Though the town of Ordito is not known for its wealth, there was once a particularly rich merchant there, one Messer Acerbi, a Venetian who had a daughter of great beauty, whose chastity he guarded with great zeal. When this merchant found a young actor, Rosaccio by name, had taken an interest in his daughter, Messer Acerbi, knowing the actor’s reputation for having sampled a great portion of the city’s young maidens, threatened the lusty young man with bodily harm and had his servants chase him. Seeking to escape, the actor fled to the docks where, seeing the busy working men loading a vessel and, using certain crafts known to his trade, Rosaccio altered his garb and appearance to fit in among them and evade his pursuers.
The merchant’s servants continued their search even as the ship’s crew finished their work and began to leave port. Rosaccio, seeing the merchant’s mob still tirelessly hounding him, found no other recourse but to leave port with the ship, acting as though he belonged. Though the crew soon discovered his deception, they, seeing his natural charm and willingness to work, allowed him to remain with them. In this manner the young actor learned much about the methods and techniques of sea travel, though he served only a matter of days on this vessel when there appeared another ship on the horizon which, noticing the merchant ship, changed its direction to overtake them. Even as the corsairs, for such manned the strange vessel, boarded the ship to begin their raid, a wind arose which grew into a storm that neither vessel could resist. Rosaccio found himself blown overboard, even as he fell witnessing the lightning set fire to the attacking ship. The tumult dashed Rosaccio onto a nearby shore, though he was unharmed and, when the storm subsided, he noticed that much of the remnants of the two destroyed ships had followed him and were now scattered about the area. Finding himself the only survivor, and with the wealth of two vessels now his to claim, the actor praised God for favouring him so. Moving the valuable chests away from the tide, hiding them under some shrubs for safe-keeping, and taking what treasure he could carry, in the form of precious stones, Rosaccio walked, with much difficulty, to the nearest town where he hired a group of men to help him gather the chests from the site of his washing ashore.
So equipped, Rosaccio tasted the life that great wealth could afford him and, accordingly, desired to become still richer that he might continue to live that way. Accordingly, he bought a vessel of his own, light and swift, hired a crew to man it, and dedicated his life to plunder, in the manner of the corsairs he had seen and whose treasure he enjoyed. In this manner Rosaccio spent a year, by the end of which he had amassed more substance than he could have dreamed of in his days as a actor. The last such vessel he seized, it chanced, belonged to none other than that Venetian merchant Messer Acerbi, and thus Rosaccio recalled to mind the escape he had made from the man’s anger a year before.
Wondering if peradventure he may find a way to revenge himself on that merchant, Rosaccio devoted some portion of his resources to the purchase of a large trading vessel, which he sailed to Ordito. Disguised and posing as a wealthy merchant, Rosaccio met civilly with Messer Acerbi with the excuse of making business negotiations, and the Venetian, who had lost a great deal of wealth with the ship Rosaccio had taken, was most impressed with the newcomer’s riches and quickly deemed his guest one of the most honourable gentlemen he had met. Rosaccio, as this merchant, dined at Messer Acerbi’s home, where he made himself known to the merchant’s daughter, who still regretted the cruelty with which her father had treated the actor previously, and so agreed to his plan. When the disguised Rosaccio proposed to Messer Acerbi that he might take his daughter’s hand in marriage, the greedy Venetian launched on the idea as if it had been his own, so certain that it would strengthen his bond to the wealthy newcomer. Arrangements were soon made and a wedding performed, only after which did Rosaccio reveal his true identity to Messer Acerbi, who was so shocked that he fell sick. Before long Rosaccio inherited Messer Acerbi’s estate which, added to his own, was more than enough to provide a life of happiness for he and his wife until the end of their days.
Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Recycling