Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A-Z: Z is for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Recap from A-Z

Okay, my Z post is a highlight of all my post...Chaucer from A-Z.  Whew!  I made it!  Before I finish with my last post I wanted to give you a brief background into the versions that I read of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  There are different translations, versions etc... but I thought It was important to share with you the version that allowed me to really enjoy these tales.

The version I read was Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales from the Modern Library ,Random House, Inc. (2008).  In addition, I referenced various lines from the tales from Canterburytales.org.  That particular website has both middle english and modern english versions.  And don't forget about the mobile apps I featured.  Like I said, those let you can take Chaucer on the go!
Now onto the A-Z overview!  Our resident host, Harry Bailey, who helped kick-start the tales.  Funny how the host didn't contribute his own tale, but sure knew how to critique them, huh?  If you missed general prologue or introduction of Harry Bailey, check out my post here!




Remember, the winner of the tale telling was set to win a free meal-- or something like that. And now...of all the tales I've blogged about...which was on your favorite?  

Vote at the bottom!

The Tale of the Clerk
The Physician's Tale

The Knight's Tale

The Friar's Tale

The Guildsmen & Haberdasher

The Miller's Tale Part 1 & Part 2


The Man of Law's Tale

The Reeve's Tale

The Pardoner's Tale

Sir Thopas Tale & The Melibee Tale

The Prioress Tale
The Shipman's Tale

The Franklin's Tale


The Second Nuns Tale

The Wife of Bath's Tale

The Manciple's Tale Of The Crow

The Cook & Squire's Tale

The Canon's Yeoman's Tale

Thanks for joining me this past month. Wow...what a journey, huh? Anyway, I'd love to know which was your favorite. Comment below to vote! My favorite is tale was the The Prioress Tale

Mina B.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A-Z: "Y" is for The Canon's Yeoman's Tale

We are almost at the end our A-Z challenge and today's letter is Y.  I'm featuring The Canon's Yeoman's Tale in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 

After the Second Nun's Tale the host asks the Canon and his Yeoman to tell a tale.  Both men are alchemists and the Yeoman works for the Canon.  The Yeoman starts the tale explaining he's worked for the Canon for several years and decides to quick.  He calls their profession "slippery science" and that they have no money because their alchemy attempts always fail.  Before the Yeoman divulges all their secrets, the Canon steps away embarrassed.  The tale starts with a a canon who cons a priest into thinking he's taken quick silver and turned into real silver.  He continues with his trick, convincing the priest he's also turned chalk and a twig into real silver.  The Canon agrees to reveal his secret for forty pounds to the priest and the con is complete.  The Yeoman, who is obviously a disgruntled employee, bashes the alchemy profession even more.  Check out these words of the Yeoman.  


695  And though you prowl, you never gold shall find;
696  You are as bold as Bayard is, the blind,
697  That blunders forth and thinks of danger, none;
698  He is as bold to run against a stone
699  As to go ambling down the broad highway.
700  And so fare you who multiply, I say.
701  If your two fleshly eyes can't see aright,
702  Look to it that your mind lack not for sight.
703  For, though you look about and though you stare,
704  You shall not win a mite in traffic there,
705  But you shall waste all you may scrape and turn.
706  Avoid that fire, lest much too fast it burn;
An Alchemist seemed more like a magician than anything else.  I always find alchemy in general fascinating   What about you?

Mina B.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Buzz: Downtown by Daneina Roltren

Hey there! Daneina Roltren's recently released Downtown, "a dark fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of steampunk and the new weird."  I love steampunk novels. You? Check out the book blurb of the sci-fi, steampunk thriller.

Downtown Book Blurb:   People are vanishing in Venice-like Skendgrot, and Vittoria Goritz, antiquities dealer and solipsist, is the prime suspect.

