Priest's Crowing In The Canterbury Tales

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In the prologue of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Knight is displeased with the story that the Monk has just told. The Knight states “a little heaviness is plenty for the most of us…for me, I say it’s saddening” (lines 3-5) and suggests a story of prosperity and good fortune be told next. The Knight asks the Monk to tell another tale, to which he refuses and states “I have no wish to play; now let another tell, as I have told” (lines 40-41). The Host decides to let the Nun’s Priest go next in telling a tale. The Host tells the Nun’s Priest to tell a tale that will lift the spirits of the group, to which he happily obliges. The Nun’s Priest’s tale takes place on a widow’s farm. On the farm, the widow lives with her two daughters and many animals; three pigs, three cows, one goat, and some chickens. One of the chickens that live on the farm is a rooster named Chanticleer (French for “sings clearly”). Chanticleer’s crowing is known to be “more regular… than is a clock” (lines 87-88), and he is described to be very beautiful, with a comb “redder than coral” (line 93) and a jet black beak. His hen-wife is named Pertelote, who is equally as beautiful as Chanticleer. One night while all the animals on the farm are sleeping, Chanticleer has a nightmare. In his dream, he sees a “strange beast” that “made a feast upon my body, and have me dead” (lines 133-135). Chanticleer describes the beast’s coat as yellow and red, and the tips of its

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