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Gesta Romanorum Vol. II (1871)/Of Absence of parental Restraint




A soldier going into a far country, entrusted his wife to the care of her mother. But some time after her husband's departure the wife fell in love with a young man, and communicated her wishes to the mother. She approved of the connection, and without delay sent for the object of her daughter's criminal attachment. But while they feasted, the soldier unexpectedly returned and beat at his gate. The wife, in great tremor, concealed the lover under her bed, and then opened the door for her husband. Being weary with travel he commanded his bed to be got ready; and the wife, more and more disturbed, knew not what she should do. The mother observing her daughter's perplexity, said, "Before you go, my child, let us shew your husband the fair sheet which we have made." Then standing up, she gave one corner of the sheet to her daughter and held the other herself, extending it before him so as to favour the departure of the lover; who took the hint and escaped. When he had got clearly off, "Now," said the mother, "spread the sheet upon the bed with your own hands—I have done my part in weaving it[1]."


My beloved, the soldier is any man who is a wanderer in this world. The wife is the flesh; the mother, is the world; and the sheet, worldly vanities.


  1. This fable is in Alphonsus De Clericali Disciplina.