This story concerns three young men who spend much of their time in revelry.
The tale is set in Flanders, and the Pardoner during the telling of the tale, tends to drift from the plot and sermonize to the Pilgrims.
On this particular day as the three men indulge in gambling and drunkenness, they hear a funeral passing outside the Inn. They ask a servant who has died. He responds by saying that it is a friend of the three men who was stabbed in the back by a thief called Death. He has killed many in the neighborhood recently. The three drunken men decide to seek this thief out, and they travel to the next town in pursuit.
On the way they meet an extremely old man dressed in rags. He explains that he has been cursed to wander the earth until he can find a youth who will change places with him. He goes on to say that not even Death will take his life. The three men ask the old man if he has seen Death, and he responds that he was last seen under the tree at the end of the lane.
The three men go and find bags of gold beneath the tree and they decide to keep this for themselves. It would be too dangerous to move the gold in daytime so they will wait for nightfall. They draw straws to see who will go into town to obtain food, and the youngest is given this task. When he has gone, the two that are left decide that they will murder him when he returns and keep the gold for themselves.
The youngest of the three decides to poison the food he brings to the other two and keep the gold for himself.
The youngest is stabbed, and the other two are poisoned.