7.5 In which one finds the “key” to happiness.
In Rimini, a jealous husband keeps his wife under lock and key. He even blacks out the windows, and calks the door so that even when he goes out to work, she has no access to the outside world.
This aggravates the woman no end, particularly as she has never done one thing to merit such distrust. Given that she had plenty of time to think and not much else to do, she resolves to deserve the punishment she has already suffered.
Turns how, conveniently, that a handsome young man name Filippo lives in the adjacent house, and she discovers that her bedroom and his share a wall, AND that wall is, also conveniently, cracked. They make contact through the wall, touching hands and talking of what might be.
But how to manage it, which such a jealous spouse eternally on guard? A plan ensues.
At Christmas, the wife requests permission to go to the local chapel to confess her sins, as is customary. The husband is immediately on guard…what sins could she possibly have? The wife understands her husband very well, and when he agrees, she knows it’s only because he is planning to catch her out.
And she isn’t wrong. The husband bribes the good father hearing confessions and takes his place to hear what his wife has to get off her chest…er soul.
The wife knows her husband far better than he knows her, and commences to play dumb. The conversation is as follows
I am in love with a priest who has used magic to seduce me. He can unlock all doors, and put my husband into a deep dreamless sleep. I am with him every night.
No! You must stop this at once. No more nights with this devil.
I can not!! His magical spell is too much, I love him and cannot quit him.
I will send you a spiritual counselor, to pray and guide you back to virtue.
NOOOOOOOOO! My husband is mad with jealousy. He will kill me.
Don’t worry my child, I will be discreet. Go, repent!
That night, the husband resolves to stay awake and stand at the front door to confront this magical priest. All night he waits, but no one comes.
The next day, he sends a servant dressed up as a confessor to ‘guide ‘ his wife back to virtue. His wife states that the priest did not come, and if this kept up, she would be sure to forget him.
Hubby, pleased, resolves to stand guard EVERY night at the front door. Which, guess what? makes it a simple matter for Filippo to visit her via the window.
At last the husband gives up. He confronts his wife, telling her he knows all, as he had been the priest to whom she confessed.
His wife bursts out laughing. I knew that all along. I told you I was in love with a priest! (which you were pretending to be) I told you all doors were open to him, and I told you that I slept with him every night. Who else could it be but you?
At this, the husband is chastised. He realizes that his wife is both wise and virtuous, and no longer will he treat her so coldly. He goes off to work every day, confident and secure enough not to lock her in anymore.
Which makes it very much simpler for Filippo, who now can enter by the front door!