History of Fortunatus (3)

History of Fortunatus  (1804-1819) 

Dated from the Scottish Book Trade Index.






His Birth, Life, Travels, and Adventures in most Parts of the World: how the Lady fortune appeared to him, and give him a rich Purse that never wanted Money: and also, in his Travels, how he got from the Soldon a wishing Hat, that by putting it on his Head, he could convey himself immediately into whatever Place be desired.

With an Account

How Fortunatus on his Death-bed, declared to his two sons, Ampedo and Andolicia, the Virtue of his Purse and Hat.

The Lady Fortune gave such a Purse in Spain,
When it was empty, straight 'twas full again.

Published and Sold Wholesale and Retail, by R. Hutchison & Co. 10, Saltmarket.






Of the Birth of FORTUNATUS.

IN the famous,isle of Cyprus, there is a stately city, called Famagosta, where once lived a wealthy noble citizen named Theodoras, who was left by his relations in great riches: He being left young by his parents. addicted himself to all manner of pleasures and pastime, often frequenting princes’ courts, where he soon spent great part of his wealth in riotous living, to the grief of his friends and relations, who thinking to make him leave these courses, determined to marry him to a noble and rich citizen’s daughter named Gratiana and by consent of both parties he was married to her; and in a sumptuous manner the wedding was kept with great feasting. Theodorus taking his spouse home, lived with her very virtuously for a time, to the content of both their relations. In a year after this marriage, Gratiana was brought to bed of a son, who was christened Fortunatus. Theodorus, in a little time, began to follow his former bad courses, insomuch, that he began to sell and mortgage most part of his land, till at last he wasted all his estate, so he fell into such extreme poverty that they were not able to keep any servants; Gratiana being forced to dress her own meat and wash her clothes herself. Theodorus and his wife, sitting at a poor dinner, and the father beholding his son, could hardly refrain from weeping; which when his son perceived, being then eighteen years old, and was expert in hunting, hawking, and playing on the lute, which was his chief pastime, he spoke to his father and said. Dear father, what aileth you? for I observe, that when you behold me, you seem sad Sir, have I any ways offended you. His father answered, Dear son, thou art not the cause of my grief, but myself is the cause of my pinching poverty I am brought to, when I call to mind the great wealth and honour I lately enjoyed, and when I consider how unable I am to succour thee, my only child, this it is that vexeth me day and night, and those familiars that I spent my goods on, now slight me and refrain my company. To this Fortunatus answered, beloved father, do not take such immoderate care for me, I am young and strong, I will travel, into far countries and try my fortune; I hope in God, I shall be preferred; I have not been so badly brought up, but I can shift for myself. Upon this, Fortunatus went from his father’s house with a hawk on his fist, travelling towards the sea side, pondering with himself, that being absent from his father’s sight, he might not be grieved thereby; and as he walked by the sea side, he espied a galley of Venice, wherein was an Earl of Flanders, who had lost two of his men, wishing within himself that he could be entertained in the Earl’s service, that he might be rid of the country of Cyprus; with that he stept forth, and making a low obedience to the Earl, he said, I understand most noble Lord, you have lost two of your men, therefore I desire (if you please) to be entertained in your service. Thou likest me well, answered the Earl what wages shall I give thee? Fortunatus said, I desire no wages, but to be rewarded according to my deserts, These words pleased the Earl, they soon agreed, and so sailed to Venice.

How Fortunatus sailed away with the Earl, without the knowledge of his Father and Mother.