Yet Vitti is far from the sole culprit behind the strange disappearances. Skendgrot's militia have been quietly purging the city's undesirables, and the effects of this are reaching critical mass: the spaces left by the vanished criminals and ne'er-do-wells are being filled by an unstoppable flood of the hazy, semi-corporeal people nicknamed the inchoate.

But despite the warnings of the city's esotericists and natural philosophers, the militia are planning a mass vanishing, with a disastrous aftermath only Vitti can remedy—if she finally acknowledges the true extent of her ability.

Downtown is a steampunk novel to appeal to fans of dark fantasy and the new weird.


Get your copy of Downtown via Amazon here!

And as an added perk to my readers, the author has graciously donated one ecopy of her book for a giveaway. How awesome is that? See below and comment to win a free copy!

Mina B.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A-Z: "X" is for The Manciple's Tale Of The Crow

The A-Z challenge is rapidly coming to a close and today I'm featuring The Manciple's Tale Of The Crow for the letter X.  What's the X stand for you ask?  Well, X equals The Manciple's Tale and that's my choice.  Hah!
The Manciple tells us about a noble knight named, Phoebus, who had a white crow who he taught to speak.  He also had a wife who he kept locked up in his house since he was prone to jealous fits.  In the story their are two creatures being unnaturally caged. The crow is one and the wife the other. To illustrate this, the Manciple says the wife had an affair, which the talking crow witnessed. The crow immediately tells Pheobus who then becomes enraged kills his wife.  Afterwards he is abhorrently remorse and curses the crow for his loose beak.  The curse turns the crow black and soon he lost his lovely song voice.  In the end, the Manciple leaves these parting words as the moral of the story (The Manciple's Tale lines 247-258):


247  My son, if you no wicked word have said,
248  To be betrayed you need not ever dread;
249  But he that has missaid, I dare explain,
250  He may not aye recall his words again.
251  That which is said, is said, and goes, in truth,
252  Though he repent, and be he lief or loath.
253  A man's the slave of him to whom he's told
254  A tale to which he can no longer hold.
255  My son, beware and be not author new
256  Of tidings, whether they be false or true.
257  Where'er you come, among the high or low,
258  Guard well your tongue, and think upon the crow.


An incredible and powerful tale, huh?  Will you remember the crow the next time you want to speak hurtful words to someone?

Mina B.


Friday, April 26, 2013

A-Z: "W" is for The Wife of Bath Tale

The A-Z letter is W and I'm featuring Chaucer's The Wife of Bath Tale in Canterbury Tales. I remember liking this tale more the first time I read it than this time around.
The Wife has an idea based on experience about what married life should be.  I suspect since women were considered property, they yearned for freedom often.  The Wife begins her tale, stating hundreds of years ago, when fairies walked the earth and when King Author and his Queen reigned, there was a young knight in his court who violently raped a young girl and stole her maidenhead.  This was a crime punishable by death but the King let his Queen decide the knight's fate.  They obviously had a very unconventional marriage for back then but the queen deliberates and tells the guilty knight these words (The Wife of Bath's Tale verses 48-54):

48  I'll grant you life if you can tell to me
49  What thing it is that women most desire.
50  Be wise, and keep your neck from iron dire!
51  And if you cannot tell it me anon,
52  Then will I give you license to be gone
53  A twelvemonth and a day, to search and learn
54  Sufficient answer in this grave concern.


In short, she asks him : What do women most desire?  He has precisely one year to seek his answer. If he is right, it'll save his neck. If not, then...slice!  Of course the knight travels far and wide talking to all types of women which confuses him more.  As the year came to a close, he saw some fairies dancing in the forest.  When they disappear, an old hag emerges who told him if he agrees to offer her one future favor --whatever she asks--she will tell him the answer he seeks.

