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  • Il Novellino

    Here it is told how a Lombard knight squandered his substance

    A knight of Lombardy, whose name was G–– was a close friend of the Emperor Frederick, and had no sons to whom to leave his estate, although indeed he had heirs of his own kin. So he formed the resolve to spend all he possessed during his life-time, that nothing should be left after him.

    He reckoned the number of years he might live, and added another ten. But he did not add enough, for wasting and squandering his goods, he was surprised by old age, and lived too long, and found himself in poverty, for he had squandered his all.

    He took counsel for his sad state, and remembered the Emperor Frederick, who had shown him much friendship, and who had always spent much and given away much at his court.

    He resolved to go to him, believing that he would be received with great affection1.

    So he went to the Emperor, and stood before him. He (the Emperor) asked who he was, although he knew him well. The knight told his name. He asked about his conditions. The knight told what had happened to him, and how he had been outwitted by time.

    The Emperor replied: leave my court, and do not under penalty of your life, come into my territory again, for you are he who did not want that others should inherit aught after your death.

    1 Another reading is "honour": onore instead of amore.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 94-95


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