Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronFourth Day Sixth Tenth Stories Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron | Fourth Day, Sixth–Tenth Stories | Summary



Fourth Day, Sixth Story

Panfilo is the storyteller. Andreuola and Gabriotto are neighbors, and they fall in love. Because he is in a lower class than she is, they devise to meet in her garden in secret with the help of her maidservant. Gabriotto dies suddenly in her arms, but because their relationship was a secret, Andreuola cannot call anyone to help with the body. When they try to deliver him to the doorstep of his house, Andreuola and her maidservant are caught and brought before the magistrate. She refuses his advances, and when her innocence is proven, she and her maidservant enter a convent.

Fourth Day, Seventh Story

Emilia narrates a story about two poor lovers, Pasquino and Simona. During their tryst, Pasquino picks some sage, and rubs his teeth and gums with it (done at the time to clean the teeth). He dies almost immediately. Pasquino's friend accuses Simona of poisoning him, and takes her before a judge. When the judge asks Simona to show him exactly what happened, she takes a piece of sage and rubs her teeth and gums with it. She falls down dead. The judge digs up the sage and finds a venomous toad. The bodies of the two lovers are buried together.

Fourth Day, Eighth Story

Neifile tells this story. Girolamo loves Salvestra, but his mother does not approve of the girl, so she sends Girolamo away to Paris. When he returns, Girolamo discovers Salvestra got married. He goes to her house in the middle of the night to talk to her, but she tells him she loves her husband. Girolamo holds his breath until he dies. Salvestra and her husband drop Girolamo's body off at his doorstep, and when he is discovered everyone assumes he died of grief. At the funeral, Salvestra is grief-stricken over the memory of their love that she dies of grief on top of his body. They are buried together.

Fourth Day, Ninth Story

Filostrato narrates. Two knights, Guillaume de Roussillon and Guillaume de Cabestanh, were friends. Roussillon has a beautiful wife Cabestanh falls in love with. She returns his feelings. When Roussillon finds out, he kills Cabestanh and cuts out his heart. Roussillon orders it cooked and served it to his wife, only to tell her what she has eaten when she is finished. She throws herself out of the window, and she and Cabestanh are buried together.

Fourth Day, Tenth Story

Dioneo is the narrator of this story. A woman is married to an old doctor. She has an affair with a man named Ruggieri. During one of their trysts, Ruggieri takes a drug the doctor left out and passes out. The wife thinks he is dead, and places him in a chest sitting outside her neighbor's house. While he is in there, two young men steal the chest and bring it home.

When Ruggieri wakes up he has no idea where he is. He is taken before the magistrate and is sentenced to hang. The doctor's wife convinces her maid to help her save Ruggieri by going to the magistrate and pretending to be Ruggieri's lover. Ruggieri's name is cleared and he is saved.


The miserable tales of love gone wrong continue in these stories from the fourth day. There are numerous instances of lovers dying of grief, although the "Ninth Story" is clearly the most horrible of the lot. Only the sixth and tenth tales have what could approach happy endings: the two women entering a convent (but at least alive), and Ruggieri saved, and his lover alive. In all instances where the lovers die, they are buried together, but this seems small comfort when compared to the earthly delights of stories from the other days.

Dioneo is the only one, unsurprisingly, to flout convention and not follow the theme of the day. His tale ends happily.

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