- Three rioters - a bunch of questionable characters
- Death - the grimmest of reapers
- Old man - an innocent bystander
Three man get drunk in a bar. They hear that a man was slain by Death and decide to go slay Death themselves.
When they meet an old man, they berate him until they get told Death can be found by an old oak up the road.
When they arrive, they find 8 florins instead (worth ~ US$ 1.210 in April 2018) and forget all about Death.
Transporting this much money would brand them thieves, so they decide to wait until nightfall. To pass the time, they need refreshments. After drawing straws, the youngest of the group is sent.
The two left now plot the murder of the third upon his return. The one sent plots too and decides to poison their drinks. He gets three bottles of wine and poisons two.
Upon his return, the two kill the third swiftly and to celebrate their riches, drink the poisoned wine and die on the spot.
After finishing his story, the Pardoner tries to sell false relics to the Host, making his point.
“You would make me kiss your old breaches, and swear they were the relic of a saint though they were foully stained by your bottom! But by the cross that St. Helen found, I wish I had your testicles in my hand instead of relics or holy objects. Cut them off, I’ll help you carry them. They shall be enshrined in hog’s dung!”
THE SECOND NUN
- St. Cecilia - a saint
- Valerian - a really understanding husband
- Tiburtus - a really understanding brother
- Prefect - a Roman
Cecilia has married Valerian, but does not want to give up her virginity because she is a Roman Catholic.
To prevent having sex, she tells Valerian that if he touches her, he will die by the hand of Cecilia’s protective angel.
The angel actually exists and offers both Cecilia and Valerian protection and Valerian the chance to ask a question.
He doesn’t want much but the same protection for his brother, Tiburtius.
Tiburtius, upon being told of his luck (which he can only get if he becomes a Christian), accepts Christ and all three henceforth experience miracles.
This micracle-granting does not go unnoticed by the Romans, and the three are summoned to appear before the prefect.
The prefect wants them to sacrifice to Jupiter (and thus violate their Christian faith) or be beheaded.
Naturally, they refuse. The night before their executions, they convert the executioner. Valerian and Tiburtius get executed by someone else, and the executioner gets himself beaten to death.
Cecilia offends the prefect enough to earn herself a harsher punishment: she gets burned and survives, gets beheaded too and still survives for three more days.
Her house then becomes a church.
THE CANON’S YEOMAN
Disclaimer: The Yeoman and his master, the Canon, join the group later - the Canon soon leaves again.
- Yeoman - an unhappy worker
- Canon - an alchemist and trickster
- Priest - a tricked one
The Yeoman describes his job as an alchemist apprentice thoroughly. He does not like the job at all, for it is deceiving and dangerous.
He tells of a canon who once ask a priest for financial help and after timely paying his loan back, wins the priest’s trust.
For his deception, he tells the priest that he will do him a great favour - all he needs is three ounces of quicksilver. He tinkers with a tempered coal in the fire, by adding a small bit of silver into a pre-drilled hole. Upon removing the lump of coal, he tells the priest to rummage around in it. The priest finds a small clump of silver.
The priest is amazed and wants to buy the formula to transmute quicksilver into silver and quickly a deal is made for the princely sum of £40.
“If a man has money, he can easily learn to transmute his money to nothing!”
- Phoebus - a man with anger issues
- Wife - a victim of rage
- Crow - a victim of stupidity
Phoebus owns a white **crow, **capable of speaking, and with a beautiful singing voice. He also has a wife, but deals with fits of jealousy.
His jealousy is not without merit, because his wife has taken a lover. When once the wife is cheating, the crow sees all and reports to its master.
Phoebus reacts by killing his wife… and soon regrets his decision and blames the crow.
He curses his crow and all crows after to be black instead of white, to be unable to speak and to only screech if bad weather is afoot. Thus, all crows are black, mute and warning.
“My son, beware, and be not the first giver of news, no matter whether it is false or true.”
BONUS - THE PARSON
The Parson decides to go on a two hour long, three-part sermon on penitence and the deadly sins. Chaucer (or this translator) had no desire to write it down.