The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer - THE NUN'S PRIEST, THE WIFE OF BATH, THE FRIAR

April 5 2018


  • Chanticleer - a cock
  • Partlet- a hen
  • Fox- not so nifty

Chanticleer and Partlet, a cock and hen couple, live a simple life.

One night, Chanticleer had a nightmare concerning a fox. Soon, he meets the real thing.

The fox, ever sly, flatters Chanticleer until the same is so bewitched that the fox can simple carry him off.

To rescue himself, Chanticleer compels the fox to talk, and upon opening his mouth, Chanticleer escapes both him and his fate.


Disclaimer: This tale is about misogyny and accepted abuse of women in the medieval world. A rare divergence from Chaucer’s usual perspective.

  • King - Arthur
  • Knight - a repentant one
  • Queen - a stereotype
  • Woman - fairy

A knight’s squire rapes a woman and the knight is condemned to death for it.

The Queen asks for the knight’s pardon and the King gives the judgement to her.

To make up for the crime committed, the Queen sends the knight on a quest:

He has one year and one day, to find out what women desire the most.

Naturally, the quest is doomed from the start and he is about to go back and face his sentence, when he meets an old woman who tells him that she can solve his problem, if he promises to do what she asks.

He agrees.

When prompted to show the result of his quest, the knight explains that what women really desire, is control over men. All agree, he has found the answer.

The old woman interjects and requires her payment. She wants the knight to marry her.

The knight is appalled - the old woman is ugly, old, and of low birth.

The woman explains that lowly birth is unimportant for those who do noble deeds. Her rescue of him was surely godly and noble. Furthermore, she explains that her looks and her age make her naturally chaste.

However, she offers him a choice:

He can take her old and ugly but loyal and true, or require prettiness and youth, but content himself with flightiness and openness.

The knight decides that it is not for him to choose - it is her choice.

Having now committed to her and done for her what all women desire, she tells him that he will indeed get both. (She is an elf and will transform herself.)

“It seems to me that poverty is an eyeglass through which one may see his true friends.”


  • Summoner - a type of law enforcement
  • Yeoman - a devilish bailiff

A summoner, a corrupt official was on the road.

He meets a yeoman and is asked about his profession. When he lies and says that he is a bailiff, the yeoman is delighted, for he is a bailiff too.

When the summoner asks his new friend where he is from, he says that he is from hell. The summoner is not worried and they decide to deceive together.

When they happen upon a poor old woman, she curses the summoner to the devil and taking his chance, the false yeoman who is actually the devil, takes him to hell.