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?