Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

On a bitterly cold winter’s night in 1456, Francis Villon, the greatest poet of medieval France, is huddled in a small house by the cemetery of St. John, trying to write “The Ballade of Roast Fish” while Guy Tabary slobbers over his shoulder, Regnier de Montigny and Thevenin Pensete play a game of chance, and the renegade monk Dom Nicolas watches. All of them are thieves, among whom there is no honor. Hearing the wind rattling the rafters, Villon reminds the others of hanged men dangling on the gibbet at nearby Montfaucon. Despite this memento mori, Montigny leaps up and stabs Thevenin to death after losing to him. The thieves divide the dead man’s money, but then the others steal Villon’s purse before they all flee into the night.

Illustration of PDF document

Download A Lodging for the Night Study Guide

Subscribe Now

The snow has ceased, and Villon fears that his footprints will lead the authorities to him. Trying to elude a patrol, he takes refuge on the porch of a ruined house, where he finds the body of a woman frozen to death and steals two small coins from her stocking. Then, discovering his purse to be missing, he wanders in search of it, to no avail. Fearing that he, too, will freeze before morning, he seeks shelter from his adopted father, the chaplain of St. Benoit, but is turned away. Wandering once more, he recalls that wolves devoured a woman and child nearby. When he begs shelter from former friends whom he has lampooned, they drench him with a slop bucket, and his legs begin to freeze.

In desperation, he knocks at the door of a strange house in which he sees a light. The door opens, and an elderly gentleman...

(The entire section contains 435 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this A Lodging for the Night study guide. You'll get access to all of the A Lodging for the Night content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Analysis
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial