The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer - THE COOK, THE MAN OF LAW, THE SHIPMAN

March 28 2018



  • Perkin - a reveler
  • Perkin’s Master

Perkin is a fine dancer. He is apprenticed to a food merchant. His dancing led to thieving and his master dismisses him…

Chaucer did not finish this story.



  • Aella - a king
  • Donegild - mother of Aella
  • Constance - wife of Aella
  • Emperor of Rome - Constance’s father
  • Maurice - son of Constance & Aella
  • Sultan - wants Constance
  • Sultan’s mother - does not want Constance
  • Constable - a good man
  • Hermengild - Constable’s good wife
  • Senator & Wife - Roman versions of Constable & Hermengild
  • Knight - a misguided man

The Sultan of Syria has gotten word of the beauty of the daughter of the Emperor of Rome, Constance. Their opposing religions forbid such a union, so the Sultan converts to Christianity.

The Sultan’s mother is against the union and kills all Christians on her son’s wedding.

Constance is put on a ship and cast out to sea. After many years, she lands in Northumberland.

She is taken in by a pagan Constable and his wife, Hermengild (both promptly convert to Christianity).

A knight falls in love with Constance. Upon being refused, the knight kills Hermengild and places the knife in such a way that it appears Constance was the killer.

To prove his accusations, the knight must swear on the Gospel. He is instantly struck and his eyes explode.

Constance is made a queen to the king of the land, Aella and falls pregnant.

While Aella is at war, a letter is to be send to him about the birth of his son, Maurice. Donegild, Aella’s mother, dislikes Constance and intercepts the letter. She exchanges it for one that states the child was born a monster, clearly because the mother is an elf.

Aella is distraught but content. He writes back that the mother and child are to be protected. The letter is once again intercepted and Constance and Maurice are put back on the ship she came on and send off to sea once more.

After many more years at sea, the senator to the Emperor of Rome finds Constance, not knowing who she is. He takes her in. Constance and Maurice stay there for a long time.

Meanwhile, Aella has killed his mother, but now feels guilty for his matricide. He travels to Rome to seek penance.

The senator hears of this and, with Maurice, goes to meet Aella. The king sees the resemblance in Constance and Maurice and soon, Aella and Constance and reunited.

Constance begs Aella to dine with her father, the Emperor. All is well!

Except, Aella dies after only a year, Constance goes to live out her days with her father and Maurice becomes Emperor.

“We women are born to servitude and penance, always ruled by some men’s governance.”



  • Merchant - a cockhold
  • Wife - a trickster
  • Don John - a impious monk

A merchant invites his friend, a monk to visit. On day three, the merchant leaves to attend to his finances.

The merchant’s wife laments to Don John that she is short on funds and wants him to give her 100 francs.

Don John asks the merchant for 100 francs and gets them. He gives the 100 francs to the wife and asks for sex as payment.

When the merchant gets back, he is in debt and goes to Don John to ask what became of the 100 francs. Don John tells him he gave the 100 francs to the merchant’s wife for save-keeping.

Upon confronting his wife, the merchant gets told that she believed the money to be her payment for her hospitality and that she will repay him in the bedroom.

“And you know that women naturally desire the same six things as I; they want their husbands to be brave, wise rich, generous with money, obedient to the wife and lively in the bedroom.”