Monday, May 20, 2013
The Sea-Captain's Tale:
There is a merchant and his wife who live in St. Denis. The merchant is very good friends with a visiting monk from Paris named Brother John. The merchant is preparing to leave for a business trip to Bruges, so before his departure he counts his income and takes stock of his items. He locks himself away in his office because it is time consuming work that requires a lot of attention. While the merchant is tucked away in his office, the wife approaches Brother John and tells him of her woes. She thinks her husband to be too stingy, and says that he never gives her money to buy any clothes, making her look lik a serving wench at best. She is to host a dinner party while the merchant is away but she has no money to buy a proper outfit. Her husband refuses to give her money because he believes her to be properly equipped. She asks Brother John for a hundred francs so she can buy a dress. Because the wife talked openly of her husband and told him a secret concerning her views on his manner, the monk tells her that he loves her. He says that he will give her the money if she were to spend the night with him in exchange. Brother John then goes to the merchant and discreetly asks for a hundred francs to pay a debt, which the merchant gratefully loans. Both the merchant and the monk leave to Bruges and Paris respectively. The next day Brother John returns and gives the wife the hundred francs, along with accepting his reward. Upon his return to Paris, the monk meets up with the merchant, who he tells that he returned the money to his wife in full and that his debt and loan are now clear. When the merchant returns home and the wife does not mention the payment he asks the wife why she has not yet told him. She says she spent the money on clothes and though it was a gift rather than a payment and apologizes.. but she is secretly very angry that Brother John tricked her.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Sergeant-At-Law's Tale: Part 3
King Alla returns to his country to find his wife and child gone. The governor tells him what he had commanded and realized the treachery of the King's mother. The King has her killed and is distraught over the loss of his wife and son. Meanwhile, the emperor of Rome hears of what has happened to his daughter in Syria and sends a senator and an army to kill the Sultan's mother and her accomplices. On their journey back to Rome they come across a ship, the very ship that Constance and her son are on. They bring the disoriented woman and child back to Rome where the Senator takes her in and provides her with food and shelter. King Alla, feeling sinful for having killed his mother, goes on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is greeted by the Senator who houses Constance, who unbeknownst to him is the man's wife. He invites the King to dinner, which the King gratefully accepts. When the King arrives he recognizes Constance and his son and they are happily reunited (after, of course, Constance finds out that it was not on the King's orders that she was sent away). Constance asks her husband to invite the emperor to meet. The emperor recognizes his daughter and they too happily reunite. Constance and her son then go with the King to England where they live for a year until the King dies. She then returns with her son to Rome to live with her father. Her son, Maurice, eventually becomes emperor of Rome.
Friday, May 3, 2013
The Sergeant-At-Law's Tale: Part 2
Upon Constance's arrival, a huge welcoming is arranged. She rides to the Sultan's Kingdom with the Sultan himself and his mother. The mother plays her part well, and pretends to love Constance and treats her as a daughter. However, that night at the feast, the mother hosts Constance and her party and kills them all, including the Sultan's advisors. She spares Constance and sends her on a ship with provisions, ordered to never come back. Constance wanders the sea for three years until she arrives at the tip of Gilbatar, a formerly Christian kingdom but one that has now been taken over by Muslims. Constance arrives delirious and forgetful of her past. The governor of the castle near where she comes ashore greets her and takes her in. He and his wife treat her as a daughter and she is well loved throughout the kingdom. A young knight sees her and falls in love but she rejects all his advances. Bitter, the knight devises a plan to destroy Constance. He slips into the castle when everyone is sleeping and slits the governor's wife's throat. He lays the knife next to Constance and she is thus accused of murder. She is brought before the King and makes her plea. The whole kingdom believes her plight and the King pities her. He asks the Knight to swear witness to the murder, which he does before God and is then smote on the back of his neck. He dies because of his lie and the King asks Constance to marry him. After a little while she bears a son, but the King is not present because he is off in Scotland. She sends word to the King's mother, who then gets the courier drunk and forges a letter to her son telling him that the child is deformed and is the Devil's spawn. The King writes back and tells the mother to keep the child safe until he returns, but the mother forges another letter in the King's name telling the governor to send Constance and the baby to sea within four days on the very same ship she arrived. The governor and the rest of the kingdom are shocked by the demand and regretfully force Constance to leave. She climbs aboard the ship with her baby and enough provisions to last her many years.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The Sergeant at Law's Tale: Part 1
There is a group of traders from Syria who are well known throughout the Middle-East and Europe. They go to Rome and are visited by the Emperor's daughter, Constance. When they return to Syria they visit their friend, the Sultan, to recount their travels and to tell him about Constance's beauty. The Sultan falls in love with her based upon the traders' story and gathers his council to tell them that he will die if he cannot marry her (sooo freakin' dramatic!) Anyways, the councilmen tell the Sultan that the Emperor would never permit his daughter to marry a Muslim. So the Sultan proposes that he should convert to Christianity, and hence, all his subjects and family would as well. His councilmen then present the proposal of marriage to the Emperor who accepts and plans a lavish wedding. Constance, however, is distraught because she has to marry a foreign man; one who she does not know and will have trouble relating to, due to their cultural differences. She acknowledges that she will essentially become a slave to her future husband and live a life of misery, yet she can do nothing to stop the marriage. Meanwhile, the mother of the Sultan is appalled that her son would renounce their religion and take up Christianity. She gathers her own councilmen and plots to prevent the marriage so that the her family and citizens can remain faithful to the Koran. She tells her advisers that they should all pretend to accept Christianity, and once they do that, she will throw a grand feast for the soon to be husband and wife.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The Cook's Tale Prologue:
The cook talks about how much he enjoyed the Reeve's tale and how people should be careful about who they let in their house. To prove his point he quotes Solomon, "Bring not every man into thine house." The host of the party warns the cook to tell a fair and decent tale with quality content. He doesn't want the tale to be like the cook's various pastries and pies that are a week old and covered in flies. The cook says that he has a good story but it is about an innkeeper and he asks the host not to take offense.
