Myth-Folklore Unit: Canterbury Tales

Overview. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are one of the most famous works of Middle English poetry, and this unit gives you a chance to enjoy the stories in modern English prose form, as retold in Eva March Tappan's The Chaucer Story Book. On a pilgrimage to Canterbury, a group of pilgrims decide to have a storytelling contest, and the "Canterbury Tales" are the stories that they tell. You will read stories from seven of the pilgrims, and the stories are as varied as the pilgrims themselves. The Wife of Bath tells a sort of fairy tale set in the court of King Arthur, while the Friar tells a story about the devil-as-trickster. From the Franklin you will hear a beautiful story of love and magic. From the Pardoner you will hear a parable about Death, while the Prioress tells a religious tale about the miracles of the Virgin Mary. The Nun's Priest story is a charming animal fable about Chauntecleer the Rooster, and the last story you will hear is a comical tale from the Canon's Yeoman about would-be alchemy. In the spirit of the original storytelling contest, you can decide who is the winner amongst these seven tales.

Language. This is a modern prose adaption of Chaucer's medieval poetry, and as such it should not be difficult to read.

Story Length. The stories in this unit vary in length, with some being a single page while others are two, three or four pages long.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on a single page: Canterbury Tales.

  1. The Wife of Bath's Tale: The Unknown Bride
  2. The Unknown Bride (cont.)
  3. The Friar's Tale: The Story of the Summoner
  4. The Story of the Summoner (cont.)
  5. The Franklin's Tale: The Promise of Dorigen
  6. The Promise of Dorigen (cont.)
  7. The Promise of Dorigen (cont. again)
  8. The Promise of Dorigen (end)
  9. The Pardoner's Tale: The Revelers
  10. The Revelers (cont.)
  11. The Revelers (end)
  1. The Prioress's Tale: Little Hugh
  2. Nun's Priest's Tale: The Cock, the Hen, and the Fox
  3. The Cock, the Hen, and the Fox (cont.)
  4. The Cock, the Hen, and the Fox (cont. again)
  5. The Cock, the Hen, and the Fox (end)
  6. The Canon's Yeoman's Tale: The Priest as Philosopher
  7. The Priest who Learned to be a Philosopher (cont.)
  8. The Priest who Learned to be a Philosopher (end)