blood come right now; / [2780] she has lots of bad things in her body. / I do not want that there remain in her body / anything bad whatsoever, but [that the bad] be out of it.’ / When the lady heard this, / know [that] she was completely lost, / so she fainted before peoples’ eyes, / so that more than a hundred saw her. / When the lord saw her faint / and [saw] the blood in the basin blanch, / he said: ‘Now remove it. / [2790] Still there remains some of it, / and nevertheless we have / a little bit of the worst [blood] on top.’ /

Into her chamber they carried her off, / then she had asked for her mother, / and she came [right away] now. / The daughter says to her, weeping: / ‘My lady, to little [effect] am I deceived / and vilely disgraced, / for my lord has had me bled / [2800] on my two arms in order to lighten [my blood], / and he has scolded me [about] his pear tree / and [about] his greyhound, which was nice, / that I killed, and [about] his food / that I made vilely to topple over. / Now he has taken about it [all] a severe judgment, / and pray well [and gratefully] that he has not killed me!’ / ‘Beautiful daughter, I knew it well / and I said it all to you instantly. / Your lord is of a very hot temper, / [2810] so help me God and Saint Germain. / If you did to him more vile tricks, / he would soon take vengeance for it. / If you had acted [like] a friend, / you would have severed your head from the trunk.’ /

So you should do, king, / by that faith that I owe you: / have that queen bled / who knows so much of bad treachery. / Through the whorish blood of which she has so much, / [2820] she wants to kill your child.”   




The queen’s/empress’s fifth story

(fol. 355r-356r)


[Line 2857] “Octavian was once in Rome. / In that century there was no wiser man, / nor [anyone who] loved more silver and gold; / [2860] in several places was his treasure. / The Tower of  Crescentius he had filled with it, / with gold and silver [had he] appointed it very well. / A sage he had living under him, / through wealth [he was] very strong [and] powerful; / by him, you can well know, / the king had the treaure guarded. / The avaricious and the mercenaries / one soon makes into masters of honors. / The worst man of the house[hold] / [2870] the high[ly placed] man makes his senechal. /

In the city there was another Sage / who had no courage whatsoever. / Three silver marks, if he had them, / he would have spent them on one meal! / He did not believe in Arthur, / he never made a cellar or a wall. / He had a wife and handsome sons / and beautiful, gracious daughters. /

A boy he had whom he loved much; / in his ear he advised him: / ‘Son, we are poor for nothing; / in this tower there is much money. / By my stratagem I will endeavor / how I will have [some] of this treasure.’ / The the son said: ‘Father, mercy, / for the love of God who did not lie! / Proper poverty is very good. / One makes of robbing a bad reward, / because for robbing one is soon hanged, / [2890] dead, killed and confounded.’ / Said the father: ‘By Saint Cicaut, / your speech is worth nothing here! / By my stratagem I will endeavor / how I will have [some] of this treasure.’ /

The father pushed  the son; / the latter did not dare to speak further about it. / So they let night fall / and the people quiet down. / The Sage knew a lot about stratagem[s]: / [2900] he entered a garden / behind the tower, in a thicket / next to a large moor. / Here they pierced the tower (it was of an arm’s length thick[ness]), / there they reached the gold coins; / they took of them and carried [them] away. / So in an instace they had [food] to eat, / for the exchange was close to them / and [so was] the meat store / [2910] where one finds what one asks for. / On another night they went there, / and they came back all loaded down. / One can carry out undertaking[s] too far, / above all those [concerning] robbing./

The Sage who guarded the tower / feared Octavian tremendously. / That day he got up in the morning / and goes toward that tower; / the hole he had found there / [2920] that those had plugged up, / and gold coins he saw there / which were spread out there. / He did not have too hasty a courage[ous reaction]; / well he hid himself, for he was wise. / Well he knows [that] if he talked about it, / never would he have the robber. / Four sergeants he called; / he had nurished them, much he trusted [them]. / Those make a deep ditch, / [2930] a round basin they put in there. / Rapidly they had it filled / with lead that they had make boil, / [and with] pitch and glue and sea mud; / all that they make move [along] to assemble [it]. / Four anvils, very well [heated to] boiling [temperature], / they threw in there, well glowing red, / in order to keep [the mixture] luke-warm for a long time, / [so that] it would not cool rapidly. / When they had thus prepared [the enterprise], / [2940] they leave there and left it [behind]. / The father and the son go there / for what they are used  to. /

The [avaricious] Sage comes straight to the hole / resolutely, for he fears nothing. / Now do not believe that he goes to the treasure! / [No!] Into the basin he [does] a jump, / from here to the neck is he submerged in there: / now he is bound fast and cemented! / He could move neither hand nor foot. / [2950] Now he held himself to be much taken in [by a ruse], / and his son begins to weep / and to carry on with [signs of] very great pain. / But the father made him shut up / so that nobody would make them [be] hear[ed]. /

‘Handsome son,’ he said, ‘I am lost, / dead and killed and confounded. / Cut off my head with the sword / rapidly, without delay! / For in the morning I will be led / [2960] through the streets and beaten; / my beautiful daughters will weep / when they will see me so tormented, / and the people will run to catch you / for [the reason] that they will want to disgrace you. / But do not be a fool: / take a knife and a stick, / and whittle [it] at the top and whittle [it] at the bottom [end]; / when those will enter the house, / you will strike yourself with that knife / [2970] whether on the thigh or on the calf. / Show them the thrust and the wound, / and the thing will seem very true, / and you will say that your sisters / carry on for you with [signs of] such great pain.’ / And the son drew the sword, / his father’s head he cut off. / Then he went into his house / all secretly and like a robber. / The head he put into a vile place / [2980] so that it would not be found nor looked for. /

The Sage who guarded the tower / feared Octavian tremendously. / He got up that day in the morning, / together with him he had four servants; / they look down [into the ditch] and saw / him who had only the trunk. / Then the young men shouted / in high voice: ‘Robber! Robber!’ / And those from Rome assembled there, / [2990] a great rope they brought there; / and they tie him under the armpits / and attached him around the chest. / To a strong horse they tied him, / out of the basin they dragged him. / The body they did not know at all / for [the reason] that it had only the trunk. / Upon the advice of an old man / they had it pulled through Rome. / The news was soon known; / [3000] and when they came into the street / where the house of the Sage was / who had removed the treasure, / when the daughters saw [the trunk of] their father, / then they wept and made [signs of] great sorrow. / And he, [the son] who was not a fool / took a knife and a stick / and whittles [it] at the top and whittles [it] at the bottom [end]. / And those entered the house / and ran to seize him, / [3010] for now they want to disgrace him.  / But he struck himself with a knife / that he possessed, sharp and beautiful; / into his thigh he thrusted it / so that the blood ran out down. / ‘[My] lords,’ he said, ‘hold yourself up [?], / for you disgrace me very wrongly. / My sisters weep here for me, / for I wounded myself to [my] confusion.’ / The cut he showed them and the wound; / [3020] so then the thing seemed very true. / When those saw this, they turned [their opinion] around [?] / because of that thing that they saw. / And he had three horses loaded / with fine gold and good coins, / and fled straight to Carthage / where there was much of his lineage. / His sisters he takes [with him] and his mother, / but it behooved him to leave his father. / In a new cemetery, / [3030] or in such a place as was very beautiful, / he should have put [his father’s] head, / and [should] not at all have it sit in so vile a place [as he eventually found] [?]. / A curse on the food / when it sins against nature! /

Just so will serve you / this your son and he will [mis]lead you. / You will have severed the head from the trunk, / so help me God, Jesus the king.”


[Continued in Part II]