THE Earl was now returned home, and joyfully received of his subjects, for he was very affable, just and virtuous, and the other of his neighbours welcomed him home. Presently after his return, he married the duke of Cleve’s daughter, who was a fair and beauteous lady; Fortunatus having bought for the wedding, at Venice, several costly jewels, garments of velvet silk, and cloth of gold. To the wedding resorted many lords of great estates, with many valiant knights and gentlemen, mounted on stately horses, tilt and tourney before the noble ladies there present, and as there was no small number of proper and comely gentlemen to attend at the wedding, yet was none so recommended for their behaviour as Fortunatus. After the nobles had finished their triumphs and jovial games, the duke of Cleves, the bride and bridegroom agreed to let their servants try their manhoop at several pastimes, for two rich jewels, estimated at a hundred crowns, and he that obtained the prize should have them, which made all the servants glad, every one, striving to do his best, so that the duke of Burgundy’s servant won one, and Fortunatus, the other; which displeased the other servants: upon this they desired the Duke’s servant to challenge Fortunatus to fight him before all the ladies, whom should have both, which challenge was soon accepted of by Fortunatus; and coming to the tilt yard, they encountered each other very briskly, till at last Fortunatus hoisted the duke’s servant off his horse, at his spear’s length, whereupon he won the victory and obtained the jewels, which encreased the envy of the other servants, but rejoiced the Earl. Among the Earl’s servants, there was a crafty old fellow, who consulted with the rest of the servants, and agreed with them for ten crowns, that he would soon make Fortunatus depart of his own accord, and leave his lord, which sum they soon paid him down, to accomplish which he soon insinuates himself into Fortunatus’s company, pretending him great friendship, treating him highly at several great Feasts of women and wine, also much praising his riches, nobility of birth, and valiant courage, and always paying the shot for Fortunatus, till at last he began to insinuate that he would reveal a secret to him: that his lord having conceived a great jealousy of his chamberlains (of whom Fortunatus was one) he had a design secretly to have them gelded, which when Fortunatus heard, he was much struck and amazed, and therefore desires this old fellow (Robert) to tell him how he might convey himself away with speed out of the city undiscovered: Robert was glad to hear of this, and answered, you know that the gates of the city are shut, and there is no going out till morning. Then said Fortunatus, I had rather wander as a vagabond, than to be so served. Then said Robert, I am sorry that I told thee of these things, since I shall now lose thy good' company. Fortunatns desired Robert by all means to conceal his departure, and then being in much trouble of mind, he at break of day departed, taking his journey on horseback, with hounds following him, little mistrusting Robert’s treachery. When Fortunatus had rode ten miles, he bought him another, and sent home the Earl’s horse, with the hounds, that he should have no occasion to pursue him. But when the Earl understood that Fortunatus was departed without his leave, not knowing the cause, he was offended, and so demanded of his servants whether they knew any occasion, which they all denied: then he went to the ladies and gentlewomen, and enquired of them if they knew any occasion of his departure, which they said they did not. Then said the Earl, tho’ the cause of his departure is concealed from me, yet I know that Fortunatus is not fled without some cause for which I shall sharply be revenged on them that were the cause thereof. When Robert understood that his lord was thus grieved for the departure of Fortunatus, he was in fear lest he should be discovered by some of the other servants.

Now leave we the Earl of Flanders, who knew not how Robert had deceived him concerning Fortunatus, and follow our young hero in his travels into France, England, and other parts of the world.

Of the Travels of Fortunatus after he had left the Earl his Master.

Fortunatus having sent back his master's horse travelled with all speed to Calais, where he took shipping, thinking himself hardly safe when in the midst of the sea till he at last arrived in England. where coming to London (that great populous city) he at last met with some Cyprus merchants, his own country men, who riotously spent their money in gaming and wenching, so that in half a year’s time they wasted all their money. Fortunatus having least, his spring was soonest dry; the rest had spent most of theirs on banquets and fair women. Fortunatus being now moneyless, went to some of his landladies where he had spent his money, to borrow three crowns, saying, that he would go into Flanders and fetch four hundred crowns, that was there in his uncle’s hand; but he was slighted, and they would lend him none: he desired one of his misses to trust him one quart of wine, but she denied him, and bid her servants fetch a pint of small beer, to make the ass drink ere he went. Fortunatus took himself out of England, crossed the seas, and arrived in Piccardy in France. In travelling he passed through a wood, where he spent the whole day, and being benighted, he saw an old house; where he hoped to find some relief, but there was no creature in it. He spent the next day in travelling from one wood to another, almost starved with hunger, and sitting down by a fountain, (the moon shining clear) he heard a great noise in the wood, as the grunting of boars, which made him convey himself away, and get up into a tree near the fountain; the wild beasts having drank, one of them finding Fortunatus climbed up the tree after him, where he was sore afraid; when he came near to him, Fortunatus drew his sword and struck the bear, that he fell from the tree, and thrust his sword through him, and then laying his mouth to the wound, sucked out his blood, and a little refreshed himself, and then laid him down and slept by the bear until morning.

