Short summary - Maistre Pierre Pathelin - Unknown author

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Maistre Pierre Pathelin
Unknown author

Attorney Pierre Patlin

Attorney Patlin complains to his wife Guillemetta that no one needs his services anymore. In the old days, there was no hang-up from clients, but now he sits without work for whole weeks. Before they did not deny themselves anything, but now they are forced to walk in rags and eat dry bread crusts. You can't live like that anymore, you need to do something. You never know in the world simpletons, whom Patlen - a dodger and cunning - should not be fooled!

The lawyer goes to the clothier, known to all for his parsimony. Patlen praises the generosity and kindness of his late father, whom he himself never saw, although, according to rumors, the old man was just as curmudgeonly as his son. The lawyer casually mentions that the clothier's father never refused him a loan. Patlen's flattering speeches win over the gloomy and distrustful clothier and wins his sympathy. In a conversation with him, he casually mentions that he has become very rich and all his cellars are full of gold. He would have gladly bought cloth, but did not take any money with him.

The lawyer promises to give a triple price for the cloth, but only in the evening, when the clothier comes to him to have supper.

Patlaine returns home with the cloth and tells Guillemetta how cleverly he cheated the clothier. The wife is unhappy: she is afraid that her husband will be uncomfortable when the deception is revealed. But the cunning Pat-len has already figured out how to avoid retribution. When in the evening the curmudgeon comes to his house, anticipating a free treat and rejoicing that he sold his goods so dearly, the lawyer's wife assures the clothier that her husband is dying and has not left the house for several weeks. Apparently, someone else came for the cloth and called himself the name of her husband. However, the clothier does not believe her and demands money. Finally, Guillemetta, sobbing, escorts the stubborn merchant to Patlen's room, who deftly pretends to be a dying man. There is nothing left for him to do but to leave without sleep.

Returning home, the cloth maker meets a careless and roguish servant who grazes his sheep, and on him takes out his anger. Now let the servant answer before the court, where the sheep disappear: they are too often sick with sheeppox.

The servant is alarmed, for in fact it was he who stole the master's sheep. He comes to Patlen for help and asks to be his defender in court. The lawyer agrees, but for a high fee. The cunning man persuades the servant to bleat like a sheep in all his questions, without saying a single word.

The draper, his servant and lawyer appear in court. Seeing Patlen, safe and sound, the curmudgeon guesses that he deceived him and demands that the cloth or money be returned. Having completely lost his head from anger, he immediately attacks the servant, who steals his sheep. The draper is so enraged that the judge does not understand who and what he is accusing. The lawyer tells the judge that the merchant is probably out of his mind. But since the draper requires a trial, the lawyer takes up his duties. He begins to ask questions of the servant, but he only bleats like a sheep. Everything is clear to the judge: there are two insane people in front of him and there can be no question of any proceedings.

Satisfied with this outcome, the servant, in response to Patlen's demand to pay him the promised amount, bleats like a sheep. The frustrated lawyer is forced to admit that this time he himself was a fool.

New Patlein

Attorney Pierre Patlein, a rogue and a swindler known to everyone for his clever and daring antics, is again looking for another simpleton to profit from him. In the market square, he sees the furrier and decides to deceive him in the old, tried and tested way, as he had once already led the clothier. Having learned the name of the merchant, the lawyer pretends to be a close friend of his late father and recalls that either the furrier himself or his own sister was baptized by Patlen's father. The simple-minded merchant is sincerely happy about the unexpected meeting. Patlen asks the price for the furs to buy them for his distant relative, the priest, but he has no money with him. Therefore, he offers to go to the priest, with whom the furrier can make a profitable deal. The lawyer, allegedly in order to help the merchant, takes on a bale of furs.

Patlen approaches the priest who is sitting in the confessional and asks him to forgive the sins of his friend, who really wants to confess. He explains to him that he is rich and is ready to donate a large sum to the church. Unfortunately, he is not entirely healthy, he often speaks and raves, but do not let this confuse the holy father. The priest, anticipating a generous reward, promises Patlen to listen to his suffering friend.

The lawyer informs the merchant that the deal has been concluded and the furrier has only to get money from the priest: he must wait for his turn and go to the confessional, while Patlen himself will order dinner at the nearest tavern to celebrate the meeting and the bargain sale of the entire consignment. When the gullible merchant enters the confessional, Patlen takes the bale of furs and leaves, laughing at the stupidity of the alleged relative.

Finally the furrier approaches the priest and demands money from him. He, remembering the lawyer's warning, proceeds to confession, but the merchant does not even think to repent of his sins and insistently asks the priest to settle accounts with him for the purchased furs. After a while, both the priest and the merchant realize that the cunning Patlen played a cruel joke on them. The furrier rushes into the tavern, but Patlena is gone.


Patlen'sLawyer Patlen is no longer the full of strength and enthusiasm dodger and rascal that everyone in the district knew him. He has grown old, sick and weak, and feels the end approaching. When he was young, he easily earned money, but now his strength is running out and no one needs him. He still holds the position of a lawyer in court, but now his clients are poor, so his business is not doing well. Together with his wife Guillemetta, he lives out his life in poverty and oblivion. One consolation remained in his life - wine.

He is about to go to court, but he feels so bad that he has to go to bed. Deciding that his hour of death has come, Pat-leon sends Guillemette for a pharmacist and a priest. Soon, both appear to the lawyer: one to try to bring him back to life, the other to prepare him for the upcoming meeting with the Almighty. The pharmacist persuades Patlen to take powders and medicines, but he refuses all his medicines and demands wine. The priest is ready to accept the confession of a dying person, but he does not want to hear about the remission of sins and longs for only one wine. Guillemetta begs her husband to think about the salvation of his soul, but he does not heed her pleas, the priest asks the stubborn man to remember all the sins he committed in his entire life. Finally, he agrees to tell the holy father about his clever tricks. He boasts that he once cheated a greedy clothier by taking six cubits of the finest cloth from him and not paying a single copper. However, he refuses to talk about how he himself was twisted around his finger by the servant of the cloth maker, after he delivered the thief from the court. Seeing that Patlen's death is close, the priest forgives him his sins. Now is the time to draw up a will according to all the rules. But Patlen has nothing, and he bequeaths to his wife an empty casket without a single coin, and to his confessor - the delights of Guillemetta. Saying goodbye to the world, in which it was most important for him to eat, drink and cheat, Patlen bequeathed to bury himself in a wine cellar, under a wine barrel, and gives up the spirit.