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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Literature Studies » The Miller's Tale (Canterbuty tales)

The Miller's Tale (Canterbuty tales)


Old John, the Carpenter is a very jealous man who has married an eighteen year-old girl called Alison. Also residing in the Carpenter’s house is a young student named Nicholas, who rents a room.

Nicholas has a reputation for reading the stars and forecasting the advent of rain or drought. He falls in love with the young Alison and soon makes his intentions known by grabbing her.  She resists his advances for fear of being discovered by her jealous husband, but the pair conspire together to play a trick on Old John.

Alison also has another admirer the effeminate Absalon, who swings the incense burner at church on Sundays, and cannot abide people who fart in public.

Nicholas convinces Old John that a flood equal to that suffered by Noah in the Bible will visit the town. In order to survive, they must build and fasten three boats to the rafters and store them with provisions. They must also have an axe ready in order to cut the ropes when the flood approaches. On the eve of the so-called flood, the three climb into the boats and Old John soon falls fast asleep.  Alison and Nicholas descend to the bedroom and make love all night.

Absalon has noticed that the Carpenter is not home and decides to serenade Alison at her window.  It is pitch black, and the pair of lovers are concerned that Absalon’s noise will wake Old John. Nicholas encourages Alison to get rid of Absalon by granting his request for a kiss. She agrees.  However, instead of her mouth she extends her rear out of the window.  Absalon fastidiously “kissed her naked arse, most savorously”, but wonders “a woman hath no beard”.  He hears the two laughing and realizes his mistake.

He decides to return to obtain revenge and with him now, he has a red-hot poker. He calls again to Alison saying that he has a golden ring for her and she can have it if she gives him one more kiss.  This time Nicholas decides to play a trick on Absalon and he sticks his rear out of the window and farts in Absalon’s face.  He recovers in time to thrust the red-hot poker up the middle of Nicholas’ arse.  Nicholas shouts, “Water.  Help. Water. Water.”

Old John wakes and thinking that the flood has come, cuts the ropes with the axe, and the boats crash to the ground.  Old John suffers a broken arm and the neighbors stream out from their houses wondering at all the noise. They learn of Old John’s preparations for the flood and laugh at his lunacy.

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Tags: miller, young, since, present, literature, Miller, tales, Canterbuty