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De la Fontaine Bawdy Medieval Humor NSFW

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'yorz
899354.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:44 am Reply with quote




Medieval Satire

One day, the devil and a farmer differed in opinion and decided on a scratching contest to resolve the dispute.

When the devil showed up at the farmer’s house on the appointed day, he was welcomed by the farmer’s wife, instead of her husband. She was crying bitter tears.

“What is the matter?” asked the devil.

“He has spoiled me; I am undone; I die of what he has done me.”

“How,” cried the devil, “what is it?”

“To try his claws,” aswered the wife, “he did but just touch me with his little finger here betwixt the legs, and has spoiled me for ever. Oh! I am a dead woman; I shall never be myself again; do but see!”

The devil, on seeing the terrible wound between the woman’s legs, blessed himself, and cried out, “what a gash!”

That is why this cunning woman in the print is showing her private parts to the devil. To reveal the terrible gash the husband had inflicted upon her with his fearsome claws.

Naturally, the cowardly devil decided it was better not to wait for the farmer with the fearsome claws.
He gave up the fight.


- oOo -



The story is known in the Aarne–Thompson classification system as ‘AT 1095’, “Contest in Scratching Each Other with the Nails”.

The engraving is from “The Devil of Pope-Fig Island”, illustrated by Charles Eisen as found in an edition of the contes et nouvelles en vers by Jean de La Fontaine, who in this case based his story on a tale found in the Fourth Book of Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais.

The dialogue cited is translated by Thomas Urquhart and Peter Antony Motteux.

The engraving is known in two versions, uncovered and covered.

 
RLDavies
899396.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:26 am Reply with quote

Good one!

One of my City Waites albums has the ballad "The Gelding of the Devil". It's too long to quote in its entirety, but the gist of it is:

A baker was riding to market to sell his wares, and met the Devil under a tree. The Devil admired the baker's horse and asked why it was so fine, fat, and glossy. The baker said it was because he had gelded the horse.

"Then you must geld me right now," said the Devil. Unwilling to argue, the baker pulled out his knife and cut off the Devil's testicles.

The Devil wasn't pleased, as you might expect, but he was in too much pain to do anything to the baker then and there. Instead, he said, "When you go to market next month, you must come past this tree again, and then I will geld you!"

The baker was worried, but eventually his wife thought of a plan. On market day she dressed in her husband's clothes and rode off. Sure enough, there was the Devil under the tree, with two imps beside him to help. "Prepare yourself!" shouted the Devil. "It's my turn now!"

"I'm afraid you're too late," she said. "A man gelded me yesterday, look!"

The Devil looked and said sympathetically, "Whoever did that made a bad job of it. They didn't even close up the wound. I'll fetch you some salve."

As he turned away, one of the imps reached up and gave the baker's wife a pat on the bottom. She was so startled that she let loose an enormous fart. "Oh dear!" said the Devil. "What terrible strong breath you have! I'm afraid you don't have long to live. You can go on your way, and I won't bother you again."

 
djgordy
899407.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:48 am Reply with quote

'yorz wrote:

One day, the devil and a farmer differed in opinion and decided on a scratching contest to resolve the dispute.


A scratching contest? No wonder the devil decided to invent television if scratching contests were the best way he couild think of to pass the time.

Quote:
The devil, on seeing the terrible wound between the woman’s legs, blessed himself, and cried out, “what a gash!”

That is why this cunning woman in the print is showing her private parts to the devil. To reveal the terrible gash the husband had inflicted upon her with his fearsome claws.


Far be it from me to cast asperisons on this story but one might imagine that the devil would have already been famiiliar with the lady parts of ladies, what with him being generally in charge of sin and that sort of thing.

 
Celebaelin
899432.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:35 am Reply with quote

I think I could understand this bad boy being a bit hazy on the whole question of human anatomy. And not just because the other bloke is wearing a long dress and a rugby ball as a hat.

 
CB27
899495.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:13 pm Reply with quote

Is he giving him a Yamaha keyboard?

in agadda da vida baby...

 
'yorz
899500.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:30 pm Reply with quote

"Hey man, your ass is talking to you".

 
Spud McLaren
899501.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:33 pm Reply with quote

Can't work out who he is. Too thin to be Eric Pickles, despite his obvious posterial qualifications...

 
CB27
899519.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Looks like Tricky Dicky from behind :)

 
dr bartolo
899538.  Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:17 pm Reply with quote

Here's the obligatorty woodcut to go with the gelding of the devil

 
djgordy
899545.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:20 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Is he giving him a Yamaha keyboard?

in agadda da vida baby...


