Go directly to list of translated texts These translations of the Canterbury Tales are for those beginning their study of Chaucer's language.
But the Miller, who is very drunk, announces that he will tell a story about a carpenter.
The Reeve, Oswald, objects because he was once a carpenter. Chaucer then warns the reader that this tale might be a bit vulgar, but he must tell all the stories because a prize is at stake. Thus, the Miller begins his tale.
John, an old and very jealous carpenter who is married to an year-old girl named Alison, rents a room to a young astrology student named Nicholas, who can supposedly forecast the likelihood of rain showers or drought. Nicholas soon falls in love with Alison and one day grasps her around the groins and cries, "Love me all-at-once or I shall die.
Alison also has another admirer — Absalon, an effeminate incense swinger at the church. Very dainty and fastidious, Absalon is, in fact, so fastidious that he cannot tolerate people who expel gas in public.
Although Absalon demonstrates his feelings for Alison by serenading her outside her bedroom window, she finds him a nuisance and is interested only in Nicholas, who conceives an elaborate plan to get John out of the house for the night.
Nicholas convinces John that the town is soon to be visited with a flood like the one that visited Noah in the Bible and that, to survive, he must build and fasten three boat-like tubs to the rafters and store within them provisions.
John follows Nicholas' instructions, and the evening before the predicted flood, all three — John the carpenter; Alison, John's wife, and Nicholas, Alison's paramour — climb into the boats. When the carpenter sleeps, Alison and Nicholas quickly descend to Alison's bed where they spend the night making love.
Later that night, Absalon, discovering the Miller's absence, goes to Alison's window. Denied access to her room, he begs for one kiss.
Afraid that the bothersome clerk will arouse the neighbors, Alison agrees to kiss him, but instead of her mouth, she extends her rear out the window.
The fastidious Absalon "kissed her naked arse, most savorously. Cured of his love sickness, Absalon borrows a red-hot poker from the blacksmith, returns to Alison's window, and tells her he has a golden ring for her: Absalon recovers quickly and thrusts the red-hot poker up the middle of Nicholas' arse.
Nicholas shouts, "Water, help, Water, Water," startling John from his sleep. Thinking that the flood is coming, John cuts the rope that holds his boat suspended and crashes to the floor.
The neighbors, hearing all the ruckus, rush in and, when they hear of John's preparations for a flood, laugh at his lunacy. Analysis This tale is the funniest Chaucer ever wrote and has been popular with readers of humorous literature throughout the ages.The natures of The Miller's Tale and The Reeve's Tale again testify to the differences in their personalities.
The Reeve, who in The Prologue is described as "old and choleric and thin," tells a tale that reeks of bitterness and is less funny than The Miller's Tale, partly because the Miller is . The prose works -- the Melibee and the Parson's Tale -- are essential parts of the Canterbury Tales, and they deserve a larger readership than they now have.
Fragment I The General Prologue The Knight's Tale The Miller's Prologue and Tale The Reeve's Prologue and Tale The Cook's Prologue and Tale.
The Canterbury Tales is the last of Geoffrey Chaucer's works, and he only finished 24 of an initially planned tales. The Canterbury Tales study guide contains a biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
In the General Prologue, the Host introduces the structure: each pilgrim will tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two on the way home. Many of the tales that the pilgrims tell are about competition. The Knight's Tale and The Miller's Tale involve a three-way love triangle.
In both tales, two men are seeking the love (or possession) of the same woman. In both tales, two men are seeking the love (or possession) of the same woman. Summary: Prologue to the Miller’s Tale The pilgrims applaud the Knight’s Tale, and the pleased Host asks the Monk to match it.
Before the Monk can utter a word, however, the Miller interrupts.