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Grisilda

or Griselda. The model of enduring patience and conjugal obedience. She was the daughter of Janicola, a poor charcoal-burner, but became the wife of Walter, Marquis of Saluzzo. The marquis put her humility and obedience to three severe trials, but she submitted to them all without a murmur: (1) Her infant daughter was taken from her, and secretly conveyed to the Queen of Pavia to bring up, while Grisilda was made to believe that it had been murdered. (2) Four years later she had a son, who was also taken from her, and sent to be brought up with her sister. When the little girl was twelve years old, the marquis told Grisilda he intended to divorce her and marry another; so she was stripped of all her fine clothes and sent back to her father's cottage. On the “wedding day” the much-abused Grisilda was sent for to receive “her rival” and prepare her for the ceremony. When her lord saw in her no spark of jealousy, he told her the “bride” was her own daughter. The moral of the tale is this: If Grisilda submitted without a murmur to these trials of her husband, how much more ought we to submit without repining to the trials sent us by God.

This tale is the last of Boccaccio's Decameron; it was rendered by Petrarch into a Latin romance entitled De Obedientia et Fide Uxoria Mythologia, and forms The Clerkës Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Miss Edgeworth has a novel entitled The Modern Griselda.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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