Ricciardo Manardi is found by Messer Lizio da Valbona
with his daughter, whom he marries, and remains at
peace with her father.
In silence Elisa received the praise bestowed on her story by
her fair companions; and then the queen called for a story from
Filostrato, who with a laugh began on this wise:
Chidden have I
been so often and by so many of you for the sore burden, which I
laid upon you, of discourse harsh and meet for tears, that, as some
compensation for such annoy, I deem myself bound to tell you somewhat
that may cause you to laugh a little: wherefore my story,
which will be of the briefest, shall be of a love, the course whereof,
save for sighs and a brief passage of fear mingled with shame, ran
smooth to a happy consummation.
Know then, noble ladies, that 'tis no long time since there dwelt
in Romagna a right worthy and courteous knight, Messer Lizio da
Valbona by name, who was already verging upon old age, when, as it
happened, there was born to him of his wife, Madonna Giacomina,
a daughter, who, as she grew up, became the fairest and most debonair
of all the girls of those parts, and, for that she was the only daughter
left to them, was most dearly loved and cherished by her father and
mother, who guarded her with most jealous care, thinking to arrange
some great match for her. 
Now there was frequently in Messer
Lizio's house, and much in his company, a fine, lusty young man,
one Ricciardo de' Manardi da Brettinoro, whom Messer Lizio and
his wife would as little have thought of mistrusting as if he had been
their own son: who, now and again taking note of the damsel, that
she was very fair and graceful, and in bearing and behaviour most
commendable, and of marriageable age, fell vehemently in love with
her, which love he was very careful to conceal. 
The damsel detected
it, however, and in like manner plunged headlong into love with
him, to Ricciardo's no small satisfaction. 
Again and again he was
on the point of speaking to her, but refrained for fear; at length,
however, he summoned up his courage, and seizing his opportunity,
thus addressed her: "Caterina, I implore thee, suffer me not to
die for love of thee."
Whereto the damsel forthwith responded:
"Nay, God grant that it be not rather that I die for love of thee."
Greatly exhilarated and encouraged, Ricciardo made answer:
"'Twill never be by default of mine that thou lackest aught that
may pleasure thee; but it rests with thee to find the means to save
thy life and mine."
Then said the damsel: "Thou seest, Ricciardo,
how closely watched I am, insomuch that I see not how 'twere
possible for thee to come to me; but if thou seest aught that I may
do without dishonour, speak the word, and I will do it."
was silent a while, pondering many matters: then, of a sudden, he
said: "Sweet my Caterina, there is but one way that I can see,
to wit, that thou shouldst sleep either on or where thou mightst have
access to the terrace by thy father's garden, where, so I but knew
that thou wouldst be there at night, I would without fail contrive
to meet thee, albeit 'tis very high."
"As for my sleeping there,"
replied Caterina, "I doubt not that it may be managed, if thou art
sure that thou canst join me."
Ricciardo answered in the affirmative.
Whereupon they exchanged a furtive kiss, and parted.
On the morrow, it being now towards the close of May, the
damsel began complaining to her mother that by reason of the
excessive heat she had not been able to get any sleep during the
"Daughter," said the lady, "what heat was there? Nay,
there was no heat at all."
"Had you said, 'to my thinking,'
mother," rejoined Caterina, "you would perhaps have said sooth;
but you should bethink you how much more heat girls have in them
than ladies that are advanced in years."
"True, my daughter,"
returned the lady, "but I cannot order that it shall be hot and cold,
as thou perchance wouldst like; we must take the weather as we
find it, and as the seasons provide it: perchance to-night it will be
cooler, and thou wilt sleep better."
"God grant it be so," said
Caterina, "but 'tis not wonted for the nights to grow cooler as the
summer comes on."
"What then," said the lady, "wouldst thou
have me do?"
"With your leave and my father's," answered
Caterina, "I should like to have a little bed made up on the terrace
by his room and over his garden, where, hearing the nightingales
sing, and being in a much cooler place, I should sleep much better
than in your room."
Whereupon: "Daughter, be of good cheer,"
said the mother; "I will speak to thy father, and we will do as he
So the lady told Messer Lizio what had passed between
her and the damsel; but he, being old and perhaps for that reason
a little morose, said: "What nightingale is this, to whose chant
she would fain sleep? I will see to it that the cicalas shall yet lull
her to sleep."
Which speech, coming to Caterina's ears, gave her
such offence, that for anger, rather than by reason of the heat, she
not only slept not herself that night, but suffered not her mother to
sleep, keeping up a perpetual complaint of the great heat. 
her mother hied her in the morning to Messer Lizio, and said
to him: "Sir, you hold your daughter none too dear; what difference
can it make to you that she lie on the terrace? She has tossed
about all night long by reason of the heat; and besides, can you
wonder that she, girl that she is, loves to hear the nightingale sing?
Young folk naturally affect their likes."
Whereto Messer Lizio
made answer: "Go, make her a bed there to your liking, and set
a curtain round it, and let her sleep there, and hear the nightingale
sing to her heart's content."
