Step 2 of 3
Retelling the novella
The first novella of the fourth day: the story of the goslings has a very specific function/place in the Decameron and is referred to as the 101st novella of the total of 100 novellas.
The narrative begins by explaining that Filippo Balducci has lost his wife. After this unfortunate event, he decides to take his son to Mount Asinaio. Here they live in a cave and are completely sheltered from the outside world. Filippo devotes himself to God and to his son, whom he teaches all about religion. When the boy reaches the age of eighteen, the father thinks it’s time to show his son part of the outside world, and together they set off to the city of Florence.
The young boy is amazed by everything he sees, because it is all very new to him. Dazzled by it all, he asks his father about everything that is unfamiliar to him. Filippo, being the great father that he is, explains and names everything. However, when they stumble upon a group of beautiful young women, he is not so eager to tell his son about them. Nonetheless, the boy insists on knowing what they are, after which Filippo replies that they are just goslings he should not be paying attention to. But the son begs: “Please, father, let me have one of those goslings. I could put something into its bill.” To which the father exclaimed: “No! Their bills are not where you think they are, and they require special feeding. And furthermore, they are evil!” After this, Balducci regrets having taken his son to the big city and realizes that nothing can be done about the natural inclinations of his son.