Friday, December 18, 2015

The Miller's Tale

For many high school students, they must wade through Geoffrey Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, in Middle English form:

"When that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licuor
Of which vertu engendred is the flour"

That is too painful to continue!

And, mercifully, the tale we studied was one about talking chickens (The Nun's Priest's Tale.)

But we found out about the second tale, told by a ruffian miller, that was more entertaining. As a matter of fact, the library copy's pages of The Miller's Tale was well-turned, smudged, and obviously more read than the others.

The whole framework of the Canterbury Tales was that it was a set of stories allegedly told by religious tourists. (Not quite the lounge acts or the stage show on a cruise ship.)

Anyway, the Miller's Tale is about a carpenter John, his young bride, Alison, and two clerks that had the hots for Alison. One of them, Nicholas, managed to become a roomer when the carpenter rented a room out. He soon seduced Alison, or she may have encouraged him. Anyway, Nicholas wanted more.

He concocted a preposterous tale from a dream in which there would be a great flood, and managed to convince the carpenter that they should sleep in kneading tubs hanging from the ceiling. The carpenter, highly credulous, went along with the idea. And Nicholas had more time for sex with Alison.

In the meantime, another clerk named Absalon went to court Alison and begged her for a kiss. Alison, in a light moment, stuck her butt out of the window and "with his mouth her naked arse kissed."

Well, Absalon figured it out, and was angry. He went off and came back with a red-hot poker, thus becoming the first of the two noted poker wavers.

He again requested a kiss. But this time Nicholas got in the act, and hung his butt out of the window. In the words of Geoffrey Chaucer:

Then Nicholas at once let fly a fart,
As great as if it were a thunder-clap,
The clerk was nearly blinded with the blast;
Yet he was ready with his iron hot,
And Nicholas right in the arse he smote.

The carpenter fell out of his kneading tub with this one!

And everybody laughed at all this strife.
And thus was had the carpenter’s wife,
For all his jealousy and keeping by;
And Absalon has kissed his nether-eye,
And Nicholas is scalded on the bum.
God save us all, and now this tale is done!

In all, a funny, risqué tale!


John Hill said...

Hmmm...not one I remember studying in school.
Tell me again, What do you teach?

Mike said...

A well deserved hot poker up the butt.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

John Hill, I teach psychology. Our H.S. Senior English was a survey of English Lit.
The Miller's Tale was not on the curriculum.

Mike, I agree. Poor Absalon.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Your summary makes me want to read it. It sounds like a plot for a TV movie!

Deena said...

The whole concept is hilarious!

Cloudia said...

I read that in college!

( '>

Anemone said...

that would make a nice animated cartoon!

Bilbo said...

I knew there was a reason why I enjoyed studying the classics!

Blue Grumpster said...

This brings me bck to 1990 when I had to study all of this.