Book III, Canto VIII
Poor Florimell never gets a break. When the Beast runs back to the witch, bringing her girdle, the witch assumes she is dead. She also assumes that the news would relieve her son, but instead it drives him even more mad. He almost kills his mother. She runs and hides in her secret witch room, consulting her spirits as to what to do next.
They give her the brilliant idea to create a false Florimell out of snow, mercury, wax, and magic. A spirit possesses the sculpture and it becomes a replica of fair Florimell. It is good enough to fool the foolish son.
One day they are taking a walk and are confronted by Braggadochio. He threatens to kill the churl, steals the false Florimell, and rides off with her. In the woods he is met by a real knight, who in turn demands Florimell. The knight is not daunted by Braggadochio’s threats. He offers to joust with him, but when they turn their horses around Braggadochio runs off in the other direction. The knight takes the false Florimell with him.
The real Florimell is in the fishing boat, being blown about by the wind. The fisherman sleeping in the boat awakens and tries to rape her (no wonder this girl is terrified of everyone she sees!). She is narrowly saved by Proteus, the sea-god. He takes her to his cave and tries to woo her, to no avail. He shapeshifts into everything he can think of to win her favor, and into everything he can think of to frighten her. Finally he throws her into his dungeon.
After Satyrane and the Squire of Dames finish their conversation, they encounter Sir Paridell, who has just arrived from the court. Everyone is talking about poor Marinell and Florimell, and many knights have gone in search of her. Sir Satyrane offers his theory that Florimell is dead, but Paridell decides to ride on until he can find certain proof. All three of them decide to head to a nearby castle for the night.