You want me to repent, here on my death-bed, Friar, you say I should abjure my Decameron or I will not be granted a pathway to Heaven, you whisper in my ear with a tongue that would rather be caressing a woman’s thighs, that tongue of yours warns me that the hundred tales told by my characters, those seven women and those three men on the hills of Fiesole as the plague raged below in the city, your tongue demands, Friar, that what their tongues and throats brought forth over those ten days should be consigned to flames so I be not cast into perdition when I depart for the other world. You accuse my stories of mocking the Church and promoting ribaldry and lechery and frivolous fun, you demand that I atone for suggesting to women that they should seek more freedom and less obedience, all of this you ask of me as I succumb to the Death who did not take me all those years ago. No, I am not referring to the plague. I was not in Firenze when it struck. Do not listen to what the rumors say, rumors I myself disseminated to make my work more popular among those who had survived that terror.

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