Page 10 - THE DECAMERON: 100 Days on 100 Etchings by Petru Rusu
P. 10


             It’s Florence, Italy, 1348, and the Black Death has ravaged                  seize the opportunity and the young men and they have

             the city. Whole families have died. Neighborhoods are                        their posse (brigata in Italian) ready to go. They don’t
             empty. Chaos reigns and the routines of daily life have                      have to travel far to escape the horrors of the city, and in
             been abandoned. In the church of Santa Maria Novella,                        about two miles they reach a lovely palace where they’ve
             a group of seven young gentlewomen gather to pray                            arranged to stay. It has all the amenities: ample living
             and discuss their sad life, hoping to find some way                          space, servants, beautiful gardens, nature everywhere

             of alleviating their suffering. The oldest of the group,                     in the form of singing birdies, gentle breezes and clear
             Pampinea, hits on a solution: road trip. It seems like                       flowing water. Once they arrive, they realize that all
             a good idea to get out of a city filled with contagion.                      kinds of mischief might happen if they get bored, so they

             There’s nothing to do but watch the bodies pile up and                       invent a storytelling game to occupy their time. They set
             hear the news about who died. Plus, it’s dangerous to                        the rules, choose a “Queen” to rule them for the first
             stay somewhere where all social and moral controls are                       day, and the structure of their two-week stay is set in
             gone and people are succumbing to “carnal pleasures.”                        motion. The ten young people spend the next two weeks
             Better to leave for the country and enjoy the beauty of                      (except for four days of religious observances) telling one

             nature where the houses are far enough apart that you’re                     story per day each on a chosen theme. Each day has a
             not watching your neighbors die every time you look out                      new king or queen that chooses the theme and makes
             the window. The prevailing medical advice at the time                        arrangements for their meals and entertainment. It’s the

             suggested that healthy air and a cheerful frame of mind                      regimen of storytelling, they say, that refreshes them and
             could decrease your chances of catching the deadly                           keeps them on the straight and narrow path while they’re
             disease.  But the ladies are afraid of traveling alone.                      away from the city, so that no one will gossip about them.
             After all, women are irrational and fickle, and without a                    After telling a hundred stories on themes like the Power
             man in charge they won’t be able to get anything done.                       of Fortune, Unhappy Loves and Pranks Played by Wives on

             Fortune is kind in that moment and sends three young                         Their Husbands and one relo to a new palace just to mix
             men of their acquaintance into the church. The ladies                        things up the brigata return to the city to face their fate.

                                                                                                                             “Decameron” Retrieved from publicly source: Decameron Summary
     DECAMERON      10                                                                                                   <>
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