The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer - THE PRIORESS, CHAUCER, THE MONK

April 3 2018


Disclaimer: This tale is antisemitic. Proceed with caution.

  • Boy - a pious one
  • Mary - mother of Jesus
  • Abbot - not a fan of Jews

In a small town lives a Christian boy. He is very pious and upon hearing a song dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, decides to learn it.

He sings the song, Alma Redemptoris constantly, to the chagrin of his Jewish neighbours.

One day, he is killed for it and thrown in a privy. When his mother searches for him the next day, she finds his corpse, throat cut but still singing.

The guilty party is concluded to be all the Jews around and they are brutally killed.

The boy is brought to the abbot who asks how it is that he can still sing. The child explains that Mary herself placed a kernel on his tongue and only when it is removed, will he cease to sing and cease to be.

This is done and the boy is entombed in marble and this miracle celebrated.


  • Sir Thopas - an enthralled knight
  • Giant - a guard
  • Chaucer - the man of the (bygone) hour

Sir Thopas has decides that he will only marry an elvish queen.

On the gates of Fairyland, he is confronted by a giant, who will not grant him entrance unless Sir Thopas defeats him in combat.


At this point the host of the riding party interrupts Chaucer. He does not like the tale and demands a new one!

Chaucer obliges and dives into a lengthy treatise on the moral high ground.


  • Ugolino - Count of Pisa
  • Roger - Bishop of Pisa
  • Jailer - a vicious person

Ugolino is arrested and thrown in prison by Roger, Bishop of Pisa. His three children are imprisoned with him.

After some time, it appears the jailer intends to starve the group to death. Soon, the youngest child dies, then the others and eventually, Ugolino himself.

The moral is that Ugolino was accused of a crime he did not commit, and thus, dies despite his high status.