He agrees and heads back to court with his answer (The Wife of Bath Tale verses 182-184): 

182  Women desire to have the sovereignty
183  As well upon their husband as their love,
184  And to have mastery their man above;


All the women at court are in agreement with his answer (Queen included) and he has earned his life back.  Well not so fast because the hag shows up and wants her boon.  She said she wants to marry the knight.  He blanches but concedes. What choice did he have? They marry but the affair was more somber and certainly not merry at all.  The knight doesn't want her and tells her as much. He says he's of noble blood and her line is sullied (not to mention she's old.)  In the end she tells him that God defines the nobility from within or how virtuous a person is.  She asks him the question would you rather have a young beautiful wife with no morals or a hag with total virtue who he can completely trust?  The knight responds that its her choice.  By him giving her the power to choose this pleases her.  She asked for a kiss, promising she'll turn young, beautiful and faithful too.  When they kiss, the knight's ecstatic with his wife's transformation and all he had to do was submit.  And wouldn't you know they lived happily ever after.  LOL!

What do you make of this tale?  Its quite the fairly tale I think.  I think Chaucer's notion of what women wanted which back then was probably true.  Do you?  What do you think he would say about today's modern woman?  I think he'd have to write a thousand tales to figure that one out.  HeHe.

Mina B. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A-Z: "V" is for Valerian in The Second Nuns Tale

The A-Z Challenge letter today is V and my post is for "Valerian" in The Second Nuns Tale .  The nun tells the story of Saint Cecilia, an extremely devout Christian who converts her husband (Valerian) and brother-in-law to Christianity   When she marries Valerian, she explains that she is protected by an angel and that in order to be with her, he must convert.  She said when he does, the angel will then reveal himself.  Once baptized, Valerian does see the guardian angel and then his brother, Tibruce, converts as well.  

A Roman prefect, Almachius, discovers the men are now Christians and summons them for their betrayal.  He ends up executing the brothers, but not before they convert several other men in his army.  Almachius then summons Cecelia and demands that she honor the god, Jupiter.   When she refuses, he attempts to boil her alive.  By some miracle she is not harmed and swears its like wonderfully warm.  They then tried to slice her throat three times but she is still able to preach the word of God. Read verses 407-420 of the Second Nun's Tale:

407  The executioner three times her smote
408  Upon the neck, and could not strike again,
409  Although he failed to cut in two her throat,
410  For at that time the ordinance was plain
411  That no man might another give the pain
412  Of striking four blows, whether soft or sore;
413  This executioner dared do no more.
414  But half dead, with her neck cut three times there,
415  He let her lie, and on his way he went.
416  The Christian folk that all about her were,
417  With sheets caught up the precious blood she spent;
418  And three days lived she in this same torment,
419  But never ceased at all the faith to teach,
420  That she had fostered; dying did she preach;

Interesting tale, huh?  Cecelia was indeed amazing, but I think Valerian was just as great. Have you read this one?


Mina B.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A-Z: "T" for The Franklins "Tale" & "U" for Unfinished

For the A-Z challenge I'm doing another double post.  First, I'm featuring The Franklin's Tale from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  And for my "U" post, I'll follow up with two of Chaucer's Tales that were unfinished, The Cook's Tale and The Squire's Tale.

"T" is the "The Franklin's Tale"
The Franklin tells a tale of virtue, patience and honor--and its almost unbelievable after reading some of the other satirical tales.  In fact, there were times where I thought the characters would choose poorly with other likely sins i.e. gluttony, murder, theft or adultery, but no.  Our main characters were each tested in their own way and ended up resolute to do the honorable thing. 
Arviragus is a knight who falls in love with a maiden--one of the fairest of the land--something like that. Her name is Dorigen and she is beautiful and virtuous and our knight learns that patience and humility will earn her hand and heart. They eventually wed and move to their new home and begin their happily ever after until Arvigious must leave and seek his fortune. Here's where it gets a bit dull for me. Dorigen grows depressed, longing for her absent husband to the point of annoyance. I kept reading how depressed she was and wanted to smack her. Couldn't she embroider or something, not sit and bemoan the loss of her man? Really? 

