The Wise Old Man and his Foolish Wife.

There was a certain wise and prudent knight who, in his old age, married a young and foolish wife. The lady, being dissatisfied with her spouse, fell in love with a priest. She told her mother of her lover, and the mother advised her to hold fast to the old knight; but if she was determined to do such a thing, she should first prove her husband. So the young wife caused the gardener to cut down a pear-tree, of which the knight was very fond, and lay it in the hall. When the husband discovers the tree, he in­quires of her where it came from, and she tells him it was cut down by her orders in the garden. “Well,” says he, quietly, “now that it is hewn down it can't be helped.” The lady returns to her mother and relates how her husband was not angry at her cutting down his favourite tree. “Try him again,” says the mother; “you do not know what he thinks of the matter.” The foolish young wife next slays the knight's favourite hound, and tells him that she did so because it had lain on her dress. “Dame,” quoth he, “thou mightest have drawn thy clothes together, and let my dog live: slay no more, though he lie on thy clothes; if thou dost, I shall certainly be wroth.” Once more she repairs to her mother. “Old men,” says the mother, “will endure much wrong; but try him again.” Soon after this the knight has a noble company assembled at his house; and when all are seated at table, his wife fastens the keys suspended from her girdle to a corner of the cloth, and then suddenly rising, “drow doun coppys and dyschys ilkone,” making a sad mess of the clothes of the guests. At this the good knight was full wroth, and after the guests were gone, he led his wife into a chamber, where, with the help of his brother, he bled her in the arm,* leaving only so much blood in her body as would keep in life, and then laid her down on a fair bed. When she recovered from her swoon, he gave her meat and drink, and said to her: “Dame, lie thou still. Thou shalt have meat and drink at will. But whenever thou waxest mad again, thou shalt be let blood.” “Mercy, my lord,” she cries, “and I will surely anger thee no more.” “If so,” says the wise and prudent old man, “then do I forgive thee thy three offences.”

Than wald scho no more
Lever of the clerkis lore,
For fere to be let bloode;
But heldir algat trew and good.

Keller, in his introduction to the Roman des Sept Sages, refers, among other parallels to this story, to the Fabliau De la femme qui voulut éprouver son Mari (Le Grand, iii, 177), and to Boc­caccio's tale of Lidia and Pyrrhus (Decameron, Day vii, nov. 9). It also occurs in the Contes et joyeux devis of Bonaventure des Périers, and in the Contes, etc., of the Abbé Prévôt.

IX—The Queen relates the story of