The organ* used on "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was a Vox Continental, not a Yamaha (or even a Farfisa as many people seem to think). Honestly, people know nothing about the classics these days.............

*Heh heh, he said "organ".

 
tetsabb
899551.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:57 am Reply with quote

And I think the bishop-looking chap resembles snooker legend Steve 'Interesting' Davis

 
Spud McLaren
899598.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:16 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
One of my City Waites albums has the ballad "The Gelding of the Devil".
Pills to Purge Melancholy?

 
NinOfEden
899666.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:36 pm Reply with quote

Why's the devil got a face on his arse?

 
Celebaelin
899700.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:49 pm Reply with quote

Because he's two faced?

There is a common fart-related theme in devil stories, perhaps because of hydrogen sulphide etc. I wonder if the devil is supposed to be Titivillus, the devil responsible for monks' errors in manuscripts - very likely I think. One of the links below appears to show (it's a bit indistinct) Titivillus as having two faces again, although in that instance the carving shows the other face(?) as replacing its genitals.

Quote:
Tutivillus*, the literate demon

Tutivillus image Tutivillus or Titivillus is a demon associated with writing and literacy. In the Middle Ages he was painted on church walls and carved on misericords, bench ends and corbels; he trod the boards as a character in the Towneley Judicium and Mankind; he introduced errors into scribes’ work copying texts and his exploits were described in sermons, conduct books and poems. You can see him lurking beside a monk’s desk in the picture I used for my profile photograph, an expression of concentration on his face, a stealthy claw laid by the ink well (it’s a fourteenth-century image I took from here; the original source is unfortunately not given). Later he haunted printing presses, causing typesetters to make mistakes.

I am very fond of Tutivillus and wrote my MA dissertation about his representations in mediaeval English church art and sermon exempla. Exempla were illustrative stories drawn from folklore, the Bible, everyday life, the writer’s own imagination; they can be found in sermon collections referred to by priests, conduct books and didactic treatises. There are two about Tutivillus. The most common relates how a priest, deacon or saint sees Tutivillus perched high up in a church noting down the idle gossip of parishioners who are chattering rather than paying attention to the Mass; the people talk so much that he must stretch out his parchment with his teeth in order to fit all the words on it; in many versions the parchment breaks, Tutivillus bangs his head on the wall or pillar of the church and the priest laughs and warns the congregation, who usually repent and oblige the demon to erase what he has written. Paintedchurch image In the other exemplum Tutivillus is again seen in a church by a man of God, but this time the devil is creeping through the choir with a bulging sack over his shoulder. He explains that he is gathering up all the ‘syalablys & woordys, ouerskipped and synkopyed, & verse & psalymys þe whiche þese clerkys han stolyn in þe qweere, & haue fayled in here seruyse’ (from the Alphabetum Narrationum: An Alphabet of Tales) and stuffing them into this sack. In some versions, after they die the offending monks are sent to Hell where they must carry sacks full of the words they mispronounced in saying Mass and thus stole from God.

I burbled on at length on various aspects of all this in my dissertation, but what I found most fascinating was that both these stories dramatise a spoken sound becoming a visible written mark on a page, a process which must have seemed astonishing to people encountering it for the first time in a culture moving from the oral to the literate. I particularly liked the idea of mumbled words attaining a three-dimensional form and weight and lying on the church floor like lumps of half-chewed bread for Tutivillus to slip into his bag. To me it is all of a piece with the mediaeval love of allegory, of taking abstract qualities and clothing them, with transubstantiation, with approved and transgressive language, with St Augustine’s theory that a person’s mind creates an image of the word when he or she hears it. But this post is already far too long and tortuous, a bit like Tutivillus's parchment, ha ha.

You can see a carving of Tutivillus on a bench end in Charlton Mackrell here and craning in solicitously to hear the tittle-tattle of two ladies of the mid-fourteenth century here, his parchment in his right hoof. Anne Marshall has posted surviving wall paintings here; I have posted her picture of the one in Little Melton, Norfolk, above (a faint Tutivillus can just be perceived standing on the bench to the right).

http://gallimaufry.typepad.com/blog/medieval-art/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titivillus

* of course there would be two ways of spelling this name.


Last edited by Celebaelin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:15 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Sparkyweasel
899728.  Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:03 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Is he giving him a Yamaha keyboard?


What a swizz, it should be a shiny fiddle made of gold!

 

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