The action takes place in Florence. Constriction is the conversation of Kallimako with his servant Shiro, addressed, in fact, to the audience. The young man explains why he returned to his native city from Paris, where he was taken away at the age of ten. In a friendly company, the French and Italians started a dispute, whose women are prettier. And one Florentine said that the Madonna of Lucrezia, the wife of Messer Nicha Calfucci, charms all ladies with her charm. Wanting to verify this, Kallimaco went to Florence and found that the countryman did not bend his heart at all – Lucrezia was even more beautiful than he had expected. But now Kallimako experiences unheard of agony: falling in love with insanity, he is doomed to languish in unquenchable passion, because it is impossible to seduce the virtuous Lucretia. There is only one hope left: the cunning Ligurio –
Ligurio wants to please Callimaco. After talking with Lucretia’s husband, he is convinced of two things: firstly, Messer Nich is unusually stupid, and secondly, he very much wants to have kids whom God does not give. Nicha has already consulted with many doctors – all unanimously recommend going with his wife to the waters, which is not at all like Nich’s family member. Lucretius himself made a vow to defend forty early dinners, but only twenty of them survived – some fat priest began to pester her, and since then her character has deteriorated
Kallimako as a doctor makes an indelible impression on Messer Nich: he speaks great Latin and unlike other doctors demonstrates a professional approach to the matter: he demands to bring the woman’s urine in order to find out whether she is able to have children. To the great joy of Nich, the verdict is tolerated: his wife will certainly suffer if she drinks a tincture of mandrake. This is the surest means to which the French kings and dukes resorted, but there is one drawback – the first night is deadly for a man. Ligurio offers a way out:
It is necessary to grab some vagabond on the street and put him to bed with Lucretia – then the harmful effect of the mandrake will affect him. Nicha sighs bitterly: no, his wife will never agree, because this pious fool had to be pushed even to get urine. However, Ligurio is confident of success: in this holy cause, the mother of Lucretia Sostrata and her confessor Fra Timoteo are simply obliged to help. Sostrata enthusiastically persuades the daughter – for the sake of the child it is possible to suffer, and it is a question of a trivial matter. Lucretia is horrified: to spend the night with an unfamiliar man who will have to pay for it with life, – how can one decide on this? In any case, she will not do it without the consent of the holy father.
Then Nicha and Ligurio go to Fra Timoteo. To begin with, Ligurio launches a test ball: one nun, a relative of Messer Calfucci, accidentally got pregnant – can not the poor thing give such a decoction to her that she threw it out? Fra Timoteo willingly agrees to help a rich man – in his words, the Lord approves everything that benefits people. After leaving for a moment, Ligurio comes back with the news that the need for decoction has disappeared, for the girl threw herself out – however, there is an opportunity to commit
Another good deed, having made Messer Nice and his wife happy. Fra Timoteo quickly calculates what promises him an undertaking, thanks to which you can wait for a generous reward from both the lover and the husband – both of whom will be grateful to him on the coffin of life. It remains only to persuade Lucretia. And Fra Timoteo manages his task without much difficulty. Lucretia is kind and simple-minded: a monk assures her that a tramp may not die, but since such a danger exists, you must take care of your husband. And adultery, this “mystery” can not be called, for it will be done for the benefit of the family and on the orders of the spouse, who must obey. It is not the flesh that sins, but the will-for the sake of the continuation of the family, Lot’s daughter once copied with her own father, and no one condemned them for this. Lucretia is not too willing to agree with the arguments of the confessor, and Sostratus promises to be a son-in-law,
Ligurio hurries with joyful news to Kallimako, and he tells Siro to take Messer Nich the notorious mandrake tincture – a sweet wine with spices. But here there is a difficulty: Kallimaco is obliged to grab the first ragtag caught before the eyes of her husband’s dunce – you can not avoid it, because Nitsch can suspect something is wrong. A cunning parasite instantly finds a way out: in the role of Kallimako Fra Timoteau will perform, and the youth himself, having put on an overhead nose and twisting to the side of his mouth, will walk near the house of Lucretia. Everything happens in full accordance with the plan: after seeing the disguised monk, Nicha admires the ability of Kallimako to change appearance and voice – Ligurio advises putting a wax ball in his mouth, but first he gives a dung. While Nitsa spits out, Kallimako goes out into the street wearing a raincoat and with a lute in his hands – conspirators armed with a password “
The next day, Fra Timoteo, who is eager to know the outcome of the affair, learns that everyone is happy. Nicha proudly talks about his forethought: he personally divisions and examined an ugly vagabond who was perfectly healthy and surprisingly well built. After making sure that his wife and “deputy” did not shirk their duties, he spent the whole night talking with Sostrata about the future baby – of course, it would be a boy. And the ragamuffin had to be kicked out of bed almost; but, in
Generally, the doomed young man is kind of pity. For his part, Kallimako tells Ligurio that Lucrezia perfectly understood the difference between an old husband and a young lover. He confessed everything to her, and she saw in this the Sign of God – this could only happen by the permission of the heavens, so it must be continued without fail. The conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Messer Nich: he crumbles in thanks to the great doctor, and then both of them together with Lucretia and Sostrata go to Fra Timoteo – the benefactress of the family. The spouse “introduces” her half to Kallimako and orders to surround this person with every kind of attention as a best friend of the house. The submissive will of her husband Lucretius declares that Kallimako will be their godfather, for without his help she would never bear the child.