Anyway, a local squire, Aurelius, is in love with Dorigen too and he decides to make his move and tell her. He's handsome and eager be with the lovely Dorigen. He tells her he's in love and Dorigen replies that she could never betray her husband's love. They talk longer and then she daringly makes a promise, stating the only way she would be with him if he removes all the boulders/rocks on the shoreline where the ships come in. It was an unattainable task, but still one she promised. The young squire becomes obsessed with the task of ultimately claiming his love and prays to the Gods for help. He even solicits the help of a magician and agrees to a king's ransom to get the task done. In short, the magician does the task and Aurelius goes back to Dorigen to claim his prize. She cries more because she know she must leave and confesses to her husband who forgives her and begs her to honor her word. What? Yup. And so Dorigen surrenders herself to the squire who now feels bad for his Dorigen and the honorable knight. In a strange twist, he relinquishes her from her promise. The married woman is then free to go back to her husband, but then the squire still owes a huge debt of a thousand pounds to the magician. Forlorn with the final outcome and the years of obsession, he explains the situation to the magician and the magician in return is shocked at everyone's generosity.   In the end, the magician forgets the debt which was pretty remarkable itself. The Franklin then ends the tale with these parting words:

893 Masters, this question would I ask you now:
894 Which was most generous, do you think, and how.
895 Pray tell me this before you farther wend.
896 I can no more, my tale is at an end.
That tale had too much drama for it to end so lame. I think the Knight was the most generous. What do you think?


"U" is for "Unfinished" Tales

 The Cook's Tale had a interesting start but it ended to soon to get a good feel for where it was going.  To be brief it's about an apprentice, Perkyn, who liked to party, gamble and steal, and his master ended up releasing him for his foolishness.  The apprentice then moves in with a friend and his wife who happens to be a prostitute. It only had 58 lines which isn't much.  Read here if you're interested. 


The Squire's Tale A king has three children, two sons and a daughter.  One night the king throws a party and a mysterious knight attends bearing magical gifts. One was a teleportation device, another a mirror that reveals the minds an enemy, a ring that translates bird language, and a deadly sword.  Part of the tale deals with the king's daughter, Canace, uses the ring to communicate with a falcon.  In the end, the Squire's tale is unfinished when the Franklin interrupts him.  I would have liked to have read more about the gifts because the sounded really cool. 


What about you?  Did you start these two tales and get excited only to get dissappointed they were never finished?

Mina B.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A-Z: "S" is for The Shipman's Tale from the Canterbury Tales

A-Z Challenge again and we are onto the letter S! Today the is one of Chaucer's lighter tales, as "S" is for The Shipman's Tale in Canterbury Tales.  Although the tale features more adults behaving badly, it's still pretty funny.  The tale starts with a merchant who is has a wife who is a spendthrift.  They live a plentiful existence and then a handsome monk by the name of Dan John, cons the merchant to think he's a distant relation.  He ends up living with the Merchant and his wife where the monk lives off the unsuspecting couple's good graces.  When the wife and monk get cozy, she whines  to him in the strictest confidence about her husband and how she suffers as his wife.  In their conversation she asks to borrow one hundred francs from the monk.  He agrees to lend her the money and tells her he will get the money for her soon.  Dan John heads directly to the Merchant and says he needs to borrow the one hundred francs from him to buy cattle.  The merchant agrees and lends him the money before heading out of town.  That night the monk gives the money to the merchant's wife and the two end up have a lustful night (Verses 314-319 of The Shipmans Tale.)  

314  This lovely wife agreed with her Dan John
315  That for these hundred francs he should, all night,
316  Have her within his arms and bolt upright;
317  And this agreement was performed in bed.
318  In mirth all night a busy life they led
319  Till it was dawn, when Dan John went his way,


Oh, but it gets better.  The merchant later visits Dan John to collect his debt and wouldn't you know that monk is quite slippery, the knave!  He tells the merchant he already paid his wife the money.  Bahahah!  When the merchant asks his wife, she pretends she didn't know he was paying off a debt and confesses she already used the money to buy more dresses.  For shame.  For shame!

