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?