However, since the case is so, that which had he lived, I had gladly done him, to content thee, to wit, honour, as to my son-in-law, be it done him, now he is dead. Then, turning to his sons and his kinsfolk, he commanded that great and honourable obsequies should be prepared for Gabriotto.
But come we to the story. In the city of Brescia there lived of yore a gentleman named Messer Negro da Ponte Carraro, who with other children had a very fair daughter, Andreuola by name, who, being unmarried, chanced to fall in love with a neighbour, one Gabriotto, a man of low degree, but goodly of person and debonair, and endowed with all admirable qualities; and aided and abetted by the housemaid, the girl not only brought it to pass that Gabriotto knew that he was beloved of her, but that many a time to their mutual delight he came to see her in a fair garden belonging to her father.
Wherefore, Gabriotto being minded to visit her on the ensuing night, she did her best endeavour to dissuade him from coming; but seeing that he was bent upon it, lest he should suspect somewhat, she received him in her garden, where, having culled roses many, white and red for 'twas summer she sat herself down with him at the base of a most fair and lucent fountain.
Ounces an hundred of fine gold have I: Him would I give the whole, Ay, and a kiss to boot, so he were fain. This stanza is defective in the original. The "oncia" was a Sicilian gold coin worth rather more than a zecchino. Andreuola loves Gabriotto: she tells him a dream that she has had; he tells her a dream of his own, and dies suddenly in her arms.
Then, yielding at last to the urgency of her maid, for day was drawing nigh, she arose, drew from her finger the ring with which she had been wedded to Gabriotto, and set it on his finger, saying with tears: "Dear my lord, if thy soul be witness of my tears, or if, when the spirit is fled, aught of intelligence or sense still lurk in the body, graciously receive the last gift of her whom in life thou didst so dearly love."
So let it pass, and think we how we may speed the time merrily." What she heard immensely enhanced the already great dread which her own dream had inspired in the girl; but, not to vex Gabriotto, she dissembled her terror as best she might.
I have dreamed many such and far more frightful, nor hath aught in the world befallen me by reason thereof; wherefore let it pass and let us think to give ourselves a good time. The young lady, already sore adread for her own dream, hearing this, waxed yet more so, but hid her fear, as most she might, not to be the occasion of any unease to Gabriotto.
And that nought but death might avail to sever them from this their gladsome love, they became privily man and wife; and, while thus they continued their clandestine intercourse, it happened that one night, while the girl slept, she saw herself in a dream in her garden with Gabriotto, who to the exceeding great delight of both held her in his arms; and while thus they lay, she saw issue from his body somewhat dark and frightful, the shape whereof she might not discern; which, as she thought, laid hold of Gabriotto, and in her despite with prodigious force reft him from her embrace, and bore him with it underground, so that both were lost to her sight for evermore: whereby stricken with sore and inexpressible grief, she awoke; and albeit she was overjoyed to find that 'twas not as she had dreamed, yet a haunting dread of what she had seen in her vision entered her soul.
Whereat Gabriotto laughed, and said that 'twas the height of folly to put any faith in dreams, for that they were occasioned by too much or too little food, and were daily seen to be, one and all, things of nought, adding: "Were I minded to give heed to dreams, I should not be here now, for I, too, had a dream last night, which was on this wise: Methought I was in a fair and pleasant wood, and there, a hunting, caught a she-goat as beautiful and loveable as any that ever was seen, and, as it seemed to me, whiter than snow, which in a little while grew so tame and friendly that she never stirred from my side.
Piteously a while they wept together over the dead face of Gabriotto, and then the girl said to the maid: "Now that God has reft him from me, I have no mind to linger in this life; but before I slay myself, I would we might find apt means to preserve my honour, and the secret of our love, and to bury the body from which the sweet soul has fled."