The Wandering Scholar
The Wandering Scholar, a witty, unscrupulous student from Paris. Taking advantage of the mistake of a simpleminded widow, who misunderstands his origin as “Paradise” instead of “Paris,” he plays on her sympathies for her departed first husband to wheedle goods and money from her to take to the poor man in Paradise. When the widow’s present husband chases him, he hides the bundle and his identifying yellow scarf, sends the husband on foot across a bog while he “watches the horse,” and then rides merrily away, praising the generosity of both wife and husband.
The Wife, a simpleminded and good-hearted widow. Remembering with affection her open-handed first husband, and weary of her skinflint second, she sends goods and money to Paradise by the Scholar. The second husband chases the Scholar in anger but returns to tell her that he gave the Scholar his horse to shorten the travel to Paradise. At that news, she is carried away with affectionate rapture and expresses a hope that she will be able to outlive him and send him goods in Paradise.
The Husband, a grouchy, tightfisted farmer. His anger at his wife for being tricked by the Scholar gives way to shame when he himself is taken in and loses the horse. He accepts her affection as a balance for her stupidity.