How the Lady Fortune gave Fortunatus a purse that never wanted money.

BUT as soon as Fortunatus awoke, he saw standing before him a fair and beauteous Lady muffled over the eyes; whereupon he said, I beseech thee sweet virgin, for the love of God, to assist me, that I may come out of this wood, for these three days have 1 travelled without meat: then demanded she of him what countryman he was, he answered, I am of the isle of Cyprus, and poverty hath constrained me to wander to seek my fortune. She said, fear not Fortunatus, I am the Goddess Fortune, and by the influence of the heavens and stars are given me six powers of which I bestow on thee one or more according to divine permission, they are Wisdom, Riches, Strength, Health, Beauty and long Life, chuse one of these quickly. Fortunatus made no longer stay, but said, then I desire Riches and Plenty, that I may never want so long as I live; with that she gave him a purse, and said. Receive this same of me, and in what country thou art in, as often as thou shalt put thv hand therein, thou shalt draw Forth ten pieces of gold of the same nation's coin; and this purse shall retain its virtue as long as thou livest, and thy own children or any others, during their life, therefore esteem it accordingly, and take special care thereof.

Fortunatus returned her many thanks for her kindness to him. She said to him return thanks to the giver of all good gifts, and of thy riches bestow it on the poor and needy. Then said Fortunatus, this I will willingly perform to the utmost of my power. Then she bid him follow her, and she conveyed him out of the wood, when he espied an inn, where men usually refresh themselves, then she vanished out of his sight: but before he entered the inn, he tried the purse, and drew forth ten crowns, whereof he was glad, and joyfully regaled himself in the inn, and called for meat, and said he would content them for it, for he was hungry; so his host soon furnished his table.

Now when Fortunatus had sufficiently staid his hunger and thirst, and rested himself some days, he discharged his host to the full contentment, and departed.

How Fortunatus buying several great horses, which an Earl before had prized, was taken prisoner, and strictly examined concerning the purse.

TWO miles from this wood, was a little town and a castle, where dwelt an Earl that owned the wood: Fortunatus took up his lodging in the best inn, and asked the host, if he could wish him to some good horses, of which the Earl had chosen three, and offered 300 crowns for them, but it was refused. Fortunatus went into his chamber and took out of his purse 600 crowns, and bid his host send for the merchant to bring his horses to him. The host supposed he had been in jest, seeing him so meanly apparelled: At length he brought him to the merchant, and liking the horses, he bought two of those the Earl had cheapened, and gave 300 crowns for them; he bought costly saddles and other furniture for them, and desired his host to get him two servants: the Earl hearing that Fortunatus had bought the horses out of his hand, was very angry, and sent to the inn keeper,-to know who this was that had bought the horses out of his hand; and being informed he was a stranger and no gentleman, commanded his men to lay hold on him, saying that he had committed some robbery, or murdered some men, so he was seized and cast into prison. Afterwards the Earl sent for Fortunatus ont of prison, and examined him who he was; he answered, that he was born in Cyprus, and was the son of a poor gentleman. Then the Earl asked him how he got so much money, he told him that he came by it honestly. The Earl told him. that if he would not tell him he would put him to the rack. Fortunatus determined to chuse rather to die than reveal the virtues of his purse.—Upon this he was put to the rack, when they again demanded how he came by so many fair crowns. He said, after that I wandered three days in yonder wood, I found a purse with six hundred crowns in it. Then said the Earl, thou vagabond, the money is mine, and thy body and goods forfeit. Gracious Lord, answered he, I wist not that it was your jurisdiction. Then said the Earl, this shall not excuse thee for today I will take, from thee thy goods, and to morrow thy life.