Do you remember The Shipmans Tale?  I know I'm a day off here but oh well.

Mina B.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A-Z: "R" is for Alma Redemptoris in Prioress's Tale

A-Z Challenge again and this time its the letter R.   Today "R" is for Alma "Redemptoris" in Prioress's Tale. What a beautiful story and rather timely too.  The story was an ode to the Virgin Mary and all things in this world that she blesses including the innocent.  It starts with a widow's son, a seven-year-old boy who is a Christian and in a choir who happens to cross paths with a group of Jews.
The young boy first hears the song Alma Redemptoris and is captivated by its beauty and learns every word.  He sings it everywhere and all the time so much that the Jews in his town were sick of it.  The devil possessed the Jews and sparked an unthinkable idea.  In short, they hired a murderer to slit his throat and threw him in the sewer.  When the boy's mother went searching for him she found his corpse, slit throat and all but he was still able to miraculously sing Alma Redemptoris.  They couldn't understand why and so when asked this is what he said about the Virgin Mary (The Prioress Tale verses 171-182):

171  And when came time that I my death must meet,
172  She came to me and bade me only sing
173  This anthem in the pain of my dying,
174  As you have heard, and after I had sung,
175  She laid a precious pearl upon my tongue.
176  Wherefore I sing, and sing I must, 'tis plain,
177  In honour of that blessed Maiden free,
178  Till from my tongue is taken away the grain;
179  And afterward she said thus unto me:
180  'My little child, soon will I come for thee,
181  When from thy tongue the little bead they take;
182  Be not afraid, thee I will not forsake.'

And so they take the pearl out of the boy's mouth and he stops singing and finally dies.  I don't know why I thought it was beautiful but I did.  When I read this, I couldn't help but think of
, Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who was killed during that senseless terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon last week.  Tragic beyond words but his memory much like the boy in the tale...beautiful.

Martin Richard
Mina B.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Buzz: One Year Lived by Adam Shepard

Adam Shepard, another self-pub sensation released his first book, Scratch Beginnings, in 2010 to astounding success.  With an idea and twenty-five dollars, he penned his journey that earned him exposure from major media icons like the Today Show, NPR and the New York Times.  Nearly three years later he's back with a vengeance publishing his second novel, One Year Lived.    
Get your copy here.
Much like Scratch Beginnings, Adam offers his readers a unique perspective on living.  As Americans we are truly lucky to live in a land of opportunity.  Finding and earning success doesn't have to be mundane.  In One Year Lived, Adam challenges today's young Americans to breakaway from their static lives--before career, family and the daily grind rob your existence--and experience the world.  It took Adam nearly two years to save for his trip, less than twenty thousand dollars--an absurd, meager amount of take on a year's dream.  But he did it and the result is in his incredible story, One Year Lived.

At any age life if full of expectation, but by experiencing the world to the fullest, a person is almost guaranteed to acquire of wealth of experience that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.  In One Year Lived, Adam's yearlong journey took him to faraway places many people only dream of like Antigua, Thailand, Australia and Slovakia.  One except of his trip can be found here and while you're at it, check out this cool clip of Adam doing what he does best...living life. 


GIVEAWAY!  And now for some fun!  Adam is giving me five (5) Free ebooks of One Year Lived.  That's pretty unbelievable, huh?  Want to know how to enter?  See below and enter.  Contest ends Wednesday, April 24th eod.


Mina B.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A-Z: "Q" is for "Elf Queen" in Sir Thopas & The Melibee Tale

A-Z: "Q" is for "Elf Queen" in one of the Canterbury Tales called Sir Thopas. I had to reach for a Q today but it's still on point with my theme. Additionally, I will feature The Tale of Melibee as these tales go hand and hand. 

