The facetie, as a literary form, has an ancient lineage, while, if we regard it merely as a humorous tale or jocular anecdote, its history must be almost as old as the first laughs and smiles of prehistoric man. To go back no further, we may trace it in a direct line through Latin literature, to the Greek apopthegm. Facetiae, in the literary sense, are also to be found in Oriental literature, espeically the Persian and the Arabian.
The Greek apopthegm and its Roman successor had a different character from the Florentine facetia, but the difference is one rather of matter than form. The ribald, licentious note is not so common in the classic facetaie, and the historical anecdotes treating of kings, princes, and persons of high estate were mostly reverent and often adulatory. Satire and disrespect appeared in the humorous tales of Poggio and his peers. The apopthegm was, as a rule, a brief narrative, as often as not enclosing a moral lesson in an historical anecdote. Or else it was the saying of some wise or great man.
Introduction, I. Old Wine, II. How a Friar's Breeches Became Sacred Relics, III. The Sleepy Confessor, IV. Worst of All, V. The Worst Men in the World, VI. Francesco Sachetti, VII. The Old Woman's Prayer, VIII. The Peace of the Monastery, IX. An Excommunicated Peasant eaten by then Priests, X. Of a Curate who buried a little dog, XI. Of a Countryman who wished to marry a young Girl, XII. Of a Doctor who betrayed the wife of a Tailor who was ill, XIII. Of a hermit who had many women, XIV. Messer Nicholas, XV. The Choristers, XVI. King and Asses, XVII. The Unrepentant Smith, XVIII. Of Lorenzo de' Medici, XIX. Of an Englishman, XX. Jettison, XXI. Of Lorenzo de' Medici, XXII. Of Lorenzo de' Medici, XXIII. Of a Priest who did not know when Palm Sunday fell, XXIV. Of Some Peasants who bought a Crucifix, XXV. Of Messer Paolo Marchese, XXVI. The Host's Fee, XXVII. Pirrinicilo the Gascon, XXVIII. Of Roderigo Carrasio, XXIX. Big Fish and Little Fish, XXX. Of Jacopa Sannazzaro, XXXI. Of Francesco Elio, XXXII. Of Roberto da Lecce, XXXIII. The Fair Penitent, XXXIV. Of a man who made his wife believe him to be dead, XXXV. Saying of a Cook to the Illustrrious Duke of Milan, XXXVI. A Request of the same Cook to the same Prince, XXXVII. Of Giovanni Visconti, XXXVIII. Of King Ludovic of France, XXXIX. Tosetto of Padua, XL. Of Messer Marco of Lodi, XLI. Two Knights of Castille, XLII. Of a Man who asked pardon of his sick wife, XLIII. A Woman's Answer, XLIV. Of the King of Tunis, XLV. The Wife's Confession, XLVI. Story of a man who sent letters to his Wife and his creditor, XLVII. A Priest's Awkward Question, XLVIII. Of some Ambassadors sent from Perugia to Pope Urban, XLIX. Foolish Saying of some Florentine Ambassadors, L. Of a Drinker, LI. Of a Woman who in order to cover her head exposed herself, LII. Bernabo, Duke of Milan, LIII. Of one who wanted to spend 1000 Florins to be famous, LIV. Facetia of the celebrated Dante, LV. Answer given by a woman to a man who asked if his wife could have a twelve-months' child, LVI. Dispute between a Florentine and a Venetian, LVII. Antonio Lusco's Story, LVIII. Of a young Woman separated from her husband, LIX. Contest between two men about their crest, LX. Story of a Tutor, LXI. Of a woman who insisted on calling her husband lousy, LXII. Of a man who sought for his wife drowned in a stream, LXIII. Elegant reply of Dante, Florentine Poet, LXIV. Pleasant answer of the same Poet, LXV. The Story of Francesco Filelfo, LXVI. The Story of a Mountebank told by the Cardinal of Bordeaux, LXVII. The Husband's Revenge, LXVIII. Messer Franco's Cat, LXX. Of a Mad Woman, LXXI. Of a Woman who stood on the Banks of the Po, LXXII. The Abbot of Settimo, LXXIII. Saying of Lorenzo, Roman Priest, LXXIV. Of a Prodigy, LXXV. The Exhortation of a Cardinal, LXXVI. Of a Preacher who preferred virgins to married women, LXXVII. Poor Cocchino, LXXVIII. Witty answer on the Few Friends of God, LXXIX. Of a Friar of St. Anthony, a peasant, and a wolf, LXXX. Marvellous compensation between Penitent and Confessor, LXXXI. Of one who spoke ill of the life of Cardinal Angelotto, LXXXII. How a daughter excused her sterility to her father, LXXXIII. Of a Friar who had a child by an abbess, LXXXIV. Of a man who declared that the Archbishop of Cologne was quadruped, LXXXXV. Of a Man who vowed a Candle, LXXXVI. Another jest of a man who made Vow to St Ciriac, LXXXVII. Of a Widow who desired a husband of advanced age, LXXXVIII. The Jealous Husband, LXXXIX. Pleasant Tale, XC. Facetious Answer applicable to Bishops, XCI. How a Hospital was cleared of its inmates, XCII. The Priest's Mistake, XCIII. Of a Young woman made fun of by her old Husband, XCIV. The Beautiful Scholar, XCV. Galba's Cloak, XCVI. The Cabbage and the Cauldron, XCVII. The Blind man and the Virgin, XCVIII. Of Finetto, XCIX. Of the Numerous Doctors in Ferrara, C. Two Young Men, CI. A Complaint in Facino Cane, CII. The jest told by a Friar on Easter Day, CIII. Of Ottaviano Dagnano, CIV. How to be remembered, CV. Of a Woman who deceived her husband, CVI. Of a gambler who was sent to prison, CVII. Of a father who was reproved by his drunken son, CVIII. Happy answer of a Woman to a young man in love, CIX. Dante and King Robert of Naples, CX. Of Bardella of Mantua, CXI. The Timorous duellists, CXII. Second Thoughts, CXIII. The King of the Canaries, CXIV. Facetia of an Ignoramus, CXV. A Biting answer, CXVI. Of an English Dyer who had an adventure with his wife, CXVII. The Merchant of Ascoli, CXVIII. The Ass and the Noble's Servant, CXIX. Newly Married, CXX. The hanging man, CXXI. Of Alessandro Mola, courteous gentleman, CXXII. Remark of Lattanzio Benucci, CXXIII. The Pimp, CXXIV. The principle of tragedy, CXXV. The meaning of Venice, CXXVI. Of Alfonso de' Pazzi, CXXVII. Of Messer Paolo dell' Ottonaio, CXXVIII. The Senate and the Roman people, CXXIX. Letters, CXXX. Good answer to Messer N, CXXXI. Under the protection of St Margaret, CXXXII. San Marino and Venice, CXXXIII. Of Raphael of Urbino, CXXXIV. A madman in Church, CXXXV. Of a Florentine who bought a horse, CXXXVI. Of a Venetian who went to Treviso and had a stone thrown at his back by his servant, CXXXVII. Facetia of Ridolfo, Signor di Camerina, CXXXVIII. The gentleman and his miller, CXXXIX. The Notary's will, CXL. Merchants' good faith, CXLI. Husband and Wives, CXLII. The safest ship, CXLIII. Facetia of some Thieves, CXLIV. Recalling Solomon, CXLV. A Woman's Answer, CXLVI. A good master for thieves, CXLVII. The wise parent, CXLVIII. The doctor of law