Then Fortunatus complained to himself that he had not made choice of Wisdom before Riches.

Now Fortunatus humbly begged his life of the Earl, and was willing to lose all his goods; the Earl being moved to save his life, at the intreaty of some of his men, delivered him his purse with the crowns in it, and charged him never more to come into his jurisdiction. Fortunatus rejoiced that he had so well escaped, and was not bereft of his precious Purse. After this he travelled towards his own country, having bought several horses and rich apparel, and several servants to attend him; he arrived at Famagosta, where it was told him that his father and mother were dead. He soon purchased his father’s house, pulled it down, and built a most stately palace, after the best manner he had seen in his travels. He also built a sumptuous church, and twelve houses for twelve priests to say divine service in. He caused three stately tombs to be made, one for his father, another for his mother; then he caused their bones to be taken up and placed therein: the other he preserved for himself and his heirs. After this he proposed to take him a wife.

How Fortunatas married the Lord Nemain’s youngest daughter.

NOT far from Famagosta lived a lord who had three daughters that were excellent beauties, and the king of Cyprus intended to bestow one of them on Fortunatus, and having caused them to be richly attired, he gave him leave to take his choice: when Fortunatus had asked each of them a question, he made choice of the youngest, to the great grief of the other two sisters: the Countess and Earl liked well of the match only they objected against him that he had no lands, which Fortunatus understanding, knowing the Earl of Ligron had a considerable estate, and a castle and several lordships to dispose of, being much indebted: Fortunatus bought them of the Earl for ten thousand ducats, and paid down the money, then he jointured Cassandra that was to be his wife in the same.

Fortunatus also presented the Countess her mother with several rich jewels, to a great value, and also to her sisters, to their great content.

Then did the king proffer to keep the wedding of Fortunatus, and Cassandra his bride, in his own court; but Fortunatus desired to keep it at his own new palace, humbly beseeching the king and queen to honour him with their presence at his wedding. Then answered the king, I will come with my queen, being thy father and mother-in-law, and my nobles and all our relations. Fortunatus was glad, and thanked the king. After four days came the king, nobles and attendants, to Fortunatus’s house, where they were entertained with pleasant music, and many delightful shows, in a triumphant manner, and his house was adorned with costly furniture, glorious to behold. Thus continued they all day feasting, banqueting, and dancing, after a most sumptuous manner, until night; when Fortunatus and his bride were brought to their chamber. This feasting and banqueting continued forty days. Then the king returned to his court, highly satisfied with his entertainment. After this, Fortunatus made another great feast for all the citizens, their wives, and children.

How Fortunatus had by his Wife two Sons.

NOW Fortunatus and Cassandra lived in a joyful and happy estate, found no lack of any thing but children, for he knew that the virtue of his purse would fail after his death, if he had no lawful, heirs of his body; they prayed daily to God to make them fruitful, insomuch that the Lord heard their prayer, and sent them a son, which was christened Ampedo: shortly after, she conceived again, and brought forth another son, whom they named Andolocia. Thus was Fortunatus very joyful that he had two fair sons, whom he caused to be carefully brought up, in all accomplishments fit for gentlemen of quality. Fortunatus having lived twelve years with his wife Cassandra, designed again to travel; which his wife much opposed, desiring by all the love he bore to her and her sons, not to leave them: but he being fully resolved to travel, appeased her, promising that he would not stay long from her. and then would abide with her during life. She said to him, pray hasten your return, and I shall pray for your safety night and day. Soon after he took his leave of his wife and children, desiring God to bless them: he departed in a ship of his own, and sailed to Alexandria, where he brought such gifts to the Soldan that' gained him much favour, and received his letter for his safe travelling through all his dominions, where he trafficked, and bought many rich goods and jewels.

