of Venus, the goddess of love; a temple of Diana, the goddess of the moon; and a temple of Mars, the god of war.
There were beautiful pictures in the temple of Venus, and a garden full of flowers. The temple of Diana had a picture of the moon. The temple of Mars was very different. It was an unhappy place with pictures of wars and burning towns. In the middle was a picture of Mars with a fire in front of him.
After a year, Palamon and Arcite returned to Athens, and each of them had his hundred knights. When they heard about the temples, they both wanted to visit them.
Palamon thought, ' I'm going to the temple of Venus. She'll help me. I'll ask her for a quick death if I lose.'
So he went to Venus s temple and the goddess seemed to move her head.
When Palamon saw this, he cried out, 'Oh, I'm so happy. Venus has moved her head. That means she's going to help me!'
Arcite went to the temple of Mars, the god of war.
' Mars, please help me to win,' he said in the temple.
Suddenly the temple doors began to move and the fire in front of Mars burned strongly. Then a low voice said,' You will win, Arcite!'
Arcite was very happy when he heard this.' Mars is going to help me! I'm going to win!'
Now, pilgrims, you're going to hear how Mars and Venus kept their promises.
The next morning everyone in Athens went to see the great fight. There were lords and knights in fine clothes, and beautiful ladies in wonderful dresses. Duke Theseus, Queen Hippolyta and Emily sat and watched it all.
When everyone was quiet, a soldier cried out,' Duke Theseus doesn't want anyone to die today. If you are hurt, you will become a prisoner. If Palamon or Arcite become prisoners, then the fighting will end. Now, let's begin!'
Arcite then came onto the field through the west gate, near the temple of Mars. His clothes were all red. Palamon came through the east gate, near the temple of Venus. His clothes were all white.
Pilgrims, I can't tell you everything about the great fight. Horses fell to the ground, brave men were hurt, servants brought food and drink to the fighters. Then, at the end of the day, Palamon was hurt and the fighting stopped.
'Arcite can marry Emily now,' said the duke.' He's won her in this long day's fight!'
'Arcite's the winner!' shouted the people. 'Arcite! Arcite!'
There was loud music and Arcite rode proudly across the field towards Emily. She looked down at him and thought,' He's so brave and handsome! I'm sure I can love him!'
But suddenly something frightened Arcite's horse. The horse fell to the ground and Arcite was thrown off. People ran to him and carried him carefully to Theseus's house. They put him on a bed and waited for the doctor.
' He's very ill,' said the doctor when he came.' I'm afraid he's going to die.'
Arcite sent for Palamon and Emily.' I've loved you so much, Emily,' he said sadly.' I've been unhappy and ill because of you. And now I'm going to die for you. If you want a husband, marry Palamon. It will make me happy when I'm dead.'
Then he closed his eyes. Just before he died he looked up at Emily. He said her name.
When they heard the news, the people of Athens felt very sad. They cried for many days.
Months passed. Time makes most things better. The people of Athens were tired of all the fighting and they wanted to be friends with the people of Thebes. So Duke Theseus decided to send for Palamon.
When Palamon arrived in Athens, he was wearing black clothes for his lost friend, Arcite.' Don't be sad,' the duke said to him. 'You'll never forget your dear friend but you can still be happy. Remember what Arcite said to Emily: " If you want a husband, marry Palamon." Does that make you feel happier?'
Then the duke called for Emily and took her hand.' Emily, all my people want to be friends with the people of Thebes. If you agree to marry Palamon, then we'll stop being enemies. Take good Palamon, Emily, and marry him. He's loved you for a long time.'
Then he turned to Palamon,' Sir, take this lady by the hand. She'll be your dear wife.'
So Palamon and Emily were married and lived happily together. And the people of Athens and Thebes were never enemies again.
At the end of the story, all the pilgrims said,' That was a beautiful story, Knight!'
Some of the other pilgrims told their stories. Then the fat man turned to the Clerk of Oxford.' You haven't said a word since we started our journey, Clerk. Perhaps you're thinking about your books. Well, now think about us. Have you got a good story to
The Clerk of Oxford was very poor and his clothes were old.' He and his horse never had enough food. But he loved books and he loved teaching people. He was happy to begin his story.
' My story is about a patient wife,' the clerk said. All the pilgrims listened carefully as he began his tale.
Walter, a great lord, lived in a beautiful part of Italy, . He was young, strong and handsome, and kind to all his people.
Walter wasn't married and this made his people very sad. One day, they went to see him. They asked him to listen to them. A wise old man spoke for all of them.
' Sir, we've come to talk to you because you're a good man. We want to tell you what's in our hearts. Don't be angry with us. Please get married, then we'll be happy. Your wife will love you and look after you, and you'll have children. We'll find a wife for you if you want. She'll be beautiful and rich!'
Walter laughed at the old man's words, but he was pleased.
' You know, my dear people, I like being free,' he answered.' I don't want a wife, but perhaps I need one. So, yes, I will get married very soon. But I'll choose my wife! And when I marry her, I want you all to talk to her like a princess.You must do this for me.'
Walter's people were very happy. 'Yes, of course we'll do that, sir,' they all said. And they went back to their homes and waited for the wedding day.
A very poor man lived near Walter's house. His name was Janicula. He had a beautiful daughter called Griselda. She was a
kind girl and she looked after her old father well. She worked hard in their little house, and in the fields with their animals. She worked outside in the wind and the rain. Walter often saw her when he was riding in the country.
'She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen,' he thought to himself.' I'd like to marry her'. But he didn't tell anyone about Griselda and his love for her.
The day of the wedding arrived. Walter's great house was full of people. Everything was ready for the big day.
' Follow me,' Walter said to all the lords and ladies.
