Lydia and Pyrrhus  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Lydia and Pyrrhus" is a tale in The Decameron. Lydia, wife of Nicostratus, loves Pyrrhus, who to assure himself thereof, asks three things of her, all of which she does, and therewithal enjoys him in presence of Nicostratus, and makes Nicostratus believe that what he saw was not real.

Panfilo narrates. Boccaccio combined two earlier folk tales into one to create this story. The test of fidelity is previously recorded in French (a fabliau) and Latin (Comoedia Lydiae, an elegiac comedy), but comes originally from India or Persia. The story of the pear tree, best known to English speaking readers as "The Merchant's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales, also originates from Persia in the Bahar-Danush, in which the husband climbs a date tree instead of a pear tree. The story could have arrived in Europe through the One Thousand and One Nights, or perhaps the version in book VI of the Masnavi by Rumi.

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