In these two tales, Chaucer takes stage as a character on the pilgrimage to Thomas Becket's shrine. The Host goads him to tell his own tale and so he begins with Sir Thopas. Our main character, Thopas, is a successful hunter who is hunting in the forest where he becomes bewitched by the forest sounds and eventually uncovers a hidden place. He dreams of an elf-queen and declares she shall be his because the real would doesn't have a woman that's good enough for him. He meets a great giant called Sir Oliphant. They fight as Oliphant is protecting the the queen of Faery until Thopas retreats back to his home. Yeah well that's were it pretty much ends. It had so much promise and then the Host interrupts and complains how terrible Chaucer's tale is.  What?

From here in The Canterbury Tales the Melibee Prologue begins. The host is annoyed with Chaucer's tale telling. See here from CanterburyTales.org verses 1-6:

1  No more of this, for God's high dignity!
2  Exclaimed our host, For you, sir, do make me
3  So weary with your vulgar foolishness
4  That, as may God so truly my soul bless,
5  My two ears ache from all your worthless speech;
6  Now may such rhymes the devil have, and each!
Apparently, the story tellers needed to rhyme their tales.  I don't recall studying this originally.  Does anyone else?  A rapper's dream, back then, huh?  I wonder what Chaucer would think of rap music today?  Moving forward, Chaucer stands chastened and begs to tell a different story, a prose one about a man named Melibee.

The Melibee Tale is about a man of good fortune who is married with a family discovers he's been robbed, his wife beaten and his daughter nearly left for dead.  Outraged by the deed, he beseeches counsel from reputable men in his community.  They each give him advice, some good some bad.  The dilemma for Melibee is should he go to war with the people that did this and seek ultimate revenge for their evil deeds or should he choose a different approach, a peaceful one.  You'll have to forgive me because this tale just lost me.  I literally had no interest while reading it but I think that was the point of Chaucer to bore his readers.  The joke was a funny one since the tale was filled with so many quotes from scripture it was nauseating.  Poor Melibee was incapable of independent thinking.  It was sad really.  In the end the tale finished with an Amen and I wanted to scream Hallelujah.  I would have taken the elf-queen story ten times over rather than read that sanctimonious drivel.  I wish Chaucer would have finished Thopas, but then again, I prefer the supernatural.  :)

Have you read the either of these tales?  Do you recall either one?  

Fridays with Fred & Healthy Writers Club
On another note, Fred is doing well and slowly or reluctantly adjusting to Spike.  Look for his return posts after A-Z.  And the same goes for Healthy Writers Club.  

Have a great Friday!

Mina B.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A-Z: "P" is for "The Pardoner's Tale" in The Canterbury Tales.

The A-Z challenge today features the letter "P" and since I have some momentum with the other tales, I decided to discuss "The Pardoner's Tale" from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.
The Pardoner is a manipulative, arrogant fool who is traveling with the other pilgrims to Canterbury.  He's a sinner by his own choice which he freely admits to the other travelers.  As a pardoner he sells his divine pardons to all, including this group.  Basically, he's a self-proclaimed absolver of sins. Okay, any one up for confessing anything to that guy?  Uh...no.

He tells a tale about three young men and goes on a tangent about the carousing the young embark on i.e. drinking, partying and gambling.  In short, the young are often a target for the devil and usually fall victim to gluttonous pastimes like the ones mentioned above.  These three young men choose a life of crime and with each passing day, their sins increase.  One day as they plan to steal gold, two of the thieves decide to kill the third guy to increase their lot.  The dastardly duo devised a plan and then waited patiently.  The third unsuspecting thief had a similar idea and decided his take would be greater if he killed the other two partners.  He chose poison as his weapon and purchased some to do the deed.  Now, wouldn't you know that they all ended up killing each other?  First, the two stabbed their young friend and to celebrate they drank his tainted wine.  HAH!  How's that for karma? 

