Franco Sacchetti (1335 – 1400)
Another of the Fourteenth Century writers who fell under the influence of Boccaccio is Franco Sacchetti. Sacchetti, though he was prominent in Florentine political affairs, was essentially a writer and poet. His collection of stories, the Novelliero, contains some three hundred tales, the best of which are racy anecdotes of contemporary life, related with wit and humour. They constitute an invaluable picture of the life of the lower classes of the day.
The Two Ambassadors falls into the category of the joke story, so cleverly elaborated more than five hundred years later by O. Henry. But, unlike many of its kind, it is intrinsically interesting because of the multiplicity of human touches with which the writer has been able to make his characters live.
The present version is translated by Thomas Roscoe and reprinted from his Italian Novelists, London, no date. The story has no title in the original.
The Two Ambassadors
At the period when the city of Arezzo was under the sway of Bishop Guido, the people of Casentino had occasion to send two ambassadors, requiring of him certain articles they were desirous should be granted them. Having been informed of the particulars of their mission, they were told to hold themselves in readiness for their departure on the ensuing morning.
Preparing their luggage in all haste, the two ambassadors accordingly set out on their way; and they had not traveled many miles, before one of them, addressing his companion, said, “Do you recollect all the particulars which they informed us of in so hasty a way?” And the other replied that he feared he hardly did. “But,” said his companion, “I relied chiefly upon you”; to which the other rejoined, “And I trusted to you;” while each regarding the other, exclaimed, “We are in a pretty scrape then! What shall we do?” At length the one said, “I will tell you what: let us go on to the next inn, and perhaps after a good dinner we shall remember them better: yes, we shall be sure to remember them.”
“That is well said,” added his companion; and jogging on together, half asleep and half awake, about three o’clock they contrived to reach the first inn. As it was a matter so nearly connected with their embassy, they ordered dinner directly, racking their brains in the meantime to recover some of the articles they had lost.