The Cook's Tale:
There was a prentice who lived in the same city as the cook. He was strong, handsome and incessantly happy. He loved to sing, dance and gamble his way through the city. However, a problem arose with his employers. They took his outings as thievery because they were essentially the ones to pay for his gambling excursions. Near the end of the man's apprenticeship his master told him to leave. The thought being that the man could not persuade the other men to follow his nightly outings. The Tale ends with the man finding a female companion to gamble and spend his days with. The catch being that she was a prostitute and that was the only match the man was fit for.
Intro to the Sergeant-At-Law's Tale:
Based on the sun's position in the sky, the host determines that it is the eighteenth of April. He asks the Sergeant-At-Law to fulfill his promise and to begin his story. The lawyer says that there is no tale he could tell that has not already been written by Chaucer, the writer in their company. The host says that Chaucer does not write tale's associated with anything that is grotesque or sinful. To that, the lawyer says that he will tell a tale of poverty and speak in prose, leaving the formation of poetry to Chaucer.
The Sergeant-At-Law's Tale Prologue:
The lawyer talk of poverty and how it is the worst condemnation that God could give. He says that poverty reduces a man to become a beggar and diminishes any sort of self-respect due to the need to survive. Poverty causes a man to steal and commit other sinful crimes. He quotes the wise as saying that it is "better to be dead than poor." He then transitions into talking about the rich and how God created a world in which men could be so disproportionately wealthy.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Reeve's Tale Summary:
After the Miller finishes telling his tale, the Reeve is really offended because he is a carpenter and the story was inappropriate. So for some reason the Reeve thinks that he can get back at the Miller by telling an even raunchier tale that involves a dishonest miller getting cheated. So there is a miller who lives near Cambridge who grinds all the corn for the local area and a nearby college. He steals the flour from everyone he grinds it for and everyone know of his dishonesty but won't do anything about it because he is a strong and dangerous man. Two young men, named John and Alan, come from the nearby college to watch the miller grind their corn so they won't be cheated out again. However, the miller knows of their plan and tries to outsmart the scholars by undoing their plan. He goes outside his house, where the scholars' horse is tied up, and undoes the rope so that the horse runs off. Once the scholars find out about their runaway horse they completely forget about the overseeing of the flour and run to go retrieve their horse. They finally get the horse tied up again by nightfall and ask to stay in the millers house. After the miller, his wife, and his twenty year old daughter fall asleep, Alan decides to get some recompense for his stolen goods. He goes over to the miller's daughter and has sex with her. Then John feels like an idiot because he hasn't gotten any pay back so he moves the baby's cradle in front of his bed so that when the wife gets up to pee and comes back she'll climb into his bed (using the crib to navigate which bed she's in because it is so dark). So the wife gets in bed with John and they have sex because she thinks it's her husband. When Alan get ready to leave he goes to the miller's bed (thinking it's John's) and tells him what he did. The miller and Alan then get into a fight and eventually Alan and John escape with their flour, horse and a sense of payback.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Miller's Tale:
After the Knight finishes telling his story the Miller drunkenly offers to tell his. He begins with a carpenter named John and his wife Alison. The carpenter is described as being a very simple man, who lacked any sort of intelligence. He allowed people to stay in his house for a fee; one of those men was a scholar name Fly Nicholas. Fly Nicholas was very interested in astrology and would tell people of his predictions based off the stars; such as when it might rain. He was very attracted to the carpenter's wife and made many advances that were adamantly denied by Alison. However, after some time Alison softened up and told Nicholas that when the carpenter left on business they could be together. A parish clerk named Absolon was also interested in Alison. He spotted her at church when she was giving her confessions, and he proceeded to sing by her window every night to tell her of his love. When the carpenter was preparing to finally go away on business, Nicholas and Alison hatched a plan. Nicholas brought up two days worth of food to sustain him while he hid in his room on the days proceeding the carpenter's departure. The thought was to have the carpenter think Nicholas gone so that no suspicions would arise upon his return from his business. The plan was never fulfilled, however, because the carpenter became so worried that he sent his servant up to Nicholas' room to check on him. The boy looked through a hole in the wall and saw that Nicholas was alright, but when he broke the door down Nicholas pretended to be possessed. He told the carpenter that he was sent a message from God saying that a great flood was about to happen, and the only people that could be saved were himself, the carpenter and his wife. Being a man of low intelligence, the carpenter believed every word and went to work on creating three separate tubs for each of them to survive the flood. The next night, the eve of the flood, all three climbed into their respective tubs, situated high up in the rafters of the house. The carpenter fell quickly to sleep, allowing Nicholas and Alison to be together all night in the carpenter's bedroom. Upon learning that the carpenter had not been seen for days, Absolon went to his house at dawn to sing to Alison. She refused him, saying she was in love with another, and told him to leave. He asked for one kiss before he left, which Alison granted with her butt rather than her mouth (it being pitch black out so that he wouldn't notice). When Absolon learned of her trickery he secretly returned with a hot iron and asked for another kiss. Nicholas came this time, and Absolon promptly burned him on the butt with the iron. Nicholas then screamed, awaking the carpenter who cut the rope thinking the flood had started. He fell to the floor breaking his arm, which led to his neighbors coming over to see him on the ground in pain. He told them about the flood, but Alison and Nicholas said he was mad, which everyone believed, and made the carpenter look insane.