Afterwards the Pardoner boasts the importance of purchasing pardons to repent from being sinners or becoming victim of the devil's works.  He's has no shame which you can read for yourself (The Pardoner's Tale verses 442-455):

442  Now, good men, God forgive you each trespass,
443  And keep you from the sin of avarice.
444  My holy pardon cures and will suffice,
445  So that it brings me gold, or silver brings,
446  Or else, I care not- brooches, spoons or rings.
447  Bow down your heads before this holy bull!
448  Come up, you wives, and offer of your wool!
449  Your names I'll enter on my roll, anon,
450  And into Heaven's bliss you'll go, each one.
451  For I'll absolve you, by my special power,
452  You that make offering, as clean this hour
453  As you were born. And lo, sirs, thus I preach.
454  And Jesus Christ, who is our souls' great leech,
455  So grant you each his pardon to receive;

The Pardoner...he has some nerve, huh?  Are you becoming a fan of Chaucer yet?  Are my posts too long winded?  


Mina B.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A-Z: "O" is for Oswald the Reeve from Canterbury Tales

"O" I can't believe I've made it this far.  It's the A-Z challenge, guys and "O" is for "Oswald," the Reeve/Steward in The Canterbury Tales.  In the prologue before the tale, we learn Oswald is bitter about the nasty tale that the Miller told.  See my posts Part 1 & Part 2 if you want a recap.  It appears The Reeve used to be a carpenter and since The Miller's tale centered around the blundering carpenter named John, then Oswald swore he would tell a better tale about a Miller.  According to Oswald, Millers are usually drunken cheats so straight away, we know Chaucer is about to deliver a doozy on behalf of our inebriated Miller.
In a town there is a Miller that has a wife and a little son and young, not-so-lovely daughter.  He's known in his lands to cheat his customers of grain and two young scholars, Allan and John, promise to outsmart Simkin, the Miller. They bring grain to be milled to Simkin who immediately deciphers their MO.  He decides to outsmart them in return and slips away unnoticed while the two young men keep a watchful eye on the milling process.  Simkin releases their horse to the fields and when the men's grain is finished, they discover their horse is gone.  Both men abandon the original grain-observing mission to scour the countryside for the horse.  After capturing the horse it's night and Simkin let's the young men stay the night for a price.  The home is very small and so everyone sleeps in the same room.  Disgruntled by being screwed by the miller, Allan decides to screw Simkin's daughter and slips in her bed.  John ends up doing the same but with his wife and when dawn comes, you can imagine what a scene that was.  Here's the end of the Reeve's revengeful tale (verses 396-404) where the Reeve gets his final word:

396  Of Alain, and of John, who've tricked him well.
397  His wife is taken, also his daughter sweet;
398  Thus it befalls a miller who's a cheat.
399  And therefore is this proverb said with truth,
400  An evil end to evil man, forsooth.
401  The cheater shall himself well cheated be.
402  And God, Who sits on high in majesty,
403  Save all this company, both strong and frail!
404  Thus have I paid this miller with my tale.

Don't you love how the personalities of the pilgrims like Oswald (the Reeve,) come out in their tale-telling?  Okay, we get it, Oswald.  You don't like the Miller.  

Mina B.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A-Z: "N" is for Nicholas in The Miller's Tale

For the A-Z challenge today I'm featuring part 2 of the Miller's Tale from The Canterbury Tales.  If you didn't read the first part, check out my J post here.
"N" is for Nicholas from The Miller's Tale.  Nicholas was an arrogant, pretty-boy character with way too much book smarts and not enough common sense.  He got his in the end so to speak.  LOL!

In part 1 of the Miller's Tale Absalom Allison's serenading caller, left furious with her and disgusting antics. He feels betrayed by Alison and storms off only to call on her again a short while later. Nicholas decides to be the one to stick his arse out this time. And boy did he pick the wrong time to become cheeky--no pun intended. Read these passages from CanterburyTales.org -- verses 607-628 and see how Absalom gets his revenge.

