Biondello gulls Ciacco in the matter of a breakfast: for
which prank Ciacco is cunningly avenged on Biondello,
causing him to be shamefully beaten.
All the company by common consent pronounced it no dream
but a vision that Talano had had in his sleep, so exactly, no circumstance
lacking, had it fallen out according as he had seen it. However,
as soon as all had done speaking, the queen bade Lauretta
follow suit; which Lauretta did on this wise:
As, most discreet
my ladies, those that have preceded me to-day have almost all taken
their cue from somewhat that has been said before, so, prompted by
the stern vengeance taken by the scholar in Pampinea's narrative of
yesterday, I am minded to tell you of a vengeance that was indeed
less savage, but for all that grievous enough to him on whom it was
Wherefore I say that there was once at Florence one that all
folk called Ciacco, a man second to none that ever lived for inordinate
gluttony, who, lacking the means to support the expenditure
which his gluttony demanded, and being, for the rest, well-mannered
and well furnished with excellent and merry jests, did, without turning
exactly court jester, cultivate a somewhat biting wit, and loved
to frequent the houses of the rich, and such as kept good tables;
whither, bidden or unbidden, he not seldom resorted for breakfast or
There was also in those days at Florence one that was called
Biondello, a man very short of stature, and not a little debonair, more
trim than any fly, with his blond locks surmounted by a coif, and
never a hair out of place; and he and Ciacco were two of a trade.
Now one morning in Lent Biondello, being in the fish-market
purchasing two mighty fat lampreys for Messer Vieri de' Cerchi, was
thus engaged by Ciacco, who came up to him, and:
"What means this?" quoth he. 
"Why," replied Biondello, "'tis
that yestereve Messer Corso Donati had three lampreys much finer
than these and a sturgeon sent to his house, but as they did not
suffice for a breakfast that he is to give certain gentlemen, he has
commissioned me to buy him these two beside. Wilt thou not be
"Ay, marry, that will I," returned Ciacco.
And in what
he deemed due time he hied him to Messer Corso Donati's house, where
he found him with some of his neighbours not yet gone to breakfast.
And being asked by Messer Corso with what intent he was come,
he answered: "I am come, Sir, to breakfast with you and your
"And welcome art thou," returned Messer Corso, "go
we then to breakfast, for 'tis now the time."
So to table they went,
where nought was set before them but pease and the inward part of
the tunny salted, and afterwards the common fish of the Arno fried.
Wherefore Ciacco, not a little wroth at the trick that he perceived
Biondello had played him, resolved to pay him out. And not many
days after Biondello, who had meanwhile had many a laugh with his
friends over Ciacco's discomfiture, 
met him, and after greeting him,
asked him with a laugh what Messer Corso's lampreys had been like.
"That question," replied Ciacco, "thou wilt be able to answer much
better than I before eight days are gone by."
And parting from
Biondello upon the word, he went forthwith and hired a cozening
rogue, and having thrust a glass bottle into his hand, brought him
within sight of the Loggia de' Cavicciuli; and there, pointing to a
knight, one Messer Filippo Argenti, a tall man and stout, and of
a high courage, and haughty, choleric and cross-grained as ne'er
another, he said to him: 
"Thou wilt go, flask in hand, to Messer
Filippo, and wilt say to him: 'I am sent to you, Sir, by Biondello,
who entreats you to be pleased to colour this flask for him with some
of your good red wine, for that he is minded to have a good time with
his catamites.' And of all things have a care that he lay not hands
upon thee, for he would make thee rue the day, and would spoil my
"Have I aught else to say?" enquired the rogue.
more," returned Ciacco: "and now get thee gone, and when thou
hast delivered the message, bring me back the flask, and I will pay
So away went the rogue, and did the errand to Messer Filippo, who
forthwith, being a hasty man, jumped to the conclusion that
Biondello, whom he knew, was making mock of him, and while an
angry flush overspread his face: "'Colour the flask, forsooth!'"
quoth he, "and 'Catamites!' God send thee and him a bad year!"
and therewith up he started, and reached forward to lay hold of the
who, being on the alert, gave him the slip and was off, and
reported Messer Filippo's answer to Ciacco, who had observed what
had passed. 
Having paid the rogue, Ciacco rested not until he had
found Biondello, to whom: "Wast thou but now," quoth he, "at
the Loggia de' Cavicciuli?"
"Indeed no," replied Biondello:
such a question?"
"Because," returned Ciacco, "I may tell
thee that thou art sought for by Messer Filippo, for what cause I know
"Good," quoth Biondello, "I will go thither and speak with
So away went Biondello, and Ciacco followed him to see
what course the affair would take.
Now having failed to catch the rogue, Messer Filippo was still
very wroth, and inly fumed and fretted, being unable to make out
aught from what the rogue had said save that Biondello was set on
by some one or another to flout him. And while thus he vexed his
spirit, up came Biondello; whom he no sooner espied than he made
for him, and dealt him a mighty blow in the face, and tore his hair
and coif, and cast his capuche on the ground, 
and to his "Alas, Sir,
what means this?"
still beating him amain: "Traitor," cried he; "I
will give thee to know what it means to send me such a message.
'Colour the flask,' forsooth, and 'Catamites!' Dost take me for a
stripling, to be befooled by thee?"
And therewith he pummelled
Biondello's face all over with a pair of fists that were liker to iron
than aught else, until it was but a mass of bruises; he also tore and
dishevelled all his hair, tumbled him in the mud, rent all his clothes
upon his back, and that without allowing him breathing-space to ask
why he thus used him, or so much as utter a word. "Colour me
the flask!" and "Catamites!" rang in his ears; 
but what the
words signified he knew not. 
In the end very badly beaten, and in
very sorry and ragged trim, many folk having gathered around them,
they, albeit not without the utmost difficulty, rescued him from
Messer Filippo's hands, and told him why Messer Filippo had thus
used him, censuring him for sending him such a message, and adding
that thenceforth he would know Messer Filippo better, and that he was
not a man to be trifled with. 
Biondello told them in tearful
exculpation that he had never sent for wine to Messer Filippo:
then, when they had put him in a little better trim, crestfallen and
woebegone, he went home imputing his misadventure to Ciacco.
And when, many days afterwards, the marks of his ill-usage being
gone from his face, he began to go abroad again, it chanced that
Ciacco met him, and with a laugh: "Biondello," quoth he, "how
didst thou relish Messer Filippo's wine?"
"Why, as to that,"
replied Biondello, "would thou hadst relished the lampreys of Messer
Corso as much!"
"So!" returned Ciacco, "such meat as thou then
gavest me, thou mayst henceforth give me, as often as thou art so
minded; and I will give thee even such drink as I have given thee."
So Biondello, witting that against Ciacco his might was not equal to
his spite, prayed God for his peace, and was careful never to flout