The Canterbury Tales in bite-sized chunks. Part 4
By John Welford
July 31, 2019 9:29am CST
Here are four more of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, each reduced to 100 words: Franklin’s Tale The lady Dorigen fears that her husband Arviragus will be shipwrecked on the Brittany rocks when he returns to her from fighting in Britain. Aurelius claims her if he can make the rocks disappear, and she agrees in jest. He offers to pays a magician to cause an exceptionally high tide that covers all the rocks, which he does. Arviragus returns safely, Dorigen confesses what she has agreed to, and Arviragus says that she must do what she has promised. Aurelius sees how distressed Dorigen is and releases her from her bond. The magician also releases Dorigen from his debt. Physician’s Tale Virginia is the beautiful young daughter of Virginius. Apius, a corrupt judge, fancies her and persuades Claudius to bring a charge against Virginius claiming that Virginia is in fact an escaped servant of his. Apius finds in Claudius’s favour, but rather than release Virginia to the court, he tells her that death is preferable to dishonour and he must therefore kill her, a fate that she accepts. Virginius takes her head to Apius who demands that Virginius be hanged for murder but the people rise up against Apius who is thrown in prison and commits suicide. Virginius has Claudius exiled. Pardoner’s Tale When a friend dies of the plague, three young men pledge to find and kill Death. An old man tells them where Death can be found, but instead they find a pile of gold. Two of them send the third to fetch food and wine while they guard the treasure. However, the two plan to kill the third so that they can share the gold between themselves. Meanwhile the third man puts poison in their wine so that he can claim all the gold himself. When he returns he is killed and the other two drink the wine to celebrate. Shipman’s Tale John, a monk, regularly visits a merchant and his wife. The wife complains to John that her husband is mean, and asks him for a loan of a hundred franks. John goes to the husband and asks for a hundred franks loan, which he gets. When the monk gives the money to the wife he gets a night of passion for his reward. When the merchant calls in the loan, the monk says that he has already paid it to the wife. The wife tells her husband that she thought it was a gift, but repays him in bed instead.
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