How Fortunatus gave rich presents to the Soldan and his servants; and how he got his Wishing-Hat.

FOrtunatus was sumptuously treated by the Soldan, and after supper he desired licence to bestow his gifts on the soldan’s servants, which was granted; then opened he his purse under the table, and gave rich gifts to all of them, according to their degree, insomuch that, the Soldan marvelled; and being highly pleased, he told Fortunatus, that for his kindness he would shew him such rarities, that he never saw the like; then brought him to a tower made of marble stone, in the first room was several rich vessels and jewels, with great heaps of silver coined; in the second room, he shewed several vessels of gold, and many chests full of gold coin, with a wardrobe full of many costly garments, beautified with many precious stones, and some rich golden candlesticks, set with carbuncles which shone so in the night, that they gave light all over the room: Fortunatus admiring all these great riches and infinite treasures, praised them greatly; then said the Soldan, I have one jewel more, that I esteem above all these.

Then he brought him into his bedchamber, which was richly adorned; when he took in his hand a small felt hat, simple to behold, saying, I set more by this hat, than by all the precious jewels I possess; such a hat is not to be had. Then said Fortunatus, I would gladly know what power and virtue consists in it; then answered the Soldan, it hath this virtue, that he who hath it on his head, where he wishes himself to be, he is with a thought conveyed thither so that with it I take pleasure, more than in all my jewels. Then thought Fortunatus, how well will this hat agree with my purse? so said he to the king, since this hat hath such virtue, surely it must be very heavy on his head that weareth it; then said the Soldan, it is no heavier than another hat; whereupon he gave it into his hands, and bid him put it on his head, asking him if he felt other wise: Fortunatus did not think it had been so light not supposed he would have set it upon his head, with that he suddenly wished himself in his ship (which was then under sail) to return into his own country; the Soldan looking out at his window, and seeing the ship under sail, was extremely angry, and commanded his men to bring him back; threatening if they did not take him, to put them to death; but all in vain, Fortunatus was too quick for them and arrived safe in his own country, with his ship laden with rich goods. He was now joyfully received of his wife and two sons, and the citizens of Famagosta. Fortunatus having travelled over most part of the world, wanting nothing of worldly riches that his heart could wish, he began to consider the advancement of his children.

He then maintained a princely court, providing masters and learned men to instruct his children in all manner of learning and feats of chivalry, whereof the youngest was most inclined to behave himself manfully, which caused Fortunatus to bestow many jewels for jousting at Famagosta, where his youngest son won the victory. Fortunatus rejoiced, passing his days in great pleasure and pastime with the hat, and with hawking with his son Andolocia and his wife Cassandra. When he had for many years enjoyed all earthly pleasures, fair Cassandra was summoned by a grievous sickness to her grave, which so inwardly grieved Fortunatus, that he languished with a deadly consumption, which put him in mind to prepare for his death.

How Fortunatus on his Death-bed, declared to his Sons the Virtue of his Purse and Hat.

FORTUNATUS, perceiving death approach, sent for his two sons, Ampedo and Andolocia, saying to them, My dear children. God hath taken away your dear mother, that carefully brought you up, and I also perceive death approaching, and near at hand, therefore I will shew you how you may continue in honour and wealth, as I have done to my dying day. He declared to them the virtue of his purse, and how it would last no longer than both their lives: he also told them the virtue of the wishing hat commanded them not to part with those jewels, but to keep them in common, and live friendly together; and that they should not make any person privy to the virtue of the purse, were they ever so beloved of them. I have, saith he, concealed the virtue of it these forty years, and never revealed it to any, save you. When having said this, and given them several wholesome instructions, he ceased speaking, and gave up the ghost. His sons buried him honourably in the church that he built, in a stately tomb.


Published and Sold Wholesale and Retail, by R, Hutchison & Co. 10, Saltnarket.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.