User:Jahsonic/You may be wondering why the devil is watching the private parts of this lady
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
You may be wondering why the devil is watching the private parts of this lady.
It's a long story.
One day, the devil and a farmer differed in opinion and decided on a scratching contest to resolve the dispute.
When the devil showed up at the farmer's house on the appointed day, he was welcomed by the farmer's wife, instead of her husband. She was crying bitter tears.
"What is the matter?" asked the devil.
"He has spoiled me; I am undone; I die of what he has done me."
"How," cried the devil, "what is it?"
"To try his claws," aswered the wife, "he did but just touch me with his little finger here betwixt the legs, and has spoiled me for ever. Oh! I am a dead woman; I shall never be myself again; do but see!"
The devil, on seeing the terrible wound between the woman's legs, blessed himself, and cried out, "what a gash!"
That is why this cunning woman in the print is showing her private parts to the devil. To reveal the terrible gash the husband had inflicted upon her with his fearsome claws.
Naturally, the cowardly devil decided it was better not to wait for the farmer with the fearsome claws. He gave up the fight.
The engraving is from "The Devil of Pope-Fig Island" illustrated by Charles Eisen as found in an edition of the contes et nouvelles en vers by Jean de La Fontaine, who in this case based his story on a tale found in the Fourth Book of Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais.
The dialogue cited is from Rabelais, translated by Thomas Urquhart and Peter Antony Motteux.
(Catherine Blackledge 2003: 9) noted that
- . . . In this striking image, a young woman stands, confident and unafraid, confronting the devil. Her left hand rests lightly on a wall, while her right raises her skirt high, displaying her sexual centre for Satan to see. And in the face of her naked womanhood, the devil reels back in fear."