607  I am your Absalom, my own darling!

608  Of gold, quoth he, I have brought you a ring;
 
609  My mother gave it me, as I'll be saved; 

610  Fine gold it is, and it is well engraved; 

611  This will I give you for another kiss.

612  This Nicholas had risen for a piss,
 
613  And thought that it would carry on the jape

614  To have his arse kissed by this jack-a-nape. 

615  And so he opened window hastily, 

616  And put his arse out thereat, quietly, 

617  Over the buttocks, showing the whole bum; 

618  And thereto said this clerk, this Absalom, 

619  O speak, sweet bird, I know not where thou art. 

620  This Nicholas just then let fly a fart 

621  As loud as it had been a thunder-clap, 

622  And well-nigh blinded Absalom, poor chap; 

623  But he was ready with his iron hot 

624  And Nicholas right in the arse he got. 

625  Off went the skin a hand's-breadth broad, about, 

626  The coulter burned his bottom so, throughout, 

627  That for the pain he thought that he should die. 

628  And like one mad he started in to cry, 

As Absalom brands Nicholas's ass with a scolding poker, Nicholas screams to high heaven, practically waking the dead including the husband. In the end, Absalom is vindicated, the lovers are caught, and John, the fool, comes off like a madman. The pilgrims, however, are equal parts amused and outraged by the Miller's scandalous tale. Bahaha!!. Disturbing? A little. Funny? Very much so! :)


Mina B.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A-Z: L & M for "Man of Law" Tale in Canterbury Tales

I've made it to week three of the A-Z Challenge.  Wahoo!  Today, I'm doing a combo post for "L" and "M" for the "Man of Law's" tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  This tale was a long one with many twists and turns so...bear with me.
In short, the Man of Law was a Lawyer back then.  His tale is an epic one about religion and romance involving a Sultan, a Roman Princesses, a Pagan King and this list goes on and on. This was probably my favorite tale to date because I found it to be a page turner.  It's been centuries and religion continues to be the crux of many dramatic debates.  The tale begins with once again a fair maiden, Lady Constance.  She is a Roman princess who practices Christianity and is said to be so beautiful, humble and virtuous.  A Sultan living in a land far away learns of Constance and decides she must be his wife but with their different religions that potential union is deemed unlikely. The Sultan ends up converting and negotiates for Constance's hand. The Roman Emperor accepts and sends his daughter but the union infuriates the Sultan's mother and she devises a diabolical plan to kill her son for his religious betrayal.  She slaughters her son and Lady Constance's entourage but spares Constance, sending her off to sail on a ship by herself.  And so Constance sails for three years.  

Constance lands on another land, a Pagan one, where she befriends a castle warden and his wife.  To shorten this tale, Lady Constance's becomes legendary once again for her kindness, faith and beauty and that bails her out some sticky situations.  She earns the favor of the King Alla who marries her and then while he leaves to fight a war she gives birth to their son and heir, Maurice.  This tale has yet another mother-in-law conniving to destroy her son's happiness.  King Alla's malicious mother hates Lady Constance and forges a letter from her son, commanding his solders to banish Constance and Maurice (her grandson) -- to depart on the same ship she came in on.  *sigh*

Constance leaves with her son where they sail for five years until she is found by a Roman ship.  She lives in Rome, hiding away and living with her son at a Senator's house briefly until her husband, King Alla visits Rome and sees his son, Maurice.  He instantly recognizes something familiar.  Yeah, that part was awesome.  Lady Constance and her husband finally reunite in Line 945, "I think a hundred times they must have kissed."  I'll say that was a joyous reunion after all the tragedy that befall our heroine.  Like I said...it was a page turner.

That's my "L" and "M" post for A-Z.  What do you remember about this tale?  

Mina B.