Chapter 3:

Of how the damsel went accompanied by a servant to the hermit Blaise to tell him all which had befallen

When he saw her the good man said, "You must be in trouble, for I see you are very sad."

And she said to him, "Something which never happened to any other woman has happened to me, and therefore I came here for your advice. For, sir, I sinned greatly, and I have certainly been deceived by the devil."

And she recounted what had befallen her, and held back nothing from him. And she said to him, "Sir, if my body is damned, I beg you to have mercy so that I will not damn my soul."

And when the good man heard her, he marveled and did not want to believe a thing she told him. And he said to her, "If you are corrupted by man and the devil is in you, how can I give you penance? For I know truly that you lie, for no woman was ever corrupted who did not know who did it. And how can you make me believe such a marvel, which has never before happened?"

And she answered, "Ah, sir, as God may pardon me and guard me from evil, I have told you the truth."

He said, "If it is true, we will soon know; you committed a grave sin when you failed in obedience. You will fast on Fridays as long as you live, and for your lust I will give you still more penance if you choose to take it."

She answered, "You could not demand anything so grave I would not do it."

"Promise it to me," he said.

"I promise," she said. "But what shall I do with what came to me as I slept, and which I have no choice but to keep?"

And he said, "Jesus Christ will keep you."

Then he gave her penance, and put her in the keeping of God, and took holy water and sprinkled it over her, and gave her some to drink, and said to her, "Guard yourself so that you do not forget what I have demanded of you, and every time you are in trouble, cross yourself and commend yourself to God."

Thus the damsel returned to her house and lived a very good life; and so she lived until she could no longer hide the infant she bore. And she grew great, so that the other ladies understood, and they told her that she grew great. And she answered, "So I do."

And they said to her, "Ah, God -- by whom are you with child?"

And she said, "I am undoubtedly pregnant, but as God will save me, I do not know by whom."

"What?" they said. "You slept with so many that you do not know who made you pregnant?"

She said, "May God never free me from evil, if ever man did with me such a deed that I would know why this has come to me."

And when they heard this, they crossed themselves and said, "Never has such a thing happened to any woman; but, certes, you love the one who did this to you so much that you do not want to reveal him and you prefer to be hurt yourself than that he be; and as soon as the judges find out, you will die."

Then they left her and went out laughing and said: "Guard your riches and your body, for you have lost everything." And she went to the good man, and recounted all that had happened with the women. And he asked her if what had happened earlier had happened again, and she told him it had not. And when the good man heard this, he marvelled and wrote down the night it had befallen her, and said, "Know that when this infant is born, I shall see if this is so. As soon as the judges find out, they will take you; send for me as soon as you are prisoner, and I will comfort you and do all I can for you."

Then the damsel returned to her house and lived some time in peace, but after the judges found it out, they demanded that she be taken, and when she was prisoner she sent for the good man, and he came as quickly as he could, and found her before them, and they called him and said to him, "Have you heard that this could ever be, that a woman should have a child without a man?"

And the good man said, "I will not tell you what happened, but take my advice and do not punish her while she is pregnant, since the infant does not merit death nor is guilty of the sin of the mother."

And the judges said, "We will do what you wish."

He said, "I wish you to put her in a tower and put two women in with her who will help her at her birthing, and when the child is born, God will show us somehow if it is as she says, and if it is a lie, then do justice upon her."

And when they heard this it pleased them greatly because they saw that it was good advice, and they said that his words were right and good.