Which the damsel no sooner learned,
than she had a bed made there with intent to sleep there that same
night; wherefore she watched until she saw Ricciardo, whom by a
concerted sign she gave to understand what he was to do. 
Lizio, as soon as he had heard the damsel go to bed, locked a door
that led from his room to the terrace, and went to sleep himself.
When all was quiet, Ricciardo with the help of a ladder got upon
a wall, and standing thereon laid hold of certain toothings of another
wall, and not without great exertion and risk, had he fallen, clambered
up on to the terrace, where the damsel received him quietly with
the heartiest of cheer. Many a kiss they exchanged; and then got
them to bed, where well-nigh all night long they had solace and
joyance of one another, and made the nightingale sing not a few
But, brief being the night and great their pleasure, towards
dawn, albeit they wist it not, they fell asleep, Caterina's right arm
encircling Ricciardo's neck, while with her left hand she held him
by that part of his person which your modesty, my ladies, is most
averse to name in the company of men. 
So, peacefully they slept,
and were still asleep when day broke and Messer Lizio rose; and
calling to mind that his daughter slept on the terrace, softly opened
the door, saying to himself: Let me see what sort of night's rest
the nightingale has afforded our Caterina? 
And having entered,
he gently raised the curtain that screened the bed, and saw Ricciardo
asleep with her and in her embrace as described, both being quite
naked and uncovered; 
and having taken note of Ricciardo, he went
away, and hied him to his lady's room, and called her, saying: "Up,
up, wife, come and see; for thy daughter has fancied the nightingale
to such purpose that she has caught him, and holds him in her hand."
"How can this be?" said the lady. "
Come quickly, and thou shalt
see," replied Messer Lizio. 
So the lady huddled on her clothes, and
silently followed Messer Lizio, and when they were come to the
bed, and had raised the curtain, Madonna Giacomina saw plainly
enough how her daughter had caught, and did hold the nightingale,
whose song she had so longed to hear. 
Whereat the lady, deeming
that Ricciardo had played her a cruel trick, would have cried out
and upbraided him; but Messer Lizio said to her: "Wife, as thou
valuest my love, say not a word; for in good sooth, seeing that she
has caught him, he shall be hers. 
Ricciardo is a gentleman and
wealthy; an alliance with him cannot but be to our advantage: if
he would part from me on good terms, he must first marry her, so
that the nightingale shall prove to have been put in his own cage
and not in that of another."
Whereby the lady was reassured, seeing
that her husband took the affair so quietly, and that her daughter had
had a good night, and was rested, and had caught the nightingale.
So she kept silence; 
nor had they long to wait before Ricciardo
awoke; and, seeing that 'twas broad day, deemed that 'twas as much
as his life was worth, and aroused Caterina, saying: "Alas! my
soul, what shall we do, now that day has come and surprised me
Which question Messer Lizio answered by coming forward,
and saying: "We shall do well."
At sight of him Ricciardo felt
as if his heart were torn out of his body, and sate up in the bed, and
said: "My lord, I cry you mercy for God's sake. I wot that my
disloyalty and delinquency have merited death; wherefore deal with
me even as it may seem best to you: however, I pray you, if so it
may be, to spare my life, that I die not."
Lizio, "the love I bore thee, and the faith I reposed in thee, merited
a better return; but still, as so it is, and youth has seduced thee into
such a transgression, redeem thy life, and preserve my honour, by
making Caterina thy lawful spouse, that thine, as she has been for
this past night, she may remain for the rest of her life. In this way
thou mayst secure my peace and thy safety; otherwise commend thy
soul to God."
Pending this colloquy, Caterina let go the nightingale,
and having covered herself, began with many a tear to implore her
father to forgive Ricciardo, and Ricciardo to do as Messer Lizio
required, that thereby they might securely count upon a long continuance
of such nights of delight. 
But there needed not much
supplication; for, what with remorse for the wrong done, and the
wish to make amends, and the fear of death, and the desire to escape
it, and above all ardent love, and the craving to possess the beloved
one, Ricciardo lost no time in making frank avowal of his readiness
to do as Messer Lizio would have him. 
Wherefore Messer Lizio,
having borrowed a ring from Madonna Giacomina, Ricciardo did
there and then in their presence wed Caterina. 
Which done, Messer
Lizio and the lady took their leave, saying: "Now rest ye a while;
for so perchance 'twere better for you than if ye rose."
they left the young folks, who forthwith embraced, and not having
travelled more than six miles during the night, went two miles
further before they rose, and so concluded their first day. 
they were risen, Ricciardo and Messer Lizio discussed the matter
with more formality; and some days afterwards Ricciardo, as was
meet, married the damsel anew in presence of their friends and
kinsfolk, and brought her home with great pomp, and celebrated his
nuptials with due dignity and splendour. And so for many a year
thereafter he lived with her in peace and happiness, and snared the
nightingales day and night to his heart's content.