10.5: In which a hoop or two is jumped through.
The lovely young Dianora is married to Gilberto. They are happy! She loves him, he loves her. But who wants to read a story about happy people content with their lot? Ansaldo, a neighbor, has eyes for her and won’t leave her be. Dianora has to concoct a way to put him off that won’t get her in more trouble, because in those days, “NO” generally meant, “NOthing” to a man with his eyes on a particular prize.
So she figures she’s going to set him up with an impossible task. The next time he sends her a serving woman with his inopportune requests, she agrees to meet him on ONE condition: She will only meet him in a garden flowering as if it were in the height of spring. (It is January, natch.) If he can come up with a place like that, well and good. If not, he must leave her alone forever and face the wrath of her husband’s family if he does not.
Ansaldo understands exactly what Dianora is hoping to do. Instead of gratefully bowing out, he engages the services of a top notch magician. Said magician easily creates a magnificent blooming garden. Word spreads about this amazing feat, and Dianora realizes her bluff has been called.
She goes to Gilberto and confesses all. He is angry at first, but then calms down. And then comes up with this beauty of a solution: as Ansaldo has done what she asked, she must go to him, and in GOOD FAITH, ask him to relinquish her from her promise. If he will not, she has Gilberto’s permission to submit to Ansaldo once, provided of course, that she does not fall in love with him.
Dianora agrees (and while this might make you wonder, she didn’t have much choice in the matter.) She goes to the garden to meet Ansaldo. He is somewhat confused. Dianora is there but not looking particularly pleased about it. Upon his questioning she explains that her husband has decreed she must make good her promise but only once. A deal is a deal. If it were up to her…
Ansaldo is impressed, not with Dianora, but with Gilberto. What a stand up fella! He releases Dianora from her promise. Gilberto, upon hearing this news, is equally impressed with Ansaldo. The two of them become fast friends. And the magician, who hadn’t been paid yet, hears how it all turned out, and declares he won’t take a florin! So it turns out great for all the guys, and probably for Dianora, too, who no doubt was happy to be left in peace.