He went out to the fields where some of his people lived. The lords and ladies followed him. 'What's he going to do?' they asked in surprise.
That morning, Griselda finished her work early because she wanted to see Walter's new wife. She thought,' I'll stand with the other girls and watch Sir Walter with his beautiful lady. But first I must help my dear father to sit in the sun.'
She opened the door of the little house from inside — and there was Walter! He was standing outside in his rich clothes, like a king.
' Griselda,' he said,' where's your father?'
The old man came slowly out of the house and Walter took his hand.
'Janicula, I must tell you what's in my heart. I love your daughter, Griselda. I want to marry her if you'll agree.'
The old man was too surprised to speak at first. After some minutes he answered,' Yes, sir, of course. If Griselda agrees, she can be your wife.'
' I'd like to speak to her in your house, please,' Walter said quietly. ' I'll ask her to be my wife. But she must promise me something. She must always do what I ask.'
The people outside waited. They couldn't understand what was happening!
Inside the house, Walter spoke softly to Griselda.
' My dear Griselda, your father says that we can get married. Please take me as your husband. But first I must ask you this. Will you promise to do what I tell you — always ?'
'My lord,' Griselda answered,' I'll marry you if I can look after my father in my new life. And I'll always do everything you tell me to do.'
' Thank you, my dear Griselda,' said Walter.
He asked some of the ladies to come inside and dress Griselda in beautiful clothes. Then he kissed her hand and took her outside.
' This is my new wife, everybody,' he said proudly.
When Griselda came out of the house, the people cried out, ' She's the most beautiful girl we've ever seen!'
Walter was very happy. They were married that day and there was music and dancing all night.
For a long time all Walter's people lived happily. Griselda helped poor and sick people and everyone loved her. People said,' Our great lord did a wise thing when he married Griselda.'
Then Walter and Griselda had a little girl and everyone said,' One day this little girl will be as kind and as beautiful as her mother.'
But from that time things started to go very wrong.
Every day Walter watched his wife with her baby and thought, ' My wife will change now because she's got a child. If I ask her to do something difficult for me, she won't do it.'
Then Walter did something very bad. He came to see Griselda one day with a hard look on his face.
' Griselda, when I married you, my people were unhappy,' he lied. 'You were a poor man's daughter. Now you've got a child, and it's even worse for them. I'm going to ask someone to take this child away from you. You must give her to him. Remember your words on your wedding day!'
Griselda was very sad, but she said,' My child is yours, my lord. You can do what you want with her.'
Walter was happy when he heard this. He quickly sent a man to take the child away. When Griselda saw the man, she said quietly,' I must kiss my daughter before she goes.'
Then she took her child in her arms and said, ' Goodbye, my dear daughter. I'll never see you again but God will look after you.'
Then the man took Griselda' s daughter away.
'Please put her little body in the ground,' she called out to him.' Then it will be safe from all the animals and birds.'
The man carried the child to Walter.' Take her to my sister in Bologna,' he said.' Tell her to look after her well. But don't tell her that she's my child.'
Walter watched Griselda closely after this. She seemed to love him in the same way, but she was very quiet and her face often looked sad.
After some months a little boy was born. Walter's people were very happy.' One day this child will be our prince. One day we shall be his people,' they said.
But after two years Walter had another plan. He wanted to be sure that his wife loved him. So he decided to test her again.
He went to Griselda and said,' Griselda, my people don't want Janicula's grandson to be their prince. Once again, you must give your child to my man.'
'My lord,' she answered, 'I'll always do everything that you want. Take our son. And if you'll be happier without me too, please tell me. I'll die if it will please you. I only want to keep your love.'
Nothing could change the feelings in Walter's heart. He sent the same man to take away her little boy. Again, she kissed her child before he left her for ever. And again she said to the man, 'Put his little body in the ground. Then no animal or bird can hurt him. 'Walter sent the little boy to Bologna to live with his sister.
Walter watched his wife carefully again. He saw that her patience and love for him never changed. But his people were angry with him. They talked about him all over the country.
' He's killed his two children!' they said.' He didn't want Lady Griselda to love them. She must only love him! And she never changes. She still loves him and looks after all of us.'
One day, Walter had another idea. He decided to send Griselda away and get a new wife. When Griselda heard about this, she thought,' This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I love my husband more than anything in the world. How can I ever live without him ?' She felt very sad.
First, Walter wrote a letter to his sister in Bologna. It said:
Please bring the two children to me. Tell everyone, 'This little girl's going to be Walter's new wife.' But don't tell anyone who sent the children to you years ago.
When she received this letter, his sister left Bologna with the two children. The little boy and girl were very beautiful. They were dressed in rich clothes and rode on fine horses.
Walter then called for Griselda and, in a room full of people, said to her,' Griselda, you've been a good wife to me. But now I must change my way of life. My people want me to send you away and marry a new wife — a girl from a rich family. She's on her way here now.'
Griselda's answer moved the hearts of all the people who heard her. But it didn't move the hard heart of her husband.
' I'm not good enough for you, my lord,' she said sadly.' I've always known that. Thank you for the beautiful home that I've lived in for so long. I'll gladly go back to my father now if you and your people want me to do that. I'll always love you and I'll never marry again. I thought you loved me too. But the old words are very true: "As men grow old, love grows cold." I must leave everything behind me here. I'll just take my old clothes.'
Then she put on her poorest clothes and began the long walk home. Many people followed her with tears in their eyes. They were very sad that Griselda was leaving like this. When her father saw her, he ran out of his house. He took his poor daughter in his arms.
For a time Griselda lived quietly with her father. It was like the old days. She worked in the little house and looked after the animals in the fields. But one day Walter sent
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