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XXXVIII

Spoken: Story and Dialogue

When the King of Carthage heard Nicolette speak thus, he threw his arms around her neck:

"My very dear friend, tell me who you are; have no fear of me."

"Lord," she responded, "I am the daughter of the King of Carthage and was stolen away in early childhood, more than fifteen years ago."

These words convinced them she was telling the truth; so they celebrated her return with splendor and brought her to the central palace in even greater honor, as suited a daughter of a king. They wanted to give her a pagan king for a husband, but she did not wish to marry.

She stayed well for three or four days. She thought of a way she would be able to leave in search of Aucassin. She procured a viol and learned to play it. The day was coming when they wanted her to marry a powerful pagan king: she escaped in the night and, going down to the port, lived with an old woman by the sea. She cut an herb and used it to coat her head and face so well that she became completely black and lost all her splendor. She made herself a tunic, a coat, a shift, and pants, and disguised herself as a juggler. She took her viol, spoke to a sailor, and persuaded him to let her make passage on his ship. They hoisted the sails and sailed the high seas until they reached the country of Provence. Nicolette disembarked with her hurdy-gurdy. She traveled and played across the country, and reached Beaucaire Castle, Aucassin's home.

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