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.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They were both rather sneaky.

michelle said...

I think she outmanoeuvred them all...

Writer In Transit

Cynthia said...

This monk doesn't sound very monk-like at all!

klahanie said...

Hi Mina,

Ah yes, "The Shipman's Tale". It's been ages since I read that and you have brought me such an articulate reminder.

Never mind what day letter you're supposed to be on. Heck, I'm going to be on the letter "F", next. Go figure :)

Happy alphabeting,


S. L. Hennessy said...

Sneaky sneaky sneaky. Love it.