Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronNinth Day Tenth Story Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron | Ninth Day, Tenth Story | Summary



Dioneo tells the final story of the day. Pietro da Tresanti and Father Gianni di Barolo are friends who stay in each other's houses when they travel on business. Pietro's wife Gemmata always says she will stay at a friend's house so Father Gianni doesn't have to sleep in the straw with his mare. But Gianni says he knows a spell that can "turn a mare into a woman."

Gemmata stupidly asks Pietro to learn the spell so he can turn her into a horse so they can carry more to and from the market, and make more money. Gianni uses this as a way to have sex with Pietro's wife: he orders her to strip and get down on all fours. Pietro is to say nothing, or the spell will not work. Gianni caresses her body, exciting himself. When he puts his "tail" into Gemmata, Pietro objects. The spell "fails" and Gemmata is displeased with her husband.


Dioneo shares this bawdy tale of yet another lascivious clergyman, by far the filthiest in the book. Father Gianni tricks his host into letting him sleep with his wife by telling a lie: he can change a mare into a woman. Gianni is smarter than the couple, and he decides to play his trick, which seems like an abuse of hospitality.

Gianni is made out less like the usual corrupt clergyman, and more like someone who is given an opportunity he couldn't pass up. While there are issues of consent in this story, Gemmata appears more displeased Pietro breaks the spell, rather than Gianni using his "tail" for the ritual. Pietro clearly comes out the worse of the three having been so thoroughly duped.

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