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The Canterbury Tales

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Whan that the Knight had thus his tale y-told,
In al the route nas ther yong ne old
That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,
And worthy for to drawen to memorie;
And namely the gentils everichoon.
Our Hoste lough and swoor, ‘so moot I goon,
This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male;
Lat see now who shal telle another tale:
For trewely, the game is wel bigonne.
Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye conne,
Sumwhat, to quyte with the Knightes tale.’
The Miller, that for-dronken was al pale,
So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
Ne abyde no man for his curteisye,
But in Pilates vois he gan to crye,
And swoor by armes and by blood and bones,
‘I can a noble tale for the nones,
With which I wol now quyte the Knightes tale.’
When the Knight finished talking, everyone agreed that he’d told a great story, one that was good enough to tell again sometime in the future. The classier people in the group particularly liked the story. Our Host laughed and swore, then said, “All right, all right, not bad! That was a great way to break the ice and begin our storytelling contest. Okay, let’s see . . . who’s going to tell the next story? How about you, Mr. Monk? Can you tell us anything as good as the Knight’s story?” But the Miller, who was pale and drunk and nearly falling off his horse, interrupted without even an apology. With a booming voice like Pontius Pilate’s, he drunkenly swore and blurted out, “By God’s bloody bones, I got one for you that’s better than the Knight’s story!”

Our Hoste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
And seyde: ‘abyd, Robin, my leve brother,
Som bettre man shal telle us first another:
Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.’
Our Host saw that the Miller was drunk from having had too much ale and said, “Hold on there, Robin, my brother. Let someone else who’s in better shape tell the next story. Wait a little bit, and you’ll get your chance.”

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