The Education of a Don in “El Conde Lucanor”

On February 2, 2014 by Harper

la-prosa-medieval-alfonso-xThe “El Conde Lucanor” stories have been some of my favorite pieces discussed in the course thus far.  Each chapter of the overall piece begins and proceeds in the same way, with the young Count Lucanor asking his wise counsellor Patronio for advice regarding a current tribulation, who then answers with a fairy-tale like anecdote which seemingly answers the count’s questions.

What may on the exterior look like a collection of fables and fairy tales (like the Spanish medieval version of Aesop)is really a collection of stories that could teach a young Don-in-training how to rule with virtue one day.

The purpose of these moral-driven tales is to teach someone how to increase their honor and bestow important life lessons.  The fact that the stories are packaged in a short, poem-like structure and are all wrapped up nicely with a rhyming couplet only speaks to the sophistication of the writing during this time.  Moreover, the fact that the Count Lucanor, who is of higher social standing than his advisor Patronio, readily takes advice from a person of lesser social important, teaches the virtue that even Royalty (or Dons) can learn from the supposedly real-world experience of even the common man.