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A medieval carpenter works in his shop.

A medieval carpenter works in his shop.

Once there was a carpenter, who lived with his wife Alison and a student, Nicholas, who rented a room in their house. Nicholas fell in love with Alison, and she fell in love with him. But how could they spend the night together, without Alison’s husband knowing about it? Well, Nicholas convinced the carpenter that in his studies he had found out that there was a second Flood coming, like Noah’s Flood. He said that to be safe from the Flood, all of them should sleep in wooden tubs, hauled up to the ceiling with ropes. They could take knives with them, and when the Flood came they would cut the ropes and float on the water.

The carpenter agreed to this silly plan, and that night he and Alison and Nicholas each went to sleep in their own wooden tub, up near the ceiling of the house. After the carpenter fell asleep, Nicholas and Alison sneaked out of their tubs and … you know, on second thought, I think you’d better wait until you’re older to read the Miller’s Tale…

The Knight’s Tale
The Miller’s Tale
The Clerk’s Tale
The Wife of Bath’s Tale

Bibliography and further reading about Chaucer:


The first of these Chaucer books has some stories about farts and naked bottoms in it; don’t buy it if you don’t want that. The second one has been cleaned up for children.

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