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one there, but only a great number of gold coins lying on the ground. They rejoiced over the discovery, and, forgetting all about Death, they resolved to guard the gold all day, and then to carry it home under cover of the darkness. It was necessary, however, that in the meantime they should eat and drink; and so they agreed to cast lots, and to send the one on whom the lot fell in to the town to bring back bread and wine for all. One of them, therefore, went away into the city, and bought the bread and the wine. But he said to himself that, if he could by any means get rid of the other two, he would be able to obtain the whole of the treasure for himself, and so live in revelry all the rest of his days. He therefore bought strong poison, and put it into the bread and the wine which he intended to give to the others. They took it from him; but as, while he was away, they had resolved to murder him on his return, they did so; and then set themselves down to enjoy the bread and the wine which he had given them. They therefore died, all three; and this was the end of the attempt to slay Death.
When the Pardoner had told his tale, he said that surely such a powerful one deserved its reward, and that “a consideration ” would by no means be refused by him. He told them, too, with mocking leer, that he was sure all of them had many sins to atone for, but that the touch of his relics would make the whole of them flee; and the beauty of it was, that the oftener they sinned, the better he would be pleased, because it would bring all the more grist to his mill. They ought, therefore, to think themselves highly honoured in having him amongst them, and to bring their money and their jewels and lay them at his feet, in order to obtain pardon from so holy a man as he had proved himself to be. “And,” he said, “I think that our Host ought to be the first to come and unbuckle his purse, for I know that he is most envelopéd in sinne.” It was then that, for the first and only time in the whole course of the journey, Harry Bailly really lost command of his temper, and in no measured terms showed his detestation of the rascal. It seemed as if there was going to be a rupture; but the Knight, with quiet dignity, interfered; and, at a word from him, they became friends again. The Host, therefore, once more recovered his spirits, and condescended to say that the tale they had just heard was a very profitable one; but he was evidently much ruffled; and as he looked round the company to see whom he would next call upon, his eye fell upon the poor but saintly Parson, and he asked him “by Goddés bonés” and “by Goddés dignity” to tell the next tale. But all the Parson said was, “Benedicite what ails the man so sinfully to swear !” The Host's wrath was again somewhat roused. “Oh does the wind lie there 2" said he. “I smell a Lollard in our company, and it is quite possible that he may even go the length of trying to preach to us.” “Nay, certainly, by my father's soul!” said the Shipman, “he shall not be allowed to do that; he shall not corrupt this goodly company, nor ‘springé cockel in our clené corne, for I shall take his place, and tell a merry tale which shall not trouble the conscience of any one of us.” The Shipman's Tale is not one of the great tales. Its subject is much the same as those of the Miller, the Reeve, the Merchant, and others, and its satire resembles that of the fabliauw of the Trouvère poets, of the Italian nouvelles, and of the tales of the “makkars,” such as we find in Dunbar's “Twa Marriit Wemen and the Wedo.” When it was told, the Host said that it was an excellent tale; that he hoped the Shipman would show his welcome face along their shores for a long time to come; and that he hoped all monks who disgraced their office, as the one mentioned in the tale had done, might have speedy punishment for their misdeeds. He then, with much deference, called upon the Lady Prioress, and told her how great would be the pleasure of the company if she would favour them with a tale. “ Gladly,” said Madame Eglentyne; and all pressed the nearer her to hear.
THE PRIORESSES TALE: THE MARTYRED CHILD.
It is one of those legends which, as the result of their devoted zeal for the Church, and of the exercise of strong power of imagination, good people in the early days of the Romish Church conceived and succeeded in impressing upon others as histories. It begins with many fervent ejaculations after the usual ecclesiastical fashion, and then proceeds to say that in the suburbs of a certain great Christian town of Asia there was a “Jewerye,” a district inhabited by Jews, who were allowed, for the sake of gain, by the lord of the place to live there, and who carried on their trade of usury, hateful to all Christian men. Near this part of the town there was a school, attended by many little children who learned to read and sing holy hymns,
“As smalé children do in their childhede.”
Among them was a little boy of seven years of age, the son of a poor widow, who had early impressed him with a great love for religion, and much reverence for the saints. He was only a little boy, and so could not read for himself the Latin hymns and stories which formed the main part of the work of the school; but as he sat in his place learning his primer, he listened intently to the singing, and one of the hymns, the one beginning “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” specially attracted his youthful fancy.
“Nought wiste he what this latin was to say,
His felaw taughte him homward prively
He was so proud of his acquisition, and so deeply impressed with the beauty of the hymn, that day
by day, as he passed through the Jews' quarter on O