The Minstrel’s Tale and Prologue
The Prologue to the Minstrel’s Tale: There was a parcel of time when the whole group had gone silent, not one man or woman would willing speak of a tale, no matter how much our host pleaded to each of us in turn. Our host then turned and tested the patience of the physician. “No, no, I would like o save my story for latter. Ask someone else to grace us with a noble tale.” Argued the physician. Our host went around and asked each of us who had not told a tale, but no would yield. Our host became frustrated and red in the face. “Someone had better speak out at once or the bet is off and I will enjoy a hot meal by myself when I return from Canterbury.” Even after this threat, no one spoke immediately, but looked around the company waiting for someone else to step up first. “I will tell at tale.” Said the minstrel. He had been gazing out upon the countryside with tired eyes, not having a care about the main argument. Everyone was surprised when he spoke out and turned around so they could all see the dreamer. The host was jolly again and encouraged the young minstrel. “Of course! Please, do tell us a tale. Something to ease everyone.” The minstrel straightened up in his saddle and cleared his throat before he spoke of his tale.
Here Begins the Minstrel’s Tale: Once upon a time, there was an old Duke, whose name will remain anonymous. He governed on a hill just outside the city of Bolton. He was a happy, jolly fellow; old age might have deteriorated his body, but his mind remained untouched by the years, he was still very young in spirit. However, he was at times impractical, whether it was because he could hold his ale or because he anger had gone too swiftly to his head. In other words, his punishments for lawbreakers and disturbers of the peace were sometimes ridiculous, yet set in stone once the Duke had spoken. This old Duke’s manor resided in the hill lands; on a clear day, one could see Bolton from the highest peak. In winter, it snowed three feet every year that made travel in and out of the village difficult. All the people of the village stayed within the village walls and did their best to tough out the winter with what they had gathered at harvest until spring came and melted the ice away. This particular year, the winter was unusually harsh. Some of the villagers began to sun low on supplies. Some shrugged the cold away, continued with heir lives, and waited out the winter. Others became worried as supplies began to run low and reverted back to thievery for the sake of saving their own lives from winter’s icy clutches.
There was such a case that involved two men who had a dispute over firewood. One man, a strong blacksmith with arms and legs equally as think as tree branches, and a skinny carpenter, whose neck looked like it would snap any minute form the weight of his head. The winter had obviously affected the carpenter more than it had the blacksmith. These two men were brought before the Duke by the village for disturbing the peace with their incessant bickering, and were brought forth in this same fashion as well. The Duke, heavy with ale and weary from merry making, glared at the two men brought before him. “Why do you bother me? Walking into my hall fighting amongst yourselves, when all here has been happy until your arrival. What do you want?” The black smith was the first to speak. “My lord, I have come before you with this man to take witness that this man is rightfully punished for his immoral actions.” The blacksmith pointed towards the carpenter with utmost disgust. “What has he done to offended you?” The Duke asked. “That man has been stealing my firewood, which I labored over for months to gather for the winter.” The carpenter then spoke up to defend himself. “You are mistaken. I have been taking only from my own personal supply all winter, not yours.” The blacksmith turned in anger. “He lies m’ lord! My personal stock grows smaller everyday while his shows no change!” The blacksmith’s voice filled the air in the hall. “I deny it, I have been taking form my own pile I say!” The carpenter whined. “ENOUGH.” Roared the Duke. “Both of you shall be punished for soiling my home with your forgeries. Here is your sentence; you shall be imprisoned for thirteen days and on the morning of the fourteenth day, you shall jump from the highest tower of my manor. Whom ever lives shall win the other’s firewood.” The Duke proclaimed and so it was made. “That’s ridiculous!” Both men complained uniformly. “If you refuse this punishment, you will be tied hand and foot and thrown from the tower immediately. Take them away.” With that finale word, the blacksmith and the carpenter were taken away and imprisoned for thirteen days.
It just so happened that a storm was rolling in from the west. It blew over Bolton and into the hills. There was not a single person who was brave enough to go outside and face the storm. Icy winds pounded at their doors and frosted their windows. The winds ripped down trees and blew shingles off roofs. It snowed; great white dollops of ice piled up on the already frozen ground until the snow piled up to the tops of their doors.
Finally, the storm subsided. The sun came out and so did the villagers. Since the snow was well over their doors, they climbed out of their high windows and out onto the buried town. They dug in the snow with their hands until they found their shovels and spades then continued to dig through the snow. Some who were as unfortunate to not have high windows, sat in their house in the cold and waited for someone to dig them out.
This clear sunny morning was also the morning of the fourteenth day; the day that the carpenter and the blacksmith were to jump from the highest tower of the Duke’s manor. They were removed from their dreary cells and marched up ten whole fights of stairs to get to the top of the tower. The Duke, still heavy with drink, was there to witness the jumps. Two men had to hold him up to make sure that he would not topple over the edge of the tower himself. The carpenter and the blacksmith now stood at the edge of the tower looking down at the snow-covered ground below. Without any spoken words, the two men leapt off the roof at the same time and fell downwards through the air. It must have been an act of luck, because both the carpenter and the blacksmith survived the fall without an injury. The snow from the storm had piled up so much, that it was enough to cushion their fall. The carpenter and the blacksmith climbed out of the snow and dusted themselves off, then praised the heavens above, thanking God that they were both lucky enough to keep their lives. The Duke looked down upon this miracle and grew excited. “They live! Both of them alive and breathing! What an act of God this is! Come, everyone, we must celebrate!” All who heard him gathered into the Dukes hall and made merry. The carpenter and the blacksmith settled their argument; not wanting to revisit the Dukes drunken insanity again. They dispersed among the party and enjoyed the night
ummm, this was an english project for our canterbury tales unit than i BS-ed last minute. it